Don’t touch them!

If you see an unusual-looking tube structure that seems to be made of dust or debris, your first instinct may be to wipe it away. You may even be curious about what it is and want to examine it more closely. Don’t. It could be a termite tube, and moving a termite tube could lead to termites migrating to other places in your home. Instead, if you think it might be a termite tube, you want to call in a pest control professional to examine it.

What Are Termite Tubes?

Termites that live underground build tunnels to connect their underground colonies to their above-ground food sources. These tunnels are known as termite tubes. Termites build these tubes, rather than just travelling along the open cracks and crevices, to help retain moisture in their colonies and to protect themselves from predators. They build four different types of tubes: exploratory, working, swarming, and drop tubes. Each type of tube has a different function for the colony. Exploratory tubes are more fragile, temporary structures that termites build while they are hunting for a food source. Working tubes are the main tubes of a colony. They may have multiple branches and are thicker than exploratory tubes. Swarming tubes, also known as swarmer castle tubes, are big enough to hold termites as they prepare to swarm. Drop tubes are a way for termites to move food to other termites in the colony and often drop down from surfaces, resembling stalagmites.

What Do Termite Tubes Look Like?

Termite tubes, despite their name, do not always look like tubes. The name conjures up an image of a drinking straw, but they are little structures with walls composed of a combination of wood, soil, and saliva that can range in size. They look more like a tiny tunnel made of mud than they do like a drinking straw.

Why Is It Important Not To Touch Them?

Unless you know what kind of termite tube you are examining, you would not know if the tube is in use or has already been abandoned. Touching an abandoned exploratory termite tube is not going to cause any additional damage. However, touching termite tubes that are actively in use can scare the termites and cause them to move, fleeing to other parts of the home. This is exactly what you do not want to do! Knowing where a colony is located makes treating termites much easier.

How to Handle Termite Tubes?

Call a professional. Termites can be a huge problem, threatening the structural integrity of your building. A Flick Home Protection Plan allows you access to prompt pest control services at the first sign of a problem. With a flexible, affordable monthly plan, our technicians will conduct a termite pest inspection and in the event that termites are uncovered, we will provide you with the relevant treatment options. A regular Termite Pest Inspection is the best way to prevent termiet damage.