Termites Like Cracks
Subterranean and Formosan termite colonies are located deep underground. A colony tunnels through the soil about six inches below the turf looking for cellulose to consume. Often during this process, the termites run into slab foundations. Termites like cracks, especially foundation cracks which offer protection. If the perimeter of the home has not been properly treated to protect against termite infestation, they will build a mud tube on the exterior of the slab. When this happens the tube is usually very visible, as seen in this photo.
However, most slab foundations crack at some point, allowing termites hidden access to the home. Often the corners of a monolithic slab (the most common type of residential slab) will crack in a triangle shaped pattern. The crack is usually visible from above the soil, but it also goes below the soil. Many times, termites will access a home through these corner slab cracks, which means the termites’ mud tube cannot be seen. It’s hidden inside the crack. Termites can get through a crack as small as 1/64 inch wide! In the picture below the tunnel is not visible, but the home had a massive infestation of Formosan termites coming up through this crack.
The best way to treat a home like this one is to dig a trench around the base of the slab, making sure to dig down to the bottom of the crack, and treat the house with a fipronil based termiticide. Since this home was infested with Formosan termites, we went inside and used a moisture meter to locate the carton nest that was behind the sheetrock. We drilled the wall and injected an insecticide foam into the carton nest and the damaged areas surrounding it.
When it comes to protecting your home from a termite infestation, simply inspecting the exterior slab of your home is not adequate. Termites like cracks and will not hesitate to use them. A thorough termite treatment by a pest control professional is the only real way to protect your home from an infestation that could do major damage to your home.
Joe E. Arceneaux
Board Certified Entomologist