Do termites eat driftwood?
Termites are considered one of the most successful insect species on earth, living almost everywhere except Antarctica. They can form large colonies and are considered significant pests which cause damage to buildings, plantations, and crops. As such, neither driftwood is immune from infestations.
Driftwood can be infested with two types of termites, depending on where you find it. Saltwater driftwood can be infested with Teredo worms, often called Ship worms. These worms bore holes into the wood, but after washing ashore, these worms will die off. Driftwood that has been washed ashore can be infested with carpenter ants or proper termites.
The greatest threat of termites comes from them forming large colonies, potentially damaging your house. Proper care and preparation are needed to ensure safety so that termites don’t spread from the driftwood to your home.
How to remove termites from driftwood?
The first step is checking whether the piece of driftwood you find is infested with insects. Firstly, shake the piece of driftwood and check it for any infestation. Pry of any loose pieces to possibly reveal their nest and colony. Driftwood that has been at some point infested with termites will have little holes in its surface and deeper parts, but the colonies might’ve abandoned these pieces.
If you have any doubt about the pieces of wood you find or want to preemptively treat the material to eliminate the possibility of infestation – perform one of the following methods.
1. Soaking the driftwood in a solution of water and bleach – mix a nine to one solution of water and bleach and let your driftwood soak in for 4 to 5 days, changing the water daily. Rinse it thoroughly afterward to remove excess bleach.
2. Boiling the driftwood in a pot of water – fill a pot with water and boil the driftwood at 200°F for 2-4 hours
3. Baking the driftwood – at 200°F for 2-4 hours. Make sure to regularly inspect if for cinders.
4. Letting the driftwood soak in regular water for a week or two – termites need air to survive, so given enough time this should eliminate them as well.
These methods will kill off any insects in the wood, and sanitize it. Afterward, you can consider either painting or coating the wood in varnish or clear coat to further protect it.
Can I use driftwood if it’s been damaged by termites?
Yes, after giving the driftwood a proper treatment to eliminate any possible infestations, you can freely use it for any projects you wish. The holes and tunnels left from the colonies will also give the driftwood a specific look which can be quite an eye catcher.