Three Things You Need To Know About Termite Mud Tubes

Every year, 600,000 American homes are damaged by termites. Since these pests can be present without many visible signs of an infestation, you could have a termite problem without knowing it. One sign that is very easy to overlook is the presence of mud tubes. Here are three things you need to know about termite mud tubes.

What do mud tubes look like?

Mud tubes are easy to identify. They're about the same width as a pencil and they look like strips of dried mud. You may find these tubes both inside and outside of your home. Indoors, they may be found around support beams and other wooden structures. Outdoors, you may find them around your foundation or around wooden structures on the outside of your home.

What are mud tubes used for?

Termites use mud tubes to get around. Inside these tubes, they are protected from dangers like predators and the weather. Termites will die if they're exposed to the light and heat of the sun, so they rely on these dark, moist mud tunnels to get around.

If you see mud tubes that connect your soil to wooden parts of your home, the termites are using that tube to travel between their underground nest and your home. You may also see tubes that begin at a wooden structure and end just above the soil; the termites use these tubes to leave your home and go back to their nest. Both of these types of tubes indicate that your home is infested.

If you see mud tubes that leave the soil but don't travel all the way up to your foundation, those are exploratory tubes. The termites use these tubes to try to find tasty wood to eat, and they may not have found a way into your home yet. Your home may not be infested yet if you only have exploratory tubes, but the termites could find their way inside soon.

What should you do if you find mud tubes?

If you find a mud tube, disturb it to see if the tunnel is active. You can use your shoe or a gardening tool to gently push the mud aside. If small, white insects come out of the disturbed tunnel, you can be sure that you have an active termite infestation and need to call a pest control company. Termite control requires specialized equipment—including injection rods and concrete drills—so you won't be able to do it yourself.

If no insects come out of the disturbed mud tube, you may have found evidence of a previously-resolved infestation, though you'll need a professional inspection to know for sure.

If you've found termite mud tubes in or around your home, contact a pest control company, such as Tri-County Termite & Pest Control, for help.