Miniature tunnel systems constructed from mud by termites, found in close proximity to their nests. Find out what to do if you discover a mud tube near your house, and how to recognize one if you do.
What are termite mud tubes?
Mud tubes, also known as termite mud tunnels, are small, pencil-sized tunnels built by worker termites out of bits of dirt and wood and are typically found around a nest, in wood constructions, or near the base of a building composed of concrete or stone. To avoid being eaten by predators or drying out on the way back to the nest, subterranean termites construct mud tubes to use as transportation.
In order to exist, subterranean termites require a constant temperature and humidity level. As the mud tunnels, which are constructed of saliva and feces (and may contain wood), seal off any chilly, dry air, the environment is perfect for these destructive bugs. There is usually a lot of moisture in these mud tunnels. Mud tubes can appear whenever soil meets a hard surface, such as at the base of your home or near other potential food sources (wooden structure or tree).
Call a termite control service right away if you find mud tunnels or anything resembling them. The presence of mud tubes is a telltale symptom of a termite infestation, and prompt action is required to prevent further structural damage to the home.
Check out our blog “What Do Subterranean Termites Look Like?” to learn more about how do identify these termites and the steps you should take to eliminate them/
Can I Remove the Termite Tunnels?
Tubes built by termites that are dry and disintegrate when touched may indicate that the pests have already moved on. But just because it’s dry doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared. A dried-out tube could mean that termites utilized it as a point of entrance and have moved on to another part of your home. There will still be termites and activity in the tunnels, and they will likely still be moist.
Even if you get rid of every last bit of a termite tube, you still have a problem. It’s important to remember that the tunnels are just the surface manifestation of a deeper problem.
If you find any evidence of termites, like tubes, then it’s time to call On Demand Pest Control. Tubes, whether dry or not, are always a sign of termite activity. Termites will recolonize a site even if all of the original colonists have been exterminated. If you don’t want these pests to take over your house, you’ll have to take some preventative measures.
Termites use their saliva to strengthen the clay as they construct. The saliva softens the clay so that it flows around the sand grains. Some research suggests that termite saliva can also serve as a plasticizer additive, making the structure more flexible and resistant to cracking.
Termite Food Sources
Termites feed primarily on cellulose, which can be found in sources as diverse as wood, leaves, grass, manure, humus from herbivorous animals, and cellulose-containing items including paper, cardboard, and cotton. Both the lower and upper termite orders prefer to eat undamaged or partially decomposed wood.
Termites consume plant matter, including roots, wood, and fungus, that are dead or decaying. They are known as detritivores because they feed on rubbish. Those bugs are after the cellulose in your food! They are able to digest cellulose and derive energy from it because of their specialized gut flora.
It’s not uncommon for the results of termite infestation to mimic the visuals of water damage. Swollen flooring, collapsing wood and ceilings, what seems like moderate water damage, and visible mazes within walls or furniture are all outward indicators of termite damage. A musty odor like mildew or mold may be a Sign of Termite Infestation.
How To Tell If You Have Termite Damage
- Drooping or discolored drywall
- Paint flaking that looks like water damage
- Hollow sounding wood
- Small, precise holes in the drywall
- Flooring planks made of wood or laminate that are buckling
- Due to the additional moisture termites may introduce to your floor, tiles may start to come away.
- Flooring that is excessively noisy
- Deteriorated, crumbling wood
- Window or door jams
- Furniture, floorboards, or wall damage with a pattern that resembles mazes
- Termite pellet mounds that resemble miniature piles of salt or pepper
Do Ants Make Mud Tunnels?
Ants don’t construct tubes as termites do. In light of this, it would be wise to obtain a free inspection from a certified On Demand specialist. Call us to arrange a home inspection so we can find out if you have a termite infestation that is still active. No matter if they are termites or ants, both are pests that must be managed.
To learn more about termites in Florida, check out our blog “Termites in Florida: The Complete Guide to Identification and Control”.