Termite Mud Tubes

Living on the Sunshine Coast means that you have probably heard and seen a lot about termites. They give many homeowners nightmares and nearly 1 in 3 homes in the area will likely suffer some kind of damage from them. You may have also heard the term “mud tube” used to describe a common sign associated with termite problems. Today, we wanted to give you a little bit more information about mud tubes so that you can identify them and understand what they might mean for your home. 

What is a mud tube?

Mud tubes are tunnel-like structures that are built by subterranean termites. They are made of dirt, wood, and termite saliva and feces. The structure of the tunnel is uneven in shape and can range from ¼ – 1 inch in diameter, but they are most often approximately pencil-sized. 

What are the purposes of mud tubes?

Subterranean termites require humidity and moisture to survive. They are very susceptible to drying out, so they must remain in a moist environment. The termites will build these tunnels from the soil, where they live, to the source of their food. The tunnels not only keep the humidity high while the termites travel, but they also protect them from predators. There are 4 types of tunnels that have slightly different purposes.

  • Working tunnels: These tunnels, sometimes also called utility tunnels, form a path between the termites’ nest underground to the wood that the termites eat. They are tunnels that are thicker and made to last.
  • Exploratory tunnels: When termites are looking for a food source, they build thin, more fragile tunnels simply to allow them to explore the area. If they do not find wood, they will abandon these tunnels. You can tell an exploratory tunnel because it is a path from the soil that stops before meeting wood.
  • Drop Tubes: Tunnels that are suspended from wood back to the ground are known as drop tubes. They often look like thin stalactites hanging from a surface. Drop tubes are typically composed of more wood, so they may appear lighter in color.
  • Swarm tubes: These are particularly wide tunnels that protect the reproductive swarmers that are getting ready to leave the nest. They can be up to 3-4 feet wide and are temporary.

Where are mud tubes found?

Mud tubes can be found anywhere subterranean termites are located, but common places in and around homes may include: concrete or stone foundations, basement walls, crawl spaces, sub floors, window frames, joists, and more. 

What should I do if I find mud tubes?

Mud tubes are one of the first signs of a termite infestation. If you see them around your home or property, you need to call a Sunshine Coast termite control professional as soon as you can. If you find a mud tube after you have already received termite treatments, it may be an old, inactive one. To check, simply break off a small center section and leave the rest intact. If the section has been repaired in a few days, you know you have an active infestation and need to seek further treatments.

Sunshine Coast Termite Control

Every home in Queensland should be inspected at least yearly for signs of termite activity. Radar Pest Control offers Sunshine Coast termite inspections, monitoring, and baiting to keep your home protected. We also offer general pest control services for a wide range of other household pests including ants, spiders, rodents, silverfish, roaches, and more. For service you can trust, contact Radar Pest Control today.

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