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What Eats Termites?

By April 30, 2024May 3rd, 2024No Comments
Ants are a predator or termites and like to eat termites for a meal.

Termites are often referred to as ‘silent destroyers’ because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper undetected. They are a group of eusocial insects typically classified at the taxonomic rank of order Blattodea (alongside cockroaches) with a high significance in ecosystems but also a notorious reputation for causing structural damage.  In this article, you will learn more about termites, where they are found but also what eats them.  This is good information to know so you can keep them at bay and not have them destroy your home. 

What Are Termites?

Termites are detritivores, which means they feed on dead plants and trees as well as dead parts of living trees, including wood and wood in the soil. Their role in ecosystems is critical as they help to break down complex plant fibers, recycling dead and decaying trees into new soil. However, when it comes to human habitats, they are known for their destructive nature.

Where Are Termites Found?

Termites thrive in warm, humid environments and are found on every continent except Antarctica. They are particularly abundant in tropical rainforests where the climate supports their need for moisture but can be located in many other habitats where the conditions are suitable.

Three Types of Termites

There are 2,800 known species of termites. Termites can be broadly categorized into three main types based on their nesting and feeding habits:

  1. Subterranean Termites: By far the most widespread and destructive, subterranean termites build their nests underground. These termites require moist environments and construct elaborate tunnel systems, known as mud tubes, to access food sources above ground.
  2. Drywood Termites: Drywood termites infest dry wood, such as that found in attic framings and furniture. They do not require contact with soil and obtain moisture from the wood they consume. Colonies are typically smaller than those of subterranean termites but can cause significant damage over time.
  3. Dampwood Termites: Found commonly in wood with high moisture content, dampwood termites thrive in decaying wood or areas with excessive moisture. This type likes to inhabit fallen logs, stumps, and other damp woods often avoiding soil. Their infestation is less common in residential structures due to their need for high wood moisture levels.

Woodpecker eating termites help control the population.

What Eats Termites?

A variety of natural termite predators exist that help control their populations in the wild. These predators include:


Several bird species eats termites.  Woodpeckers and sparrows, prey on termites. They can often be seen pecking at wood or hovering near termite-infested areas to catch their meal.


Other insects such as ants, beetles, and dragonflies are known to hunt and eat termites. Some ant species specialize in invading termite colonies and can significantly reduce termite numbers.


Mammals like aardvarks, anteaters, pangolins, and nocturnal numbat feed on termites; they have adapted long tongues and strong claws to dig into termite mounds.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles such as lizards and snakes along with some amphibians find termites to be an easy meal. They will often stake out termite mounds for a chance to ambush workers or reproductive termites.

Other Animals

Many larger animals have also been observed feeding on termites when given the opportunity, including bears and monkeys, which may disturb termite mounds while foraging.


Apart from these animals, certain fungi are also specialized to invade and kill termites, acting both as a predator and a parasite.

Termites like to make mud tubes. They can also hide in there from predators.

Signs of Termite Infestation

  • Mud Tubes: Subterranean termites create sheltered passageways made of soil and wood particles to travel between their colony and food sources.
  • Wood Damage: Termites eat wood from the inside out, so damage may not be immediately visible. Over time, wood may sound hollow when tapped or may even crumble.
  • Swarmers or Discarded Wings: The presence of flying termites or their discarded wings near windowsills and doors is often the first sign of an infestation.
  • Frass: Drywood termites produce wood-colored droppings called frass as they eat through infested wood.
  • Bubbling Paint or Sagging Floors: As termites damage the integrity of wood structures, paint may bubble or floors may begin to sag.
  • Audible Clicking Sounds: Soldier termites can make a distinct clicking sound by tapping their heads against wood or shaking their bodies when the colony is disturbed.

Preventive Measures for Homeowners

To prevent termite infestations, homeowners can take several proactive steps:

  • Regular Inspections: Schedule annual inspections with a professional pest control service to identify potential termite activity before it becomes a full-blown infestation.
  • Proper Storage of Wood: Keep firewood, lumber, and paper away from the foundation or crawl space of your home. Store wood at least 20 feet away and off the ground.
  • Moisture Control: Termites are attracted to moisture, so fix leaks immediately, ensure proper drainage around the foundation, and use dehumidifiers in basements and crawl spaces.
  • Seal Entry Points: Seal gaps around water and gas lines where termites could enter the home. Regularly check for, repair and seal any cracks in the foundation.
  • Landscaping Care: Maintain a gap between the soil and wood portions of your home. Trim back trees and shrubs that may provide a pathway for termites to enter the structure.
  • Use Treated Wood: When building or repairing your home, use termite-resistant wood or treat wood with termite-preventative products.

Importance of Termites in Our Ecosystem

Termites play a crucial role in our ecosystem by contributing to the decomposition and recycling of wood and plant material. Their ability to break down tough cellulose in dead trees and vegetation helps to enrich the soil with nutrients, fostering new plant growth. This process also aids in carbon cycling, an essential component of global carbon balance. Moreover, termites serve as a food source for various predators, thus maintaining the ecological balance. Despite their reputation as pests, their environmental contributions are significant for the health of many ecosystems.

Termite Maintenance

Now that you know what eats termites, let’s find out more about termites and trying to keep them away.  Having termite treatment on the home is important.  There are two different types: Liquid and termite bait stations.  Liquid treatment lasts about 5 years, while termite bait stations need to be monitored each year.

Another one is there are many bugs that may look like termites so you want to make sure you know the difference.  Some that look like termites are flying ants, carpenter bees, fungus gnats, and mayflies.  It is important to learn the difference so you can treat for them the proper way.

Lastly, termites have a pretty long life.  In fact, they can live about 30 years! The longevity also depends on the type of termite and also where they live and more.  However, the idea is to also keep them away from your home so it is not destroyed.

When to Call a Professional

Termite infestation in homes requires professional attention. Signs of termite presence include hollow-sounding wood, mud tubes, and visible swarms of winged insects in or around a homeAt this stage, it’s crucial to contact professional pest control services to assess and manage the situation effectively.


To summarize, termites are a double-edged sword: beneficial to the environment yet potentially devastating to properties. Homeowners must prioritize termite prevention and remain proactive in implementing termite control strategies. Recognizing the signs of termite presence and acting swiftly to engage professional termite treatment services is essential for safeguarding your property against these pervasive pests. Remember, the cost of termite damage can be substantial, so investing in regular inspections and preventive measures is a wise decision for long-term property maintenance.  Call the Bentley Home Inspection team for a termite inspection in East Tennessee and surrounding areas.