Found a few termite mud tubes


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Old 10-03-17, 04:22 PM
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Found a few termite mud tubes

I found the remains of three single, unoccupied termite mud tubes extending from the baseboard. I also found corresponding tubes on the outside foundation of house. I have typical stucco house with tile roof. I inspected inside of house, baseboards, upper walls, window and door area. I didn't find any other signs of mud tubes, frass or wings.

I always apply diatomaceous earth at both indoors and outdoors perimeter most of the year except when it rains. Most of the attic is inaccessible with tight quarters. So I checked it as best I could. I didn't find anything there yet.

The termite tubes I found inside just ended abruptly as if the termites gave up. I have no wood structures attached to the house.

I'm thinking about using the nematode microscopic worms or applying additional diatomaceous earth paste on the foundation. What do you think?
 
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Old 10-03-17, 06:08 PM
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Not a termite pro just some conversation. Is your house built on a slab or does it have a crawlspace or basement?

If it is on a slab then those buggers might be living where you can't see their work. As for wings, in my area my type of termites will swarm in the spring on a nice warm day. Within hours they are gone until next year.

PAbugman will be along.

Bud
 
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Old 10-03-17, 08:52 PM
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My house is on a concrete slab. It has no basement and it has no crawlspace.
 
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Old 10-04-17, 06:46 AM
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Sounds like subterranean termites, meaning the main colony is deep in the ground around and under the structure. Like Bud said, slab structures with finished walls and ceilings are difficult to inspect. Sometimes the only evidence is when they break through into the visible living spaces.

Initially subterranean termites send out exploratory mud tunnels to search for suitable wood. If moisture and other conditions are not conducive they may abandon the tubes and give up. In your case they may have abandoned the entire house or they may have simply moved back into the darker void spaces. It’s always hard to determine the level of activity with termites even with a basement structure but even more so with a slab structure. The evidence shows that termites have entered the void spaces of your house recently and I would treat my house thoroughly and professionally. You don’t want a “surprise” some years later.

Nematodes were a good idea that didn’t work for pretty much anything. Diatom earth might work as a prevent if the house were built on top of a thick layer to include a deep perimeter. I’m not aware that this is done and it can’t be done after the structure is built.

Modern day termiticides are safe when applied by knowledgeable people following the label. My favorite is any of them with the active ingredient “fipronil”. There are termite baiting systems in use but I’ve no experience with them. Both the liquid termite treatments and baiting systems are for subterranean termites only.
 
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Old 10-04-17, 11:52 AM
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Thanks Bugman. I'm working outside the house on a preventive plan now. I'll respond again Monday or sooner
 
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Old 10-06-17, 01:25 PM
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Ok. I dug the trench around entire outside perimeter of house. I'm doing this myself. I can't afford to hire an exterminator. To keep things simple, I'm not asking about drilling through concrete at this time. I understand how to apply the chemical in trench.

I like the idea of rodding too. I understand that you generally bore a hole about 4 ft down to the footing to pump the Termidor (or other fipronil based product) into. It doesn't make sense to buy professional exterminator tools and equipment. What can I use to bore the hole and deliver the chemical. Can I use a piece of rebar and then insert a long, narrow, hollow metal tube? Or could I also attach a long length of plastic tubing to my pump spray wand?
 
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Old 10-06-17, 03:07 PM
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For a different project I needed to drive grade stakes into compacted gravel, nearly impossible, so I purchased a long 1" wood boring bit and used a 1/2" chuck drill. That gave me pilot holes and the stakes followed easily. In your case just add the needed extensions and it works like a long skinny post hole digger. The drill but will never work in wood again but mine has seen several other uses so not a waste. Your hollow tube should follow that pilot hole.

I know nothing about your application, just commenting on how to create the holes.

Bud
 
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Old 10-07-17, 01:42 PM
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Hey Bud,

I don't know that your exact method would work for my application. But your suggestion was still useful because it made me think of a couple variations of your procedure. I think I found a couple items at Lowe's that will do the job. Thanks
 
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Old 10-07-17, 01:44 PM
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I wouldn’t worry about a soil rod or making a sprayer extension, etc. Use rebar to punch the holes about every foot or so. If you have a grinder it could be helpful to sharpen to a point. If you can get a foot or two down that will be good enough since you are on a slab. If you have access behind the bath trap you should look in there and treat especially if exposed soil. These are potential termite areas in slab constructed houses. Then just flood the exterior trench as needed. Since fipronil is non-repellent, it isn’t as necessary to get a complete chemical barrier as when we used repellents, but being on a slab and only going down about a foot, you probably will get a good barrier anyway. What we need is for some of the termites to move in and out of the treated soil. All subterranean termites go back to the colony about every 24 hours, generally speaking. This is how the termiticide is transferred to others.
 
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Old 10-07-17, 02:50 PM
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Thanks Bugman,

I could put some type of metal cap on the end of a cut down piece of rebar when driving it into the earth. Here is another idea that sort of borrows from Bud's suggestion. Use two 24 inch pointed steel spikes end to end (or one long spike if sold) to drive the bore holes.

(I've leave bath trap and under slabs for separate discussion if needed. Thanks for reminding. I won't forget)

You don't think I need to insert a hollow rigid tube in the bore holes to facilitate downward flow of termiticide?

How close to the foundation should I bore the holes? Should the holes go straight down or at an angle?
 

Last edited by bluesbreaker; 10-07-17 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 10-08-17, 10:06 AM
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Before making the holes you should make a trench about 6-8”wide and about 6” deep, against the foundation. . Make the holes in the trench and flood the trench with buckets or however you get the chemical into the trench. That will be good enough especially considering you are on a slab and not a basement where the footer is 8-10’ below grade. I’d prefer that the holes go straight down as the termiticide is going to spread out anyway although you could angle every other one towards the house or another interval but it’s probably insignificant.

If some of the house perimeter runs down hill, be ready to kick in some dirt here and there to make dams so as to not over treat the downhill trench and under treat the uphill trench.
 
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Old 10-08-17, 12:16 PM
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Cool. Thanks.

Trench already done. Might take a little time if I have to order termiticide online.

Property is completely flat

I'm going to check in with one of those 'call before you dig' utility hot lines Monday before I make holes.

I'll report back
 
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Old 10-08-17, 04:25 PM
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My bath trap area does not have an access panel or door. So I cut a 4 inch inspection hole in the drywall. I can see the tub waste pipe and drain pipe that goes into the ground. I don't have a great view because the pipes seem to be offset instead of centered with the spout.

I can pump termiticide in around the drain pipe area for sure. But I can't really see enough inside there to look for termite activity. There is insulation that hangs like a curtain. I had to lift up the insulation to get a limited view inside the wall cavity.
 
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Old 10-10-17, 03:13 PM
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I ordered a 20oz container of of Taurus SC. It has the same ingredient as Termidor. But it is cheaper for some reason. Just wondered if anyone wanted to comment on this product. I'm sure I'll need another container. Can't understand why anyone would pay the extremely high price in a brick and mortar pesticide store when it is so much cheaper on line with free shipping.

I'm waiting for the utility locating service to mark my property before I make deeper rod holes in trench
 
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Old 10-10-17, 03:51 PM
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Taurus SC is a fine product. We used a lot of Termidor but when it went off patent and the generics came out we switched to Taurus and never regretted it. The same thing happened with Monsanto’s Roundup. It went off patent and generics came out.

Some operators believe that they get better support from the companies that invented/marketed it first. I never noticed an issue or difference.
 
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Old 10-10-17, 04:06 PM
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That's good to hear. My calculations show I will need another container.
 
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Old 10-13-17, 06:09 PM
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The blue stake utility locate is complete. And after talking to water services engineering at City Hall, I know that service line and lateral sewer won't conflict with this job.

So I made a few test holes in the trench while I am waiting for the Taurus SC to be delivered. I made the holes maybe 5 inches from the foundation wall and then hit something solid. I dug down to the obstruction and attached the photo.

Is that the footing? Because if it is, I'm really surprised. I thought footings were much deeper underground. That concrete structure is only 21.5 inches below the bottom of stucco wall. Let me know if I should attach the photo to another forum category since this is the termite section.

I guess I should make my termite holes further from the foundation wall......correct?
 
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Old 10-14-17, 05:39 AM
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Youre treating in the right place. You want to treat the soil against the foundation down to the footer. In theory you want a continuous chemical barrier against the foundation though in practice it is rarely achieved 100%. Non-repellent termiticides which is what you’re using are forgiving in that respect.
 
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Old 10-14-17, 08:43 AM
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Ok. Thanks.........as long as don't think I should make the holes just outside the footer edge.
 
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Old 10-14-17, 12:01 PM
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By the way........................is it ok to apply the termiticide in October? It's still warm here in Phoenix. I don't know if termites are active all year.
 
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Old 10-16-17, 04:31 PM
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Ok. I finished pouring the Fipronil onto the trench, fill dirt, rod holes and foundation wall. I also sprayed some into the bath trap void. Trench is filled back in. Now I have to drill through the concrete pads. I'll have to give this part some more thought.
 
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Old 10-18-17, 03:58 PM
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I’m back. You’re doing well. Termite work is at the more serious end of the DIY spectrum.
 
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Old 10-18-17, 06:38 PM
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You know it Bugster, The worst part of this project is done as the trenching tasks are hard work.

Someone suggested on another forum that the concrete drilling might not be good for the slabs or pads. Could it weaken the surrounding concrete causing it to crack or break? I'm mainly concerned about the garage slab. I posted a photo and question on the plumbing piping forum. Don't want to cause another duplicate forum post.
 

Last edited by bluesbreaker; 10-18-17 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 10-19-17, 06:41 AM
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Slab drilling is typically 6” to 8” out from foundation with holes spaced about 16” apart. If your soil is sandy then you may want to go 12” apart. Holes are 1/2” to 5/8” in diameter but then we are using pressure eqpt which seals/injects into the holes. If you will be relying on gravity flow the holes may need to be larger in diameter though I don’t really know for sure as I never did that. It’s all going to depend on the substrate below the slab. Once we established where not to drill because of underground utilities and such, we liked to run the drill at least 6” below the slab to give some space.

Another strategy is to not drill the slabs unless you’re confident that termites are underneath the slabs. Using non-repellents such as the fiipronil based products can provide control anyway but realize that you are taking a chance.

How much linear feet is the ext perimeter of the house and how much of that is where slabs abut the foundation?
 
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Old 10-19-17, 04:22 PM
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The linear feet for the outside perimeter is 178 feet. And the linear feet of the concrete pads and garage floor slab is 46 feet. The soil around my house is hard and dry desert type. No sand

The garage floor slab and one of the pads each have a joint with expansion board. I don't know if dirt or concrete is under the boards.

There was one short, single mud tube coming out of the expansion board in the garage.
 
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Old 12-04-17, 12:04 PM
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I'll consider this discussion closed then. When I decide to do the concrete hole drilling, I'll know what to do. Thanks.
 
 

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