Termites are known for their voracious wood-based diets, but what happens when they encounter common items like shoes and bath towels? PPMA’s newest video project, “Will They Eat It?” will reveal just how destructive termites really are and show homeowners that these pests are capable of chewing through much more than just wood. The 6-part series premieres on Monday, July 8 on the PestWorld Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as the “Will They Eat It?” hub.
“While I’ve specialized in structural pests like termites for many years now, I couldn’t help but get excited when I saw the amount of damage they were able to inflict on each item in such a short period of time,” said Michael Bentley, Ph.D., entomologist for the National Pest Management Association and your host of “Will They Eat It?” “From making a bag of fast food literally disappear, to obliterating red and blue hand towels – and changing color themselves as a result – what better way to show just how fascinatingly voracious termites’ appetites really are than throwing everyday objects into a tank and watching them decimate it in no time at all!”
The drama will unfold with new episodes premiering every Thursday on WillTheyEatIt.pestworld.org
as Dr. Bentley introduces items like a burger and fries, a dictionary, headphones, fake money, shoes and towels to these tiny terrors to find out “Will They Eat It?”
Drumroll (in case you can’t wait for the weekly reveal), our hungry termites couldn’t resist:
Burger & Fries:
We all know how delicious fast food is, but for termites, the main course is the packaging. The termites devoured the paper bag and wax paper wrapping holding the food, as cellulose is a major compound in the makeup of paper. Perhaps most fascinating, however, is that the termites ate the entire burger but left the fries behind. Many fast food chains actually make their burgers with a filler known as powdered cellulose, infusing the compound into everything from buns to meats. This high abundance of cellulose makes greasy burgers just as appetizing to termites as they are to humans.
In the same way that termites can destroy a home from the inside out, they decimated the dictionary pages from A to Z but left the front cover intact. These results certainly echo the age-old advice not to judge a book by its cover.
The termites ignored the noise and quickly got to work on the headphones, chewing through the outer fabric of the headband and ear cushions, as well as the foam cushions themselves. These “silent destroyers” can wreak havoc on any household, out of sight and out of earshot.
Termites can literally eat you out of house and home and can also take a big bite out of your wallet! Our termites ate through the currency layer by layer, feasting on the cellulose-rich paper bills. Termites can also burn through money by attacking wood structures, causing approximately $5 billion in U.S. property damage each year.
Termites stripped the cotton fabric from a canvas shoe, illustrating just how quickly termites can chew through household items. Cellulose is the main structural component in plant materials including cotton textiles, which are typically found in many items throughout homes.
The phrase “you are what you eat” certainly rings true when it comes to termites. After chewing through dyed cotton wash cloths, the termites turned blue and red, absorbing the color of the dye they consumed.