Do Termites Eat Anything Other Than Wood?
We all have heard that termites feed on wood, and hopefully you have not learned this from your own personal experience. Termites can destroy the natural beauty of forests, they can make homes unlivable, and they can even contribute to air pollution. But can termites consume any other material besides wood? Most people would say “no”, but this question deserves a second thought before answering. You will never find a termite feeding on any plastic or metal objects, but then again, you may find termites feeding on objects that are not, strictly speaking, completely wooden either.
Of course termites consume wood, but, more specifically, termites consume an organic material called cellulose. Cellulose is the hard inner material located within large trees, and plants. Even wood that has been treated during industrial processing still contains cellulose, which is obviously why termites have such a well-known reputation for consuming wood that is used to construct homes. This information may be well known. However, many people are shocked to find termites feeding on books, cardboard, cotton, and all types of paper.
This should not be surprising, after all, paper and cardboard are not just made from trees, but they are made specifically from cellulose. Some important documents have been completely consumed by termites. For example, a legal researcher once attempted to conduct research on India’s historical and modern use of the death penalty. Unfortunately for this scholar, termites had consumed the vast amount of paper documents detailing each death penalty case within India. One YouTuber from America showed how termites had damaged one of his most prized books. Even your clothing is at risk of becoming damaged by voracious termites since many clothing materials, especially cotton, are made from cellulose. So if you ever discover termites dwelling within your home, don’t forget to check your favorite clothes and books for termite damage in addition to the wood in your home.
Have you ever found termite damage in unexpected, or odd, places? If so, then where?