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What are Termite Mud Tubes?

There are many types of termites, but subterranean termites are the primary culprit in creating termite mud tubes. In appearance, termites and carpenter ants are sometimes mistaken for each other, but termite nests or mounds and the interconnected mud tubes can reveal the presence of termites and distinguish these pests from others. Understanding what termite mud tubes are can help you identify them and then quickly engage the necessary pest control services to deal with an existing termite presence or to prevent further damage or potential infestations.

What are Termite Mud Tubes?

Most people are more aware of signs of termites that can be evident inside of the house, including damage to wooden posts or wings on the windowsills, than those that indicate the presence of termites outside of the house. One sign of termites that can be found both inside and outside of the home are termite mud tubes. These can be found anywhere from where a basement wall meets the floor to the outside foundation of your home.

All mud tubes are constructed to protect termites from the elements, but different types of mud tubes serve different purposes. Some tubes are used to explore the environment in search of food, while other more durable tubes are actually used to transport food and for termite travel. These tubes typically connect nests in soil to the termites’ food source, whether that is your home, another structure on your property, or even dead trees or wood piles. Other tubes connect wood sources to the ground and look like sizable light brown icicles hanging down from the wood source. Although the mud tubes themselves do not cause damage, they are one of the first signs of termite infestation and crucial to the growth and survival of a termite colony.

How to Identify Termite Mud Tubes in Your Yard

Identifying termite mud tubes in your yard may be easier than locating them inside of your home, because indoor tunnels may be hidden behind walls and under flooring. Mud tubes are often the width of a person’s pinky (from baby-sized to slightly larger than that of an adult), appear in shades of brown and orange, and may extend several inches or many feet. They are constructed of materials like soil particles, woody materials, and bodily fluids, and the strength of their construction is specific to their function, so mud tubes in the yard used for exploration may be less fortified than the food or transport tunnels that line or branch across your porch or foundation. In addition to looking for termite mud tubes in your basement area, the foundation of your home or other parts of your property that are attractive to termites, including the rotting or decaying wood often found in wood piles, dead trees, or untreated wood that is close to warm, wet soil, are prime outside locations for termite mounds and mud tubes.

How to Prevent Termite Mud Tubes

Proactive termite prevention is the best way to avoid not only the presence of termite mud tubes but also, and most importantly, the potential damage that the presence of termites can cause. In addition to keeping an eye out for signs of termite mud tubes and mounds in and around your property, engaging professional services as offered by Eliminate ‘Em help you protect your home and your loved ones from these pests. The following preventative measures also have the added benefit of identifying signs of other pest or wildlife intruders, deterring their entry into your home, and general structural upkeep, including reinforcing seals and the determination of any water leak issues.

  1. As part of your annual home maintenance plan, add termite inspection to your list of necessary services. This initial assessment will reveal any past or current termite presence or damage. If needed, a termite removal plan will be developed and deployed; otherwise, expert termite specialists will recommend a plan for continued termite prevention or intervention.
  2. Any proposed prevention plan will likely include exclusion and abatement services with particular focus on the basement, since the subterranean termites responsible for mud tubes (and other types of termites who enjoy moist, dark locations) typically reside around areas connected to both the soil and structure’s foundation. After a thorough examination of the structure, space, and insulation, tactics like sealing cracks or holes, cleaning prior pest waste or damage, and addressing damp or water-compromised components are used to reduce the likelihood of termite infiltration, as well as intrusions by many other types of pests and wildlife.
  3. TAP® Insulation (Thermal Acoustical Pest Control Insulation) is an EPA-approved preventative insulation that uses a borate solution to deter many pests, including termites, from entering the home. Its application also enhances features of traditional insulation like energy efficiency and mold and mildew prevention.

Most measures for termite prevention center around the home itself. If the focal dwelling or other structures on the property are prepared to repel pests, then it’s less likely that mud tubes will be found on the property. However, remember that other wood sources in your yard, like piles of fallen limbs or dying trees, can also attract termites, so it is important to remove them in order to further eliminate the chance of termite nests or mounds and mud tubes in your yard or your home.

What to Do About Termite Mud Tubes

If you find termite mud tubes outside of the house or inside of your home, immediately contact the Eliminate ‘Em termite exterminators by calling or using this form. Then, professional pest control specialists will immediately begin diagnosing your termite issues and ensure that a termite technician is dispatched to your home to inspect it and enact quick and efficient prevention measures or solutions to the current problem. As soon as you suspect the presence of termite mud tubes or other signs of termites, acting quickly to protect your home against termites is a critical step in avoiding or reducing the potential for long term termite damage.