Can termites eat their way through concrete blocks and mortar?

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Termites only eat cellulose-containing materials like wood and paper; but they have been known to tunnel through softer materials, like thin plastic, to get at the cellulose. Lime mortar that was once used to lay brick for older homes is another material soft enough that they sometimes are able to bore through it.

    Solid concrete blocks and mortar are not penetrable, but any gaps in the mortar can provide a route to the other side where the good stuff is. Two worker termites can fit easily on the head of a match, so even a crack like the one shown at the top of the page is enough for them to squeeze through. 

    Also, termites can easily crawl unnoticed up into the wood wall framing of a house behind behind any brick or manufactured stone facing that extends to the ground, like in the photo below.

    The first sign that subterranean termites have a found a way into your house is usually seen at the baseboard of an exterior wall. Because they eat right up to the paint finish, but not through it, tapping or lightly probing the wood for soft spots may turn up evidence, like in the photo below, that it’s time to call a pest control company.

    For more on this, along with other termite legends, some of which are even true, go to our blog post Do termites eat concrete?

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To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:

Should I be worried about termites if my neighbor's house is being tented?

Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim? 

Do carpenter ants cause structural damage to houses in Florida?

How long before closing can you have a WDO (termite) inspection done?

How long does Bora-Care® last? 

 Why is it a mistake to store lumber in the crawl space under a house?

Does the presence of carpenter ants in a house indicate that there are probably also termites? 

How do termites infest a house and remain hidden while doing major damage?

Are homes in Florida required to have termite protection? 

If termite damage appears to be old, does that mean that termites may no longer be present?

How do I know if my WDO/termite report is "clear"? 

When do termites swarm in Florida?

Does a recent termite company inspection sticker mean there are no termites? 

Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

Do I have to tent the house if I have termites? 

What is the difference between a subterranean termite and a drywood termite?

What are the green plastic discs in the ground around the house? 

What is a termite shield?

How do termites get into a concrete block house? 

What is a clean WDO?  

What do termites eat?

How do I treat wood rot  that's listed in my termite-WDO report? 

Do I really need a termite-WDO inspection? 

What's causing those holes in the fascia?

Does wood chip mulch in the yard attract termites?

I think I have termites. What does a termite look like?

I'm buying a concrete block house. Do I still need a termite inspection? 

• I saw a little termite damage on the baseboard. Should I be concerned?

   Visit our TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND PESTS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.  

 

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