Of all the many termite species, the most destructive of them is the subterranean termite. This termite attacks from below ground and doesn't travel in the open like ants do. Instead, the subterranean termite uses mud tubes to move around aboveground.
As a homeowner or building owner, it's important to understand mud tubes and what they mean. This article will provide some important facts about mud tubes.
1. New mud tubes indicate termite activity
If new mud tubes appear anywhere on your property, this means that termites are actively exploring and searching for food. Take the appearance of mud tubes very seriously because they could indicate an imminent infestation.
2. Mud dauber nests resemble termite mud tubes
Mud dauber wasps also have mud-tube-like nests that people sometimes confuse with termite mud tubes. Mud dauber nests are small and have openings in them via which the wasps enter and exit the nest. Termite mud tubes are long and highway-like, and also much more fragile than mud dauber nests. Don't confuse the two.
3. Empty mud tubes do not mean termites have left the area
Termites often build exploratory mud tubes, which they soon abandon after use. If you break open a termite mud tube and see no termite activity, don't assume that the termites have moved on. You may simply have broken open an exploratory mud tube. Termites mainly use working tubes when going to and from a food source.
4. Termites often build mud tubes out of sight
Termites often build their mud tubes in discreet locations, such as crawlspaces, cellars, and in wall cavities. If you think you might have a termite problem but you see no presence of mud tubes, the mud tubes could simply be behind the walls or under your feet.
5. Termite control technicians need to see mud tubes
Don't destroy termite mud tubes. First, destroying termite mud tubes won't deter the termites. They will simply build another mud tube elsewhere. Second, when you hire a termite control technician, they will need to examine the mud tubes to determine the type and the location of both the mud tubes and termites
6. Etching suggests that a building had mud tubes in the past
If you have recently bought a building and see the presence of old mud tubes, which may be in the form of etching, your building may have been infested with termites in the past. Consider hiring a termite inspector to ensure that the building is now free of termites.
For more information on termites, contact a professional near you.