What is a Termite Tube, or Termite Tunnel?
Termites require moisture to survive and are vulnerable to dehydration.
Termite tubes are tunnels that are built by termites below ground, which will allow them to have shelter, and lock in the moisture they need, while also protecting them from dry air and other predators.
Damage Caused by Mud Tubes
Termites cause significant damage to a home over time. Mud tubes are not a problem by themselves, but they serve as an open door for termites seeking shelter and moisture from dried out conditions. Homeowners should notice mud tubes because they are one of the first signs of termite infestation.
What Do Termite Mud Tubes Look Like?
Subterranean termite tubes are typically 1/4″ in diameter. You can find them along exterior walls and the foundation of your home, but they also may be hidden inside the walls, under the floors or in cracks around your house’s foundation.
Types of Subterranean Termite Mud Tubes
There are many different types of tunnels made by termites. Some are for shelter, and some are to help transport food back to their colony.
There are four types of mud tubes that are used by subterranean termites:
- Exploratory Tubes
- Working Tubes
- Swarm Tubes
- Drop Tubes
Termites create their mud tubes to help protect the colony. However, these structures all have their own purposes.
(1) Exploratory Tubes
Exploratory tubes fork out in many directions, yet can still be seen because they are thin and fragile. They are made of feces, saliva, and dirt like other tube types which can extend to over 15 feet when built over concrete or metal.
Termites leave exploratory mud tubes – which are for Termites to travel to their next source of food. These delicate structures can be found in the soil and are typically abandoned by termites before homeowners even notice them. Keep an eye out for these thin tubes to know if there is still a risk of infestation-the pests will have moved on to find food elsewhere in your home.
(2) Working Tubes
Working tubes / utility tubes, receive the most use from a termite colony. Hundreds to thousands of termites travel from nests to food sources on a daily basis. Working mud tunnels are loosely organized like a highway with some lanes designated for carrying food while the others are used for construction and repair.
Exploratory mud tubes measure between 1/4 and 1 inch in diameter. Work tubes are made to last longer than exploratory tubes, but share the same properties. Utility termite tubes allow termites from one tube to travel long distances to reach a food source. Utility mud tubes can be found near basement walls and home foundations as well.
(3) Swarm Castle / Swarm Tubes
Constructed from a mixture of mud and saliva, swarm castles are built to temporarily accommodate the termite swarmers – to provide them protection. The constructions can be on the scale of four feet wide or larger—and during this construction, termites use their small bodies to produce more wings than usual so that they might escape Pheidole colonies in danger.
Swarmers gather at the entrance of a protective castle and then leave for an outer location when they are ready to colonize other locations. workers direct them towards the exit holes by removing debris that would be in their way, with this done swarmers take flight before starting new colonies.
(4) Drop Tubes
Drop tubes are suspended. They look like stalactites in caves, which can be identified by their long, cylindrical shape and the spot where they meet with the ground or a wood member of a structure.
Termite mounds are made for termites workers to access food sources more easily, as well as to establish a connection with the ground and working tubes.
Drop tubes are lighter in color than exploratory or working mud tubes because they have more wood fiber. They are similar in diameter and brittleness to the other types of tubes but contain significantly less clay particles.
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At Eminent Pest Control, we are a termites control Singapore specialist that offers a comprehensive examination of your home.
After proper investigation, we design a targeted and customised treatment for termite pest control in Singapore. Our treatment focuses on the root cause and uses solutions specific to your home’s particular construction type. We take care of clients’ needs and requirements for ultimate satisfaction.
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