Termite tubes are external tunnels that allow termites to enter a home without being exposed to outside air. They are commonly called ‘mud tubes’ because they are built out of mud and termite feces. These tubes are commonly seen leading from the soil, up the cement foundation, and into the wooden structure of a home. Termites require a moist and warm environment in order to survive, and these tubes allow termites to maintain this environment while searching for wooden structures.
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A visual inspection around the base of your home is the easiest way to find termite tubes. At first glance, termite tubes appear to be lines of mud running up the side of a home. Upon closer inspection it can be seen that they are actually hollow tubes made from termite feces and mud. Termite tubes may also appear hanging from wooden slats and between cracks in boards. Once inside a home, termites slowly destroy the inside of wood. If an infestation is left untreated, this will eventually lead to a weakening of the structure of the home.
If you find termite tubes, don’t panic. It takes a long time for termites to cause substantial damage. A mixture of Boric Acid and Propylene Glycol kills termites when it is injected into wood. Bait, in the form of poisoned soil and treated wood, can also be bought in nurseries. However, none of these do-it-yourself methods is recommended. While Boric Acid and other insecticides will kill termites on the surface of wood, often the termites inside the wood are unaffected. Spraying the ground around your home is difficult, because termites require a large amount of insecticide that must be injected up to four feet deep. It is suggested that professional help be sought in order to completely destroy the infestation. However, remember that termites destroy homes very slowly, so take your time to find an effective and economical treatment plan.