Do Termites Eat Redwood? {Is Redwood Safe?}

Termites are a nuisance, and if you’re wanting to protect your home or building project from a termite invasion

You might be considering these so-called termite-resistant woods, which promise to be unattractive to termites.

But do these kinds of woods actually do anything, and can termites not eat certain kinds of woods?

Do Termites Eat Redwood?

Termites can eat redwood, but it is less attractive to them since it is denser and less porous than other kinds of wood.

As it turns out, no kind of wood (except pressure treated wood) is truly safe from termites, but it is true that redwood (and other similar woods) prove to be less appetizing to termites.

Making them a good option for building if you want to prevent or reduce termite damage.

Do Termites Eat Redwood

The rest of this article will walk you through why redwood isn’t appealing to termites and whether or not it wards off termite infestations.

Does Redwood Repel Termites?

When it comes to wood, it’s better just to assume that it is edible for termites, if still difficult. Termites are after the cellulose derived from plant matter in the wood, which is more accessible in softer woods.

That’s why getting any damp floor boards or leaky pipes fixed is so important if you have a termite problem. They just can’t get enough of that stuff.

Some woods are more nutrient-dense than others, and redwood, being dense and non-porous is quite unattractive to termites.

While this might make them look elsewhere for food due to how frustrating redwood is for them to eat, the wood doesn’t ‘repel’ them in any literal sense.

Nothing is being exuded from the wood that wards off termites beyond a distasteful chemical profile; it’s just dark, sturdy, and very resistant to decay, making it a tough meal.

For termites, the difference between damp, decaying wood and redwood would be akin to having fresh bread from the bakery or a week-old loaf. The stale loaf is edible, sure, but it definitely isn’t appealing.

Termites will eat redwood if faced with no other option, but the odds are that they’ll migrate somewhere else in search of better food.

Do Termites Eat Redwood Trees

Termites can consume and damage redwood trees, just as they can with many other types of wood. Redwood trees, which are known for their durability and resistance to decay, are not immune to termite infestations, particularly when the wood becomes moist or when there is decay or fungal growth. Subterranean termites, one of the most common termite species, are known to feed on and damage a wide variety of wood, including redwood.

However, it’s worth noting that the heartwood of redwood trees contains natural compounds, such as tannins and resins, which can make it more resistant to termite attack compared to some other types of wood. Nevertheless, if the wood is damaged or becomes waterlogged, it can become more susceptible to termites.

To protect redwood trees, lumber, or structures from termite infestations, it’s important to take preventative measures. These can include:

  • Termiticide treatment: Applying termiticides to the soil around structures or wood can create a barrier that deters termites from approaching.
  • Regular inspection: Conduct regular inspections of wooden structures and trees to detect any signs of termite activity early.
  • Moisture control: Ensure that wood is not exposed to excessive moisture, as termites are attracted to damp or decaying wood.
  • Wood treatment: Treating redwood with wood preservatives can enhance its resistance to termites and other wood-destroying pests.
  • Physical barriers: Use physical barriers, such as metal shields or concrete footings, to block termite access to wooden structures.

While redwood is relatively resistant to termites due to its natural properties, it is not completely immune to termite damage. Preventative measures can help protect redwood trees and wood products from termite infestations.

Will Termites Still Damage Redwood

While redwood is naturally resistant to decay and termites due to the presence of tannins and resins, it is not completely immune to termite damage. Termites are highly adaptable and persistent insects, and there are situations in which they may still damage redwood. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Moisture and Decay: Redwood’s resistance to termites can be compromised when the wood becomes waterlogged or begins to decay. Termites are more likely to infest wood that is damp, decaying, or has lost some of its natural resistance.
  • Termite Species: Different termite species have varying feeding preferences and abilities. While redwood is relatively termite-resistant, some termite species may still be able to consume it, especially if the wood is weakened or in a state of decay.
  • Environmental Conditions: Local environmental conditions and the prevalence of termite populations in the area can also play a role. In some regions, termites may be more of a threat to redwood due to the specific species present.
  • Age and Health of Redwood: Older and healthier redwood trees or structures are generally more resistant to termite damage. In contrast, younger or compromised redwood may be more susceptible.

To protect redwood from potential termite damage, it’s essential to follow preventative measures, as mentioned in the previous response. Regular inspections, moisture control, wood treatment, and the use of physical barriers can help preserve the integrity of redwood structures and trees.

While redwood is naturally resistant, it’s still important to take steps to reduce the risk of termite infestations and maintain the wood’s quality over time.

How To Prevent Termite Damage To Redwood

Preventing termite damage to redwood, or any wood, involves a combination of protective measures and regular inspections. Redwood is naturally resistant to termites to some extent, but taking proactive steps can help maintain its integrity.

Here are some ways to prevent termite damage to redwood:

  • Termiticide Treatment: Apply termiticides or insecticides to the soil around the redwood tree or the foundation of wooden structures. These treatments create a barrier that deters termites from approaching.
  • Regular Inspections: Conduct frequent inspections of redwood structures, trees, and wooden elements, especially if they are in contact with the soil. Look for signs of termite activity, such as mud tubes, damaged wood, or discarded wings. Consider professional termite inspections to ensure early detection of infestations.
  • Moisture Control: Termites are attracted to moisture. Ensure that the wood remains dry and well-ventilated to deter termite infestations. Fix any leaks or drainage issues that may lead to water accumulation near the redwood.
  • Wood Treatment: Treat redwood with wood preservatives that are effective against termites. These treatments can enhance the wood’s resistance to termites and other wood-destroying pests.
  • Physical Barriers: Use physical barriers to block termite access to wooden structures. This can include: Installing metal shields or termite shields on foundation walls.
    Creating a gap between the soil and wooden elements using concrete or metal spacers. Elevating wooden structures off the ground.
  • Remove Fallen Wood: Promptly remove any fallen or decaying wood from the vicinity of redwood trees and structures. Termites are attracted to decaying wood, which can serve as a potential food source.
  • Avoid Direct Soil Contact: Avoid direct soil contact with wooden structures, if possible. Use termite-resistant building materials or treat wooden components to deter termites.
  • Professional Assistance: In areas with high termite pressure, consider seeking professional help for ongoing termite prevention and treatment.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of termite damage to redwood trees and structures. Regular maintenance and vigilance are essential to preserve the quality and longevity of redwood in areas where termites are a concern.

Is Redwood More Termite Resistant?

Redwood is a good choice for construction to ward off termites, but it’s not invincible. It’s a solid, worthwhile wood for building, and its natural properties make it undesirable to termites.

The best kind of termite-proof wood is pressure-treated wood, which is injected with alkaloids.

These woods are not only frustrating for termites to try to eat and nowhere near as nutrient-dense as damp wood, but they’re also toxic to termites.

Redwood does have some chemicals that make it more resistant to termites as well.

Final Thoughts

Redwood is a great way to reduce the risk of termite infestation, but in extremely severe cases where the termites have no other options, they can and will eat redwood―very slowly.

The chemicals in the wood as well as its sturdy nature make it great for both building and keeping termites at bay.

Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable