It’s quite funny how one of the advantages of teak wood as the preferred material for great outdoor and garden wooden furniture appears to have given rise to some kind of urban legend or myth. Okay, so we might be overstating things a bit, but that’s certainly what it feels like. It feels like consumers have taken the implication that teak wood garden furniture is resistant to termites and ran with it, but what’s the actual truth to it?

Termites and teak furniture

Do termites have no interest at all in messing up garden furniture made of teak wood? Is teak wood termite resistant, poisonous to them, etc?

The truth is that teak wood is NOT termite resistant, but manufacturers, garden design consultants, and interior designers (yes, teak is also used for household furniture) rightfully sell it as a great option if one is worried about termites, among other pests. This is one of the “pluses” that go into the pricing of teak wood furniture, which of course is generally slightly higher than other types of hardwood used in garden furniture.

It is however merely a matter of coincidence that teak wood is generally more durable and it doesn’t really have anything to do with it being resistant to termites, because it really isn’t. Instead, if you notice you have a termite infestation, it would be a much better idea to have a look at a service such as terminix New York and similar companies that can offer termite control.

What it is rather, is that termites appear to have a sense of taste and are discerning about their diet! It’s not that the little destructive crawlers won’t ever nibble into and nest in teak wood, but rather that teak doesn’t quite feature high up on their taste preference. In fact, teak just seems to be their least favourite wood too much down on, much like how humans have a list of some foods we can pretty much universally agree on not being appetising at all.

Still, that doesn’t mean we won’t eat broccoli, unsweetened porridge, or any other food that generally has opinion divided on its taste. Just as is the case with termites, we’ll eat these foods if we absolutely have to, as will termites if there is no other wood type to destroy in your garden.

So by no means does it mean that by mere virtue of going for the otherwise highly recommended and widely preferred teak for the wood to be contained in your garden furniture, you’ve automatically taken care of any potential termite problem.

You do not want to find out when it’s too late that teak can indeed be an acquired taste for termites, so make provision for your precious garden furniture’s protection from the little buggers. Make sure to get your annual pest inspection complete, which should include termites of course, but what you might find instead is that another reason for your teak garden furniture seemingly repelling termites is as a result of its attraction of a natural enemy of termites, wasps!

Wasps seem to absolutely love teak wood, so that’s a different problem to have to deal with, albeit a less expensive one given that your precious furniture won’t be chewed up.

Zoe Kickhefer
zoe@everydaylifes.com