Termite mud tube

So, you found a termite mud tube.  Now what? Finding a termite mud tube in your home is a sure sign that termites have been there.  The next logical questions should be; how did it get there? What type of termite created it? Are the termites still there?  Where else could the termites be and last; what do you do now?  Let’s take each question individually.

Where did the termite mud tube come from?

Termite mud tubes or shelter tubes can come from many places.  The first and most obvious is straight up from the ground to the piece of wood that the termites are feeding upon.  Termites use mud tubes as a protective cover to keep themselves moist for a longer period of time.  The key characteristic of a CT termite is that the termite damage will have mud in the damaged piece of wood or at a minimum small white fecal spots that are easily visible with a good flash light.  A termite mud tube can also come for between stone foundation walls, through hollow block cavities, from an expansion joint at the base of a basement floor or directly into a piece of wood that may be in direct contact with the ground.  Termites only need about 1/16″ to get into your home.  To put this into perspective, that’s about the width of a business card.

Tube on foundation wall
Termite mud tube on foundation wall

How did it get there?

The termite mud tube was built with individual grains of sand and fecal matter.  If you have live termites and look closely you can actual see termites build a termite mud tube.  Assuming that it’s not your home this can be a fascinating thing to watch.  Termites are truly an amazing insect.  They’re perfectly built for what they do.

What type of termite created it?

If you live in CT and have a termite mud tube or termite damage then it was constructed by an Eastern Subterranean Termite.  It’s the only termite that’s indigenous to our state.

Are the termites still there?

This is age old question.  The only way to answer this is, maybe!  There’s not a definitive way to tell anyone if the termites are gone.  The only exception would if the home has been treated and even in this case the treatment has to have been done correctly.  CT termites are cryptic by nature, they don’t want to be found.  There’s always the possibility that termites may be in an area that’s inaccessible for inspection such as a wall cavity or behind permanent shelves or stored items.  However, assuming that your home is fully accessible and you know exactly where all the termite mud tubes are located then the easiest way to tell if termites are still there is to scrape the tub.  If the termites rebuild the tube they’re there, if not they’re gone from that area.  It’s really that simple.

The question is when will they be back?

Where else could the termites be?

Another hard question, but in general Eastern Subterranean Termites love the following:

  1. The area behind front stoops
  2. Areas behind slabs attached to basements
  3. Garage door frames
  4. Basement window frames close to grade

There’s plenty more, but these are the top four.

What do you do now?

This one is simple.  If you find a mud tub it’s imperative that you have the home professionally inspected by a company like Envirocare Pest Control, LLC.  Only a professional is going to know where to look and what to look for.  From the outside the termite inspection seems like an easy thing.  All you have to do is tap on wood and have a flashlight, right?  Sorry, this could’t be further from the truth.  Like anything else; if it were that easy everyone would be doing it.  Leave this work to a professional.

If you found a termite mud tub in your home call Envirocare Pest Control, LLC at 1-888-879-6481.  We can help.