Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Bob Hucker's Avatar
    Bob Hucker Guest

    Question What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    The first picture shows a mud tunnel made by termites or maybe fire ants, which are common here in the Austin area, or maybe something else. The tunnel goes to a PVC drain pipe for the water heater pan.

    The second picture shows an ant hill a few feet away, which I assume has fire ants but am not sure about.

    Do bugs other than termites make tunnels like this? If so, are they destructive? Do you have suggestions for controlling these pests?

    tunnel.jpganthill.jpg

    Member Benefits1

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    That looks more like an ant shelter tube to me.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hucker View Post
    The first picture shows a mud tunnel made by termites or maybe fire ants, which are common here in the Austin area, or maybe something else. The tunnel goes to a PVC drain pipe for the water heater pan.

    The second picture shows an ant hill a few feet away, which I assume has fire ants but am not sure about.

    Do bugs other than termites make tunnels like this? If so, are they destructive? Do you have suggestions for controlling these pests?

    tunnel.jpganthill.jpg
    I'm not a pest control expert but my go to guy says that the only redeeming quality of fire ants is that they kill termites. Quite often fire ants will move in to a termite colony and kill of the residents. So you may have termite tubes with fire ants there. My guy says fire ants always win this battle.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  4. #4
    Bob Hucker's Avatar
    Bob Hucker Guest

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I'm not a pest control expert but my go to guy says that the only redeeming quality of fire ants is that they kill termites. Quite often fire ants will move in to a termite colony and kill of the residents. So you may have termite tubes with fire ants there. My guy says fire ants always win this battle.
    How should I determine whether I have ants or termites? Try to capture them when I scrape the tunnel off the wall?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hucker View Post
    How should I determine whether I have ants or termites? Try to capture them when I scrape the tunnel off the wall?
    Of course, get a pest control professional to take a look.

    But in the mean time, break the tube open, (without destroying the whole thing) just a small section all the way across so you can see the the inner passages. You should be able to see the termites inside if it is active. Also if it is an active termite tube they should rebuild the tube in short order. Lots of photos available to identify the differences between termites and ants.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Rob: I am in agreement with the information Jim has provided. Based upon the loose form and size of the tunnel, I tend to think the tunnel is a fire ant tunnel and not termites, but once you break the tunnel you will be able to tell quickly, if the tunnel is active. The termites workers will be small and white and since they are about 80% water, any lite or exposure has them running for cover. If they were fire ants we know they would be running to you to attack you. Termites are like candy to fire ants so when you see fire ant mounds close to the foundation like that become very suspicious that termites could be there as well. Not always, but good possibility. I recently had a house with at least four fire ant tunnels up the side of the foundation and one even went into the garage..... but no termites to be found. I was sure we were going to find termites, but we did not.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Subterranean termites are soft bodied insects that cannot survive outside of a shelter tube..(except swarmers during the rainy season). That's my 2 cents.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Massacusetts
    Posts
    149

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    If they were fire ants we know they would be running to you to attack you.


    I don't want to be you uncovering the fire ants , - you will know really quick if they are fire ants. But Education doesn't come cheap

    If you want to get rid of them , call in someone who deals with fire ants , from what I understand the bit(s) really hurt and remember there many more of them than there is of you.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Doane View Post
    If they were fire ants we know they would be running to you to attack you.


    I don't want to be you uncovering the fire ants , - you will know really quick if they are fire ants. But Education doesn't come cheap

    If you want to get rid of them , call in someone who deals with fire ants , from what I understand the bit(s) really hurt and remember there many more of them than there is of you.
    Let's not make them out to be space aliens. They will leave you alone unless you poke a stick in their mound. We have lots of them down here, rarely get bit, and while it stings some, it doesn't send you to the ER...


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
    Posts
    4,086

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Doane View Post
    If they were fire ants we know they would be running to you to attack you.


    I don't want to be you uncovering the fire ants , - you will know really quick if they are fire ants. But Education doesn't come cheap

    If you want to get rid of them , call in someone who deals with fire ants , from what I understand the bit(s) really hurt and remember there many more of them than there is of you.
    IIRC of fire ants (red) its not a 'bite' that bothers one, its a Sting - from the lower section, that irritates. Not a crisis, unless one is particularly sensitive or allergic.

    In the south, south east, and southwest everyone pretty much "deals" with them, at one pont or another in life, Mr. "Boston".


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    while it stings some, it doesn't send you to the ER...
    Some people are very allergic / go into shock ( my Brother being one.) Clorox helps some of these.
    ** taken from web

    **Yes, I use bleach and it's literally been a life saver for me. I'm deathly allergic to ants. I go into anaphylactic shock which can cause death by suffocation within minutes. If I'm at home when I get a bite, I apply a cotton ball soaked in bleach and it prevents an allergic reaction. It's a whole lot easier than rushing to the ER or injecting epinephrine and Benadryl and then sleeping it off for the next 12-18 hours.

    Disclaimer: This may not work for everyone. If you're allergic to ants, be sure to keep epinephrine & Benadryl around just in case

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Bob, as a TREC inspector, you can't even mention the word "termite" without a termite technician's license. Before I got my tech license, I used to take my clients into a closet away from prying eyes and talk termite. After I got my license, I came out of the closet.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    That looks more like an ant shelter tube to me.
    Break the tube open and if there is anything active in the tube they will come out. If the tube is not currently active, break more of the tube down to the base. If the tube disappears into just hard dirt or mud, it is probably termites. If the base divides into lots of little holes or tunnels and the dirt is fairly soft then it is fire ants. To see what I mean, go to a fire ant mound and knock a little dirt off the top and you will see lots of little tubes and the dirt is soft. If the ants are active they will come out by the hundreds. That's when you just back off and leave them alone.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Come on, ya can't tell me you didn't poke it with a stick! That is just a natural impulse for guys!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: What made this tunnel? Termites, fire ants or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Come on, ya can't tell me you didn't poke it with a stick! That is just a natural impulse for guys!
    Stick? I don't need no stinkin' stick!


Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •