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Termites – Insects That Eat Wood

termite-queens image
The termite queen lays millions of eggs during her life.

Termites wouldn’t make good dinner guests. They’d rather eat the table than the food on it. That’s right. Termites love to eat wood. Most of them prefer wet, moldy wood, which is why they live in forests and woodlands.

Here, they build their colonies in old, fallen trees where they can munch away. In these areas, termites serve a valuable purpose: they dispose of old trees and debris.

Winged Ant and Winged Termite Comparison Image - Science for Kids All About Termites
See the Difference between an Ant and a Termite

In your home, though, termites are bad news. Termites sometimes live in people’s homes, chewing on wood in a damp basement or in the walls. Here, they can cause major damage.

A Wall Damaged by Termites Image
Termites’ damage on a wall.

Fun Facts about Termites for Kids

  • Termites are among the oldest insects. They are related to cockroaches and have been on the earth for over 200 million years.
  • Most termite species live in hot, wet climates, such as rain forests and jungles. Here, they make a tasty snack for lizards, anteaters and other small animals.
  • A few species live in the U.S.
  • Termites build big colonies. Each colony can have millions of members.
  • Termite colonies have a king and queen. The queen lays millions of eggs during her life.
Furniture Damaged by Termites Image
Damaged furniture by termites.

Termite Vocabulary

  1. Moldy: covered with mold
  2. Woodland: area containing meadows, streams and trees
  3. Prefer: like
  4. Colony: group
Termite Queens Image
All About Termites: The termite queen lays millions of eggs during her life.

Learn More All About Termites

Watch this interesting video of termite soldiers versus ant soldiers:

A video of termite soldiers attacking ant soldiers.

Termite Q&A

Question: Do termites have specific jobs?

Answer: Termites do have jobs, similar to ants and bees. Some termites take care of the babies; others repair the nest. Soldier termites protect the colony. Some of them have strong mandibles, or jaws, for fighting ants and other termites.


Question: What material do termites use to build their homes?

Answer: Most live in old logs or in walls. Some build giant homes of mud or animal poop.


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