Mud Tubes from Termites: What They Look Like?

Mud tubes from termites are an important part of their life cycle. Not only do they use the tubes to travel and find food, but they also build the tubes to protect themselves from predators and the elements.

Mud tubes from termites can vary in size, shape, and color depending on the species of termite. Their color is somewhat similar to the Native Arizona soil.

Mud tubes are generally as wide as pencils, gritty in textures and their shape is irregular. They can be anywhere from a few inches to several feet long and are often hidden underground or in walls.

termite mud tubes on wood

The mud tubes from termites provide shelter and protection for the termites as they travel from their nest to their food source. The tubes are also used to regulate the temperature and humidity of the nest.

Termite Mud Tubes and Their Characteristics

Different types of mud tubes from termites can have different characteristics. For example, some mud tubes may be smooth while others may be rough.

Some may be straight while others may be curved. Some mud tubes may be open at the top while others may be closed.

The different characteristics of mud tubes from termites can help to identify the species of termite. For example, the African subterranean termite builds smooth, straight, and close-fitting mud tubes.

The Eastern subterranean termite builds tubes that are rough and have a jagged appearance.

The Formosan subterranean termite builds tubes that are open at the top and have a funnel-like shape.

Subterranean Termites Mud Tubes vs Drywood Termites Mud Tubes

Mud tubes from different species of termites can vary in appearance. Let’s take into account the two most common species which are Subterranean Termites and Drywood Termites.

The subterranean termites build their mud tubes out of moist soil, while drywood termites build their mud tubes out of wood particles and saliva.

Drywood termite mud tubes are typically harder and more brittle than subterranean termite mud tubes.

Mud tubes from termites are typically either smooth or ridged. Smooth mud tubes are built by drywood termites, while subterranean termites typically build ridged mud tubes.

The ridges on subterranean termite mud tubes help the tube to better withstand changes in temperature and humidity.

termite mud tube on concrete wall

Mud tubes from termites can vary in size depending on the species of termite. Subterranean termites typically build larger mud tubes than drywood termites.

Drywood termites typically build mud tubes that are about the width of a pencil, while subterranean termites can build mud tubes that are up to four inches in diameter.

Termite mud tubes typically have a round or oval shape. However, some species of termites, such as drywood termites, can build mud tubes that are irregular in shape.

If you see what looks like a mud tube on your property, it is important to determine whether or not you have a termite problem.

In this blog post, we will discuss what mud tubes from termites look like, the different types of mud tubes from termites, and their different characteristics.

Three Types of Mud Tubes from Termites

A termite mud tube, also known as a termite tunnel, is a structure that termites create out of mud and saliva. This structure provides the termites with protection from weather and predators, as well as a means of transportation.

There are different types of mud tubes coming from termites: Working tube, Exploratory tube, Drop tube, and Swarm castle.

Termites Working Tubes

Termites use their working tubes to travel back and forth between their nest and the food they are eating. it is safe to say that this type f termite tube is the most important of all. These tubes are very important to the termites and they will do everything they can to protect them. The tubes are made of mud and are very thin. They can be up to six feet long, but most are much shorter. These working mud tubes are organized like a highway for the termites. Some lanes are used for transporting food and some are used for construction repair on the nest.

Working tubes are typically one-fourth and one inch in diameter. These tunnels are made to last longer than the other types of termite mud tubes. The tubes are made with a thick layer of mud on the outside and a thin layer of mud on the inside. The inside of the tube is where the termites travel.

The working tubes are not always straight. They can be curved or have many bends in them. This is because the termites are trying to avoid predators and other dangers. The termites will also change the shape of their working tubes depending on the needs of their colony.

Exploratory tube

Mud tubes from termites come in many different shapes and sizes. However, they all have one common goal: to provide shelter and transportation for the termites. The most common type of mud tube is the exploratory tube.

Exploratory tubes are made when the termites are first exploring the area and are looking for a food source. These tubes are usually small, thin, and fragile.

They are made out of mud and saliva, and they are often found on the walls or ceilings. Exploratory tubes can extend from 15 feet from the ground and can be seen covering concrete and even metal.

These tubes will be abandoned by the termites right after they have explored an area. However, it should be clear that even if no termites are occupying these tubes, it is still an indication of termite infestation.

Drop Tubes

Termites build their nests underground, and they need a way to get from the ground to the nest. They do this by building what are called drop tubes.

A drop tube is a small tube that the termites build out of the mud. The tube connects the ground to the nest, and the termites use it to travel between the two.

The drop tube is not the only type of mud tube that termites build. There are also what are called satellite tubes.

Satellite Tubes

Satellite tubes are small tubes that connect the main nest to a satellite nest. A satellite nest is a smaller nest that is connected to the main nest. The termites use the satellite tubes to travel between the two nests.

termite mud tubes on corner of a room

The termites build the satellite tubes out of mud, and they are usually smaller than the drop tubes. They can be different shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose: to connect the main nest to a satellite nest.

Final Thoughts

Termites use mud tubes as a way to protect themselves and as a way to travel between their nest and the food they are eating.

There are four different types of mud tubes from termites: working tube, exploratory tube, drop tube and swarm castle. Each type of tube serves a different purpose with the main goal of helping the colony to survive.

Some of these mud tubes or tunnels may be abandoned, however, it is still an indication of a termite infestation. Which calls for immediate action to prevent further damage.