Termite workers are very fragile. Simply staying in contact with air that is not high enough in humidity will kill them. This is why they rarely leave their colony, and when they do, they have to build specialized structures known as mud tunnels.
The different types of termite tubes
Termites will build different types of mud tubes to serve different purposes. The main type of tube used by termites is the transportation tube. It is about one inch thick, and it is used to travel between a piece of wood and the colony by multiple workers at once. This tube is built to last for a long time, especially while the infestation is active, because it is essentially a highway used by workers to transport cellulose back to the colony.
Another type of tube that is frequently used is known as the scouting tube. These tubes are temporary and very fragile, and they are used to identify new sources of wood.
There are two other tube types that are much rarer – the hanging tube and the termite castle. The hanging tube connects two surfaces that are not connected with a third material. For example, the top and bottom surfaces of a crawlspace.
The termite castle can be categorized as a mud structure rather than a mud tube, and it is usually one foot wide. The castle is the staging ground for termite swarmers – winged reproductives that fly out of a mature colony, thousands at a time.
What to do if you spot a termite tube in your home
If you see a termite tube somewhere on your foundation or inside your basement, the first instinct might be to destroy it. After all, it’s used by termites to travel to the home. However, they will simply rebuild it somewhere else, and it’s useful for pest control professionals during an inspection to determine the extent and location of the infestation.
As such, the best thing to do if you spot one of these tubes on your property is to contact a pest control company and schedule an inspection. The company will send a team over that will inspect the home and then recommend a course of action.
For more information about termite infestations and how they manifest, or if you are currently dealing with a termite infestation on your property, contact us today.