Termites Won’t Eat French Fries But Will Eat the Container

Got termites? You better hope not, they’re a big pest and colonies can eat up to a pound of wood every day. The National Pest Management Association shares this and other terrifying facts as part of a series of public service announcements. One fun playlist is called “Will They Eat It?” and includes an overly enthusiastic host finding out what termites will and won’t eat. Despite the laugh track and sparkly set, it’s horrifying. In the video below, he just casually pours a whole cup full of termites into a glass tank containing a fast food meal, containers and all.

Though we don’t know the elapsed time, watching hundreds of creepy-crawly termites systematically munch their way through lunch is both gross and mesmerizing at the same time. They eat the entire paper bag, the burger, and the fry container, but leave the fries and straw behind. Most of the paper wrapper on the straw is still there too. Perhaps they don’t like plastic and it wasn’t worth the effort. But why skip the fries? Potatoes have cellulose after all, a termite’s favorite snack. Does the salt put them off? Should I coat my entire house in salt?  

Other entries in the Will They Eat It? playlist include money, shoes, and headphones. They’re all as interesting and horrible to watch. The PestWorld YouTube channel also includes PSAs about other pests like ticks, rats, bed bugs, cockroaches, and hornets. It’s a long list of gross things that could be in your house right now. There’s also fun crafts to do with kids, if that’s more your speed.

A glass tank containing termites eating a fast food burger and fries

No matter how much you love fast food, watching a termite colony breeze through this meal may put you off burgers and fries for a bit. Combine that with the knowledge that termite colonies can clone themselves and your skin may begin to crawl. Hopefully that scurrying in the walls is just my imagination.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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