Do termites eat concrete or stucco? What about bricks?


Normally, no, termites do not eat concrete. Contrary to some myths, not even the notorious Formosan termites can eat concrete.

Termites cannot derive any nutrition from concrete. Their digestive system so the only reason termites might attempt to tunnel their way through concrete is to get to lumber that may lay behind it.

Most relatively new concrete is solid enough that termites cannot chew through it. Older, degraded concrete, however, is rarely crack-free.

Concrete shifts and settles over time, leaving minor cracks that termites can find their way through.

Video showing subterranean termite burrowing through concrete (not eating it, but definitely finding their way through concrete cracks)

The same is true of lime mortar which is commonly used for brickwork. Termites can also make their way through tiny cracks in the lime mortar between brickwork to get to the wood behind them.

Typically termites won’t attempt to burrow their way through concrete without first finding a hole or crack large enough for them to fit through.

A hole just a bit larger than the termite’s head is enough for them to enter and begin tunneling, however, they prefer holes twice this size to allow for two-way traffic—wide enough room for one line of termites to move in and another line of termites to move out.

Still, termites are tiny, so a hole the width of two termite heads is not very big. It’s relatively easy for termites to find a crack or hole of sufficient size for them to fit through in most older concrete or mortar.

Green Aker’s Pest Control explains how termites got into an all cinderblock and steel structure he treated and how they can get through concrete into homes.

Can termites eat through stucco?

Generally, termites can also get through stucco for the same reasons that they can get through concrete—it only takes a tiny crack or hole for termites to find their way through the stucco to the lumber that may lay behind the stucco. However, termites won’t eat stucco for nutrition because stucco is not a cellulose material like wood, paper, mulch, etc.

Can termites eat through grout?

Again, termites can also get through grout when grout has tiny cracks or holes. You might find termites working their way through grout, like in the video above when termites gnaw through grout, they’re exploring, trying to find their way into a house that has lumber. But, again, termites don’t eat grout for nutrition because grout doesn’t contain cellulose.

Termites swarming from a hole in the grout between floor tiles. It is unclear in this video if these termite swarmers found their way through an existing hole in the grout or chewed their way through the grout.

Can termites eat brick?

Do you think termites can find their way through bricks?

If you guessed ‘yes’, you’re right. Same deal here as grout, concrete, and stucco. Bricks can crack over time and when they do, termites can find their way through the cracks or holes but termites don’t eat bricks because they don’t contain cellulose

Pest Cemetary explaining how subterranean termites got into a brick home.

What kind of termite goes through concrete, stucco, grout, or bricks?

Usually, it’s subterranean termites that make their way from below the ground up the foundation to the concrete, stucco, bricks, grout, etc. Theoretically, it’s possible for drywood termites to find their way through concrete, stucco, grout, or bricks as well, but more likely than not, if you find termites have found their way through such places, they’re subterranean termites.

Video showing a subterranean termite tube going up a masonry wall into a home in Australia.

If you think termites have found their way through some concrete, bricks, grout, or stucco and into your home, you can answer a few questions here and get free quotes for termite control.

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