ABC Blog

Can Termites Destroy or Penetrate Concrete?

can termites eat concrete

When termites invade a home, it can seem as though they’re getting in everywhere, including through the foundation. This has given rise to the belief that these pests are able to eat into concrete, a material which is supposed to be secure. Though there’s no truth to this story, your home’s foundation can still be a way for termites to enter your home and cause significant damage.

Can Termites Eat Concrete?

The short answer is no. Termites cannot digest concrete. Although wood is their preferred source of nutrition and what they are well-known for eating, termites have also been known to eat drywall, foam, plastics and even thin lead and copper cheeting materials especially when it’s in the way of them getting to wood.

If there’s wood on the other side of your concrete foundation, termites will do whatever they can to get at it. Termites are persistent, so they’ll keep looking for entry points until they find one, make their way inside and start eating.

How Termites May Find Their Way Into Your Home’s Concrete Foundation

These small sneaking little things can find their way into your foundation through small cracks and crevices including expansion joints and those places where pipes and wires enter your home.

Once inside, termites start tunneling through the walls leaving behind what looks like little mud tunnels, which widen over time. The longer they are active, the wider the tunnels get. So, just by their activity, these tunnels cause additional pressure as the cracks in your foundation widen. This gradual process may go on, unnoticed, until the point at which it becomes serious, making regular inspection of both your home’s exterior and your foundation a necessary component of your ongoing pest control.

Wondering how to know if you have termites? Here are some things to look for:

  • Small holes in the wood in and around your structures.
  • Wood or paint damage can be a sign that termites are having a buffet. You can take a screwdriver and tap it against wooden door frames and walls to locate soft spots. If they are active, cracks can form and sometimes you will see the cracks in the paint. It can often mimic water damage.
  • Mud tunnels that serve as highways for these pests. These tiny tunnels look like their made of mud hence the name and are usually light brown and thin and run through your house’s foundation or walls.
  • Termite frass or wings near entry points. Frass is termite feces which is one of the things used to build the mud tunnels. By itself, it looks like small brown pellets or even tiny wood shavings. Random discarded wings can also be a sign you have termites. Look for them near windows or doors.

Dealing With Termites

Since most of the termite damage is internal it can be hard to know if they are there and how much damage they’ve caused. Once you find evidence of them, you could have a big problem on your hands and a whole lot of damage to your home. That’s why it’s often best to call in the pros when dealing with these sneaky pests.

Once the termites which have infested your home have been removed, you can do the following to help prevent them from coming back:

  • Discard any wood in the yard or around the home that may attract new colonies. Mulch, firewood and scrap lumber can also lure termites onto your property, so keep these above ground and away from your foundation.
  • Seal any cracks or gaps you can find in and around your home’s foundation.
  • Trim trees, shrubs and plants to that branches don’t provide termites with a welcome mat to damage your wooden structures.
  • Have tree stumps removed by a lawn services company which can give termites a hiding spot.
  • Fix any and all leaks because termites like moisture.
  • Increase ventilation in attics and crawl spaces to discourage pests from coming inside.

Protect Your Biggest Investment

The pest control specialists at ABC Home & Commercial Services are fully equipped to inspect your home for potential termite entrances and to develop a treatment plan to address the current problems and protect your home into the future. Our thorough approach not only covers the concrete parts of your home, but also the yard, interior, and anywhere else termites might be hiding. You can rest easy, knowing that you are protecting your biggest investment against these small insects that can cause considerable damage.

Learn More