When it comes to termite infestations within homes it seems that very few construction materials are immune to termite damages. Termites can manage to penetrate through durable materials in order to access cellulose in wood. Everything from steel pipes to concrete slabs have been damaged by voracious termites. At it turns out, termites have no problem extensively damaging a home’s insulation if it means accessing wood. It is hard to believe that a material as uninviting as fiberglass-made insulation could become infested with termites, but several documented cases of this damage have been reported by pest control professionals. The damage that termites can inflict on a home’s insulation is by no means minimal. According to researchers in Florida, termites can infest insulation until it becomes seventy five percent less effective at keeping a home warm.
Researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences decided to test the durability of several different home-construction materials when exposed to termites. For a full eight weeks materials such as 2-by-4 boards, five-ply plywood and foam-board insulation were exposed to termites in order to ascertain the extent of the termite-induced damages. Not surprisingly, the termites ended up causing damage to all three of the common construction materials. The most heavily damaged of these materials was the foam insulation. The researchers on the project were not surprised to find all three materials damaged, but they were surprised that the rigid foam insulation sustained the greatest degree of damage of all three materials. The researchers calculated that twelve percent of the foam insulation had been entirely consumed by termites, as portions of the foam were completely absent. This twelve percent loss of insulation resulted in a twenty seven percent decrease in the insulation’s effectiveness.
Obviously the plastic contained within the insulation is not suitable for a termite’s diet. However, the soft texture of the foam-board insulation allows termites to dig intricate tunnels within the thick boards. In addition to that, termites will literally eat the paper that is contained within the foam insulation. This foam is an ideal resting place for termites that are trying to avoid cold weather outdoors.
Do you think that insulation manufacturers should consider adding an anti-termite material or substance into insulation in order to kill and deter hungry termites?