Termite tubes in the garage? What do they mean?
Your instinct is to knock them down but don’t. We can learn a lot from examining termite tubes in Arizona homes. First, we always advise our friends and neighbors to leave termite tubes intact, wherever you find them.
Termite tubes are also called “termite trails.” Here’s what you need to know, and it’s not welcome news: Even if you have a detached garage, termite tubes in the garage mean you need to schedule a home inspection for termites. However, it doesn’t mean “the damage is done.” Instead, termite tubes can indicate varying stages of termite activity.
Termites Are Space Invaders
Termites aren’t from another planet (that we know of), but they are certainly aliens eager to infiltrate your home. If you’re unsure what termite tubes look like, they look like dirt tunnels. They’re made of saliva, mud, and wood, the termites acquired on your property, so the color should match your land’s soil.
Sometimes termite tubes look like anthills in composition. The texture appears gritty. The direction the tube takes will often follow a wall seam or crack. The length can be anywhere from 1-12 inches.
If the termite tube appears moist, that means it’s fairly new. Old tunnels are dry and crumble easily. So if you accidentally knocked a termite tube off the garage wall and a new one appears within a few days, call your local termite exterminator immediately.
The good news is termite tubes can mean termites are exploring your home to see if it’s a potential food source. Of course, they may not be living there – yet. In that case, prevention is worth a pound of cure! Most homes in the Valley have regular termite treatments to prevent an infestation.
Just a few termites can increase their colony size and spread within days. Damage can occur within months. And if left untreated, termites can destroy a house within 18 months or so.
Types of Termite Tubes
Termite tubes in the garage are probably built by subterranean termites. An exploratory tube is small and only built to accommodate a search party. Drop tubes look like cave stalagmites; they can suspend from a roof or ceiling. After they leave the colony, termite swarmers need additional protection. Castles are temporary housing for termite swarmers and look less like tunnels and more like lumps.
Working termite tubes are bigger and longer and built to handle heavy traffic. Finding any termite trail or tube is your wake-up call to immediately call experienced termite control professionals.
Other Signs of Termites
Finding termite tubes in the garage can be better than discovering other signs of termites. But, in almost every case, the damage can be from termites… or something else. An experienced Phoenix termite company can tell the difference.
Termites sometimes eat through walls from the inside-out, and you can see their tiny holes. Both wood rot and termite damage are serious problems. It’s difficult to tell the difference. Wavy, crumbly looking baseboards or other wood areas is likely termite damage. If the area feels soft and damp, it’s probably wood rot.
It can also be one of two problems if you see discoloration, wall stains, or peeling paint. First, your home or garage sheetrock may have water or termite damage. Second, termites also leave their tiny, translucent wings on windowsills and other areas of the home. Discarded wings indicate you have an active termite colony.
When wood windows and doors begin to jam, feel “uneven,” or won’t completely open/close, it could be due to termites, age, or water damage. If you can feel an area of flooring “give” or sag when stepped on, you’ve already had structural damage.
Termite tubes are a sure indicator you have a colony. Damage is already happening or not far away. But termites can leave clues similar to other types of damage. If you’re not sure, contact Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination. The problem may or may not be limited to your garage, but the solution is just one phone call away.