Everyone knows that termites like to eat wood. In fact, it’s pretty clear that they are big fans of the stuff. Because of this, homeowners and other property owners invest significant resources preventing termite infestations in their timber buildings and structures. This is a smart move, as termites cause countless dollars of damage in Australia every single year. While you’re keeping an eye on your timber, however, it’s wise to remember that termites don’t feed only on wood. Let’s take a look at the typical diet of termites found in Australia and we’ll learn about some of their favourite items.

Why Termites Eat Wood

Believe it or not, termites do serve a purpose in the food chain. Powered by the nutrients found in cellulose, termites feed on timber and other detritus in nature. This explains why they are so powerfully attracted to wet, decomposing wood. In this sense, termites do us a favour, playing an essential role in the circle of life. They also provide sustenance for species such as birds and lizards. When they’re finished with other food sources, however, termites will unashamedly infiltrate your property and dine on the wood there as well. This is why proper termite prevention is so important. Different termites prefer specific types of wood, too, so you should depend on a professional pest control expert to help you plan your preventative strategies.

In Any Form, Cellulose is a Tasty Treat

Termites go after wood for the cellulose it provides, but this substance is found also in other sources, such as paper, cardboard, bark, leaves, and other plant material. If the timber supply is exhausted, these other sources can prove attractive to them. Storing a large quantity of books or newspapers? Don’t leave them in cardboard boxes in the shed. Be sure you’ve got them secured in a fully dry, protected container in a moisture-free area, or these might prove a tempting treat for your local termites. Many customers have found that the source of an infestation began not with timber but with paper and cardboard.

There are some other  unsuspecting culprits as well. Bird seed and timber mulch in the garden can allure termites who, although they may pass on consuming those items, will no doubt head towards the tempting timber structures that make up your home.

No Timber is Safe

The truth of the matter is, termites are mainly interested in your timber, paper, or other plant materials, but this does not mean that they will be deterred by other materials. These hungry, stubborn pests aren’t afraid to wreak havoc on your home to get to that delicious wood. Paper linings, framework, and even hardwood furniture are all items that, given the opportunity, termites will devour. To access these, they will use their subterranean mud tunnels, cracks in your concrete foundation and walls, and will even go so far as to eat through plastic and other materials to get to their destination. Termites have impressively strong mandibles (jaws) that can much right through these items, although they will not attempt to digest them.


With their insatiable appetites, it is clear that you need to be ready to defend your property against the ravages of a termite problem. Fortunately, we’ve got the Termite Solutions for you! As your South Coast termite specialist, we have extensive experience fighting termites in Nowra and beyond. Give us a call to get your home or commercial property fully prepared against the timber-eating menace: the termite.