Pressure Treated Wood Termites: How Termites Bypass This Wood In 2024

Some people believe that controlling termites is a 1-day process, but it will shock you to know that pressure treated wood termites will still bypass the chemicals and infest your structure.

It is quite amazing how this happens, but in the end, this shows that hiring the services of pest control experts to combat your termite problems is quite inevitable.

Will termites eat pressure treated wood, or is there something else they do to bypass this wood treatment? Let us now find out!


What is a Pressure Treated Wood?

Pressure-treated wood refers to wood that has been infused with chemicals that are meant to preserve the wood and keep it in good shape and condition for a very long time.

This process is usually done during the manufacturing process of the wood and is an important step to keep the wood from fungi attack or rot.

Termites are mostly attracted to rotting wood, and with this preservative, your wood should be resistant to them.

In various regions of the United States, where termite attacks are more frequent, the use of pressure treated woods for construction is quite inevitable.


Read also: Termites In The Walls: The 5 Signs To Look Out For In 2024


How To Make Pressure Treated Wood Termites Resistant

Can termites eat pressure treated wood? No, termites cannot eat pressure-treated wood, and this is what makes them highly recommendable.

How are these woods made? Below is the process:

  1. The wood is placed in a pressure chamber. With the pressure coming in stronger, all the air in the wood is being removed. Removing the air allows the chemicals to be better absorbed by the wood.
  2. While the air is being removed, chemicals are being infused into the wood.

With the chemicals infused, the wood is able to withstand fungi and rot; hence, it is able to resist pressure treated wood termites.

Chemical PreservativesWOOD (Inside Pressure Chamber) ⇒ Air

Pressure Being Applied Δ

The illustration above should explain the process better.


What are the Chemicals that Make Pressure Treated Wood Termites Resistant?

Before knowing the chemicals that make pressure treated wood termites resistant, you must be aware of the 2 factors that determine the chemicals to be used. They are:

  • The chemical preservative used.
  • The time the wood was pressure-treated.

Now that we know these factors, we will go over the chemicals that are being used to preserve the wood.

  • Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA):

This was the first chemical that was being used for wood pressure treatments and was the combination of bacteriocide (a substance that kills bacteria) and chromium (a chemical element; it has the symbol Cr and atomic number 24).

This preservative combined copper as the fungicide and arsenic (a naturally occurring, semimetallic element widely distributed in the Earth’s crust) as the insecticide.

Although this product was effective, it was banned in 2003 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), of course, for contributing to environmental hazards.

  • Alkaline Copper Quat (ACQ):
Pressure Treated Wood Termites
The Alkaline Copper Quat Solution Perimeters

This product came into the limelight after the ban of the CCA. Companies employed this new chemical, which was a combination of copper oxide and quaternary ammonia (a group of chemicals used for a variety of purposes, including as preservatives, surfactants, etc.)


Read also: Termites In Idaho: The 2 Termite Species & 1 Visitor


What are the Disadvantages of Pressure Treated Wood?

Do termites eat pressure-treated wood? No, in fact, termites try their best to avoid these woods. However, your structure is still susceptible to infestation by pressure treated wood termites, and below is why:

  • Chemicals are Prone to Leach:

Using pressure-treated wood for construction can be effective but may not last for long as the chemical preservative in the wood may begin to leach within 12 years of use.

With leaching occurring, the wood then becomes vulnerable to the pressure treated wood termites.

  • Moisture is Still an Enemy:
Pressure Treated Wood Termites
Moisture Can Cause Leaching, and the Termites Can Now Have Access To the Wood

We mentioned earlier that pressure-treated wood termites are mostly attracted to wood that has been made rotten by moisture or fungi.

Now, whether your wood is pressure-treated against termites or not, if the wood is exposed to moisture it will begin to soften and become soft and rotten. The moisture may also wash off the chemical content of the wood.

With your wood rotten, termites can now infest the wood.

  • Construction Damages:

When the wood is being used for construction, it is important that chemical spot treatments are applied to the wood.

This is because during construction, the wood is being drilled and new holes are made where the chemical preservatives have not accessed.

With these new holes made and no chemical spot treatment applied to this drilled area, termites can use these areas to their advantage to still gain access.


Another disadvantage of these pressure-treated woods is that they can be bypassed by termites. Termites like the subterranean termites can simply construct mud tubes, which they can use to still gain access to the wood without being affected by the chemicals.

We can see that even though the pressure-treated woods are great deterrents against termite invasions, they are still susceptible.


What are the Signs of Pressure Treated Wood Termites?

Now that we know that pressure-treated wood termites can still infest your treated wood, chemical or no chemical, below are the signs to look out for:

  • You will begin to notice cracks in the wood.
  • Visible holes that look like they have been filled with soil are seen on the wood.
  • Have you ever seen wood that has been damaged by water? The wood looks discolored and soft. When subterranean termites infest your treated wood, the wood resembles water-damaged wood.
  • The wood appears to be swollen.
  • Termites create mud tubes to link various colonies together and often link these tubes to food sources. If your pressure-treated wood has been infested by termites, you will definitely notice mud tubes close to your:
    • Door frames
    • Walls
    • Concrete foundation, etc.
  • Adult termites shed their wings. When you notice a termite wing, it is a definite sign of an infestation in your pressure-treated wood.


Read also: Termites On Brick Wall: Are Modern Day Houses Now Penetrable In 2024?


How To Prevent Pressure Treated Wood Termites

  • Eliminate Moisture Spots:

Moisture is an enemy to pressure-treated wood and this is because, despite the chemical deposits in the wood, direct exposure to moisture can cause leaching (draining of the chemical contents of the wood).

The chemical contents are washed off either by moisture from pipe leaks, rain, etc, and this causes the wood to now be susceptible to attack by pressure treated wood termites.

It is therefore advisable that, to prevent this, the moisture sources be reduced (or removed).

  • Avoid Close Contact With the Soil:

If pressure-treated wood is allowed to come into contact with the soil, termites will still find a way to bypass the chemicals and infest the wood.

Not all parts of the wood are pressure-treated, so the termites can bypass those parts and infest the parts without the chemicals.

You must therefore ensure that the wood is at least 6 inches above the soil level.

  • Remove Food Sources:

Termites feed on cellulose, which means that they will feed on wood and even plants that contain cellulose.

Even though your wood has been pressure-treated, with these food sources still available, the termites may start feeding on the food sources until they gradually make it to your structure.

It is important that you clear vegetation around your home and avoid stacking wood close to the walls of your structure.

  • Make Use of Termiticides:

Whether your wood is pressure-treated, you must still apply termiticides around the foundation of your home to prevent them from bypassing the wood.

Simply place a purchase from Amazon, and apply this product yourself, or hire the services of a licensed pest control expert to apply this product around the perimeters of your home.



Pressure-treated woods are composed of copper oxide and quaternary ammonia, which have proven to be very effective against pressure treated wood termites.

Even though this wood is an effective deterrent against termites, it still has its weaknesses and these pests still find a way to bypass it and infest.

Do you have any questions related to the pressure treated wood termites? Feel free to ask them and also make your contributions via the comments section below.

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