In this article, we’ll find out if termites eat cedar, redwood, or treated wood.
Termite presence in homes is a disaster waiting to happen. These destructive insects can remain unnoticed for extended periods of time till significant damage is caused.
If you’re lucky enough to identify their presence before significant damage is caused, it will be necessary to take urgent actions.
While some wood may be treated to repel these pests, others repel termites naturally.
Types of termite-resistant Wood
When it comes to natural termite resistance, there are certain wood varieties with that. Some of these include teak, Alaskan yellow cedar, Peruvian walnut, as well as Honduran mahogany.
Where does this leave redwood and cedar?
Redwood and cedar are also termite-resistant wood species to a certain degree. Other wood species termites will likely avoid include cypress and Laotian teak.
In a bid to let our readers further understand termite-resistant wood, we’ll need to explain what gives them their natural resistant properties.
Why Cedar and Redwood Are Termite Resistant
Recall we mentioned the resistant properties of redwood and cedar woods. We stated that these are only resistant to a certain degree as they can still be damaged or eaten by termites.
First off, let’s consider what gives these wood species their termite-resistant properties.
Heartwood and sometimes barks of cedar and redwood species tend to be less destructible by termites. This is mostly due to the denser nature of the heartwood.
Not only are the heartwoods of these tree species dense, but they are also less permeable compared with the surrounding timber.
The denser, darker, and less permeable nature of heartwood makes it ideal for construction jobs. While termites find such woods unattractive, they won’t hesitate to slowly eat or feed on either cedar or redwoods.
While this is true, their destruction tends to be much slower compared to other wood species with less dense heartwoods.
What Gives Cedar Heartwood its Termite Repellent Properties?
We earlier mentioned the dense and impermeable nature of cedar heartwoods as the reason why termites find them unsuitable.
Asides from the dense nature of heartwoods, there are other reasons such as the presence of naturally occurring chemicals within the heartwood.
Allelochemicals are substances that are naturally produced and found within cedar heartwood.
These chemicals have a repellent effect on termites.
As such, when the whitewood part of cedarwood is infiltrated by termites, they find the heartwood unsuitable to retreat.
The additional repellent effect of allelochemicals in cedarwood only does as much. Its repellent effect isn’t as reliable as termites will feed on cedar wood when they have to.
Cedarwood tends to be more expensive than a lot of other wood varieties due to this termite repellent effect.
What Gives Redwood Heartwood its Termite-Repellent Effect?
Similar to cedarwood, redwood trees also contain allelochemicals known to be toxic to termites.
Redwood contains enough of this chemical to beat back termite infestation.
Termites find this wood unpalatable plus, the heartwood is typically denser, thus making it difficult for these pests to feed on.
Don’t Rely Completely on Natural Termite-Resistant Wood
We’ve seen that cedar and redwood species are less attractive to termites especially when heartwood-grade lumbers are solely used for construction projects.
However, that isn’t a guarantee that termites won’t destroy such structures.
In a nutshell, such woods might take longer to damage compared with other non-termite-resistant wood. You might want to take a more reliable approach to termite control.
This approach includes the use of treated wood.
Do Termites Eat Treated Wood?
This is an interesting question to ask because woods in this category are specially treated to keep termites away.
Treated woods contain chemicals that are termite resistant and also fungi and rot-resistant.
Here, the answer is no! Treated wood can’t be eaten by termites.
When these pests do feed on such woods, they die from chemicals ingested. Basically, these chemicals are infused into the wood in several ways.
One of them includes pressure treatment where certain chemicals acting as wood preservatives are forced into wood pores under high pressure.
As mentioned earlier, these chemicals perform many functions including rot prevention, fungal growth prevention, and also as termite resistance.
Woods that undergo such treatments are mostly used for construction especially in areas where wood is in close or direct contact with the soil.
Even Treated Wood Isn’t 100% Guaranteed
Although treated wood tends to be more reliable in terms of pest prevention, it isn’t completely termite-proof. Sounds surprising right? It’s common knowledge that termites can be relentless in their onslaught against your valued structure.
This results in a situation where they’re able to tunnel over treated wood. Once in, they’re able to feast on your wooden structures without hindrance. This is especially true for non-pressure-treated wood.
Be Open to Alternatives
Cedar, redwood, and treated woods are known to largely repel termites however, even these may not hold up when faced with relentless termite infestations.
For treated wood, the chances of termites feeding on such increases when there’s exposure to moisture that leads to decay.
Here, it’s evident that none of these termite-resistant woods are foolproof. Termites will still find a way to feed on them. Your best bet is to be open to other reliable alternatives.
One of such stands out remarkable; the use of composite materials.
What are these about?
Composite materials basically involve those made from substances considered impervious to termite attack. The added benefit is that they require absolutely no maintenance.
Composite materials also won’t rot when exposed to moisture.
Adopt Preventive Control
Because cedar, redwood, or treated woods won’t completely repel or withstand termites, it’s necessary to adopt other preventive options.
One of them includes preventive termite control.
If you live in a pest-prone location, it will be best to have a reputable pest management company perform scheduled termite inspections of your property. This could be done every six months or yearly.
Doing so ensures wooden structures made from cedar, wood, or treated wood never get destroyed.
Termites hardly eat cedar, redwood, or treated wood. However, that isn’t to say they won’t. These destructive creatures won’t hesitate to feed on such wood whenever they can.
The only difference with other woods is that they rarely do feed on these tree wood types.