Do Termites Eat Bamboo?


In this article, we will discuss if termites eat bamboo. Bamboo floors and furniture are becoming increasingly popular in modern homes. It gives a natural and cozy ambiance to the place. Because bamboo is grass and not wood, does this mean that it is resistant to termites? But termites like to include cellulose in their diet, and bamboo is composed of cellulose. Will this make it vulnerable to termites? Let us found out below.

Do termites eat bamboo? While bamboo is grass and not wood, it is still a living material and contains starch and sugar which makes it vulnerable to termite attack. Bamboo termite infestation happens due to the presence of starch and other carbohydrates in the bamboo. Termites obtain their food supply from the bamboo and degrade it.

Is bamboo termite proof? Do termites eat bamboo furniture? What are the common bamboo termite treatments? How can you get rid of termites from your bamboo furniture? These are some of the questions that we will discuss in this article. If you are thinking about using bamboo for your flooring but it not sure if it is vulnerable to termites, you can check out the rest of this article for helpful tips and information.

Do termites eat bamboo
Image by clarabsp from Pixabay

Does Bamboo Attract Termite?

Like any other plant, bamboo contains cellulose, which makes it a potential food source for insects and pests like termites. While bamboo is tough and is technically not a wood but a grass, it is considered a food source, and termites can still feed on it.

Is Bamboo Termite Proof?

Bamboo is not termite-proof because the inner portion of raw bamboo culms contains cellulose fibers that attract insects which includes termites. However, if the fibers are removed, the bamboo no longer attracts termites. While bamboo is not termite-proof, there are ways to make it termite resistant.

Is Bamboo Resistant to Termites?

There are ways and methods to make bamboo termite resistant. Bamboo can be treated chemically or naturally to get rid of the inner cellulose fibers that termites found to be attractive. A popular natural method is boiling. After harvesting the bamboo, it is cut into strips, dried, and boiled to remove starches and sugars. It can also be treated chemically using various methods done by the company that harvests and manufactures bamboo.

What Bugs Eat Bamboo?

Different species of insect life can live in bamboo and feed on it. Termites, powder post beetles, bamboo mealybugs, and bamboo spider mites are the common bugs found inside bamboo. The presence of starch and other carbohydrates attracts insects that eat the plant and use it for nutrients. Eventually, the presence of bugs can degrade the bamboo.

Termites

A colony of termites can give a population of up to a million insects. Drywood and subterranean termites are known to feed on bamboo. They use the natural cellulose within the plant for nutrients. Drywood termites build their nests within the culm of the bamboo while the subterranean termites make tunnels out of the soil. Termites feed on the inside out so the damage to the bamboo is not noticeable until it becomes severe.

Powder-Post Beetles

These insects can eat the entire bamboo culm and leave only a thin outer shell of the former plant. Powder-post beetle creates powdery dust when consuming the bamboo. The dust falls out of the holes within the culm where they have burrowed.

Bamboo Mites

Bamboo spider mites live and feed on various species of bamboo. They usually thrive in dry and dusty climates. Bamboo spider mites spin durable silken webs within the bamboo and lay their eggs in the webbing to protect both the eggs and young mites after they hatched. They can weaken the bamboo plant and reduce its ability to photosynthesize.

Bamboo Mealy Bugs

These insects are prevalent in Australia. The male ones have wings and can fly while the females do not. Bamboo mealybugs feed on the sap of the bamboo weakening the plant. They are known to attack lush and soft new bamboo growth. These insects also produce sugary honeydew that grows molds and attracts ants.

Do Termites Eat Bamboo Furniture?

Untreated bamboo furniture has a high chance of being eaten by termites and other insects. This is because bamboo is rich in starch and other carbohydrates that termites found to be attractive. Termites obtain their food supply from untreated bamboo which degrades it. To avoid an infestation in your bamboo furniture, they need to be chemically treated. We have also shared this article that discusses if Koalas eat bamboo. You can check out the article for an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Bamboo Termite Treatment

Bamboo preservatives are divided into two different categories depending on the carrier solvents. These are fixing and non-fixing type preservatives. Take note that non-fixing preservatives will leach out of the bamboo when exposed to rain. Hence, this type of preservative is not suitable for outdoor use. Chemical preservation can result in short or long-term protection depending on the method used for bamboo treatment.

Fixing Type Preservatives

The chemical bamboo preservation formulation includes a proportionate mixture of different salts. These salts interact with each other in the presence of bamboo and become chemically fixed. The degree of efficacy and fixation will have to depend upon the nature of the components and their concentration and combination.

For instance, Chromium is accountable for the fixation, copper is efficient against decay fungi and soft rot. The third compound will act against fungus and insects. It takes some weeks for the process of fixation to take place and the material should be stored undercover. For bamboo, slow fixation is ideal because it enables diffusion and better distribution of preserving salts.

Non-Fixing Preservatives

The non-fixing preservatives for bamboo mainly consist of boron salts which are effective against termites, fungi, and borers. Boron salt is dissolved in water. Once the treatment is done, the water will evaporate leaving the salts inside the bamboo. These salts are not toxic and can be used for treating bamboo products like dry containers, baskets, and many more.

How to Treat Bamboo Against Termites?

One of the best ways to prevent termites from eating their way into bamboo is to use boric acid. Borates kill the protozoa in the termite guts and allow them to digest cellulose. When termites eat bamboo that is treated with borates, they will starve to death. Termites are also able to detect borate on plants and furniture, which makes them stay away from it. Commercial borate formulations are available in powders that are mixed with water and borates mixed with glycol so that they penetrate deeper into the bamboo.

✅ Video – Bamboo Treatment: Boric-Borax Solution

Sourabh Phadke shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses how to treat bamboo using a boric-borax solution. In the video, the process of treating the bamboo with the mild chemical treatment is shown. The bamboo is punctured and fills up with the solution and left saturated for a week. Watch the video below to learn more about the treatment process.

Do Termites Eat Dry Bamboo?

Termites, especially drywood termites, like to eat unprocessed or natural bamboo. While bamboo is grass, it is still not resistant to termites. The main source of nutrition for termites is cellulose. Bamboo is 73.8 percent cellulose which makes it an ideal food source for termites. Termite breakdown the cellulose into sugar and use it to fuel their energy. We have also shared this list of 25 animals that eat bamboo. Check out the article to find out the animals that are included in the list.

How to Get Rid of Termites

The fastest way to get rid of termites is to call a pest control service. However, there are also methods that you can try to get rid of termites yourself like using boric acid and other termite control products. Below are some of them.

Boric Acid

This is one of the common and effective methods to get rid of termites. It is also the main insecticide used in many store-bought termite insecticides. Boric acid is effective in shutting down the nervous system of termites, dehydrating them.

Termite Control Products

You can find termite control products at your local hardware supply store. It is the first step that you need to take when getting rid of termites. You can use a termite-baiting control method or a liquid termite-killing product. To use it, lay the bait ear the infested area and spray the product on those areas.

Exposure to Sunlight

Remove the infested furniture from your home and expose it to sunlight. Termite like the darkness and the light and heat from the sun will kill them. Expose the furniture under the sun for two to three days until the termites are eliminated.

Conclusion

You have reached the end of this article that discusses if termites eat bamboo. We have learned that bamboo, while it is grass and not wood, attracts termites. Termites feed on cellulose to derive energy and bamboo is mostly made of cellulose which makes it a good source of food for termites.

We have also discussed other bugs and insects that feed on bamboo aside from termites. Moreover, we have shared different methods that you can follow when it comes to getting rid of termites from your bamboo furniture. So the next time that you see the first signs of termite infestation in your bamboo furniture, you know what to do. Thank you for reading! 

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