Subterranean termites can be hard to detect, even when a house has a significant infestation. They become dehydrated quickly by exposure to air, so they crawl up into a house protected inside tiny tubes the workers construct from dirt, feces, and their own saliva; which are called, obviously enough, mud tubes. Shown above is a cluster of mud tubes we found a few years ago, where the termites were coming up through a crack in the garage floor and climbing up the step, searching for wood above. They didn’t find it here, but termites keep probing until they find wood.
Usually, though, you will just see a solitary mud tube, like a thin gray vein rising up the wall, like in the photo below.
Here’s another mud tube above a kitchen cabinet. Part of it has been wiped away, but the residue of the tube remain embedded in the drywall surface.
And sometimes, when they really get going, it looks more like a termite expressway.
Also, see our blog posts When do termites swarm in Florida? and Does a recent termite company inspection sticker mean there are no termites? and I think I have termites. What does a termite look like?
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To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:
• Can termites eat their way through concrete blocks and mortar?
• Should I be worried about termites if my neighbor's house is being tented?
• Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim?
• Do carpenter ants cause structural damage to houses in Florida?
• How long before closing can you have a WDO (termite) inspection done?
• How long does Bora-Care® last?
• Why is it a mistake to store lumber in the crawl space under a house?
• Does the presence of carpenter ants in a house indicate that there are probably also termites?
• How do termites infest a house and remain hidden while doing major damage?
• Are homes in Florida required to have termite protection?
• If termite damage appears to be old, does that mean that termites may no longer be present?
• How do I know if my WDO/termite report is "clear"?
• Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?
• Do I have to tent the house if I have termites?
• What is the difference between a subterranean termite and a drywood termite?
• What are the green plastic discs in the ground around the house?
• What is a termite shield?
• How do termites get into a concrete block house?
• Do termites eat concrete?
• What is a clean WDO?
• What do termites eat?
• How do I treat wood rot that's listed in my termite-WDO report?
• Do I really need a termite-WDO inspection?
• What's causing those holes in the fascia?
• Does wood chip mulch in the yard attract termites?
• I'm buying a concrete block house. Do I still need a termite inspection?
• I saw a little termite damage on the baseboard. Should I be concerned?
• Why do termite inspectors tap the wood siding and baseboard wood in a home?
• What are the minimum access openings for a termite (WDO) inspector in Florida for a crawl space and attic, and within these spaces?
Visit our TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND PESTS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.