Identifying Termite and Wasp mudding.

You're walking around your house and you see some new mud on the wall, how can you tell if this mud is from Termites or just some annoying wasps building their nursery on your wall?

How do you tell the difference between Termite mudding and a wasp nest?

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How to identify termite mudding.

We often get calls when people find some dust, debris or any fine material that appears out of places it probably shouldn't. Good news is, it's not always termites, but it's bad news when it is. How can you identify what it is?

Termites build mud shelter tubes to keep them nice and cozy and moist, they can't be exposed as they will dehydrate and die. So, keeping this in mind, you need to remember that you're looking for nice moist, tightly packed mud. If the termite activity isn't new, the mud may be quite dry and cracked, but it's normally quite dense and difficult to break off. Termites are great engineers, and they will build solid mud tubes that protect them from the outside world.

If you see any debris or something that isn't where it should be, give it a rub with your finger, if it's hard and doesn't break away easily then it could likely be termite mud!

Here are some pictorial examples of what to look for: 

The Termite mudding is clearly visible on this property on the Central Coast, that is, after you remove the paint!

The Termite mudding is clearly visible on this property on the Central Coast, that is, after you remove the paint!

Termite mud packed in between an engaged pier in a subfloor and a dwarf wall. The mud is packed in tightly and does not fall out easily!

Termite mud packed in between an engaged pier in a subfloor and a dwarf wall. The mud is packed in tightly and does not fall out easily!

This termite activity is quite obvious! However, subtle signs are also present. Notice the bubbling of the paint on the right hand side just below the mudding. This is a sign of significant activity jay below the surface, this is something we look for during inspections as well. This was on a property in Mangrove Mountain.

This termite activity is quite obvious! However, subtle signs are also present. Notice the bubbling of the paint on the right hand side just below the mudding. This is a sign of significant activity jay below the surface, this is something we look for during inspections as well. This was on a property in Mangrove Mountain.

Termite mud packed in behind this architrave is a dead giveaway. Although it may seem really obvious, sometimes the orientation of the door makes it hard to look at the doorway side on.

Termite mud packed in behind this architrave is a dead giveaway. Although it may seem really obvious, sometimes the orientation of the door makes it hard to look at the doorway side on.

Here is a deceptive example:

This appeared like evidence of termites at a distance initially, (it was  up on the top of a garage). Closer inspection revealed that it was just debris made up of dust, fluff and spiders webs. 

This appeared like evidence of termites at a distance initially, (it was  up on the top of a garage). Closer inspection revealed that it was just debris made up of dust, fluff and spiders webs. 

How ant capping keeps termites out of a building.

Ant Capping is designed to prevent undetected termite entry.

As with all termite management systems, they are primarily designed to force termites out in the open so they can be easily detected during an inspection, or to deter their entry. For these systems to work effectively, 2 conditions must be met:

  1. The physical barrier system needs to be complete, covering all entry points and forming a continuous barrier around the perimeter of the building.
  2. The property needs to be regularly inspected to ensure that the system is working correctly and there are no termites trying to infest the property.

Check the following photos that identify common problems with ant capping.

The termites have built a large mud shelter tube under this ant cap, but then you see them mysteriously appear in the timber above the ant cap! If this capping was a continuous barrier for the full width of the brick, they would have to build their mud shelter tube OVER the ant cap.

The termites have built a large mud shelter tube under this ant cap, but then you see them mysteriously appear in the timber above the ant cap! If this capping was a continuous barrier for the full width of the brick, they would have to build their mud shelter tube OVER the ant cap.

This explains why termites get in without being seen -  the ant capping does not cover the full width of the brick! This  does not  meet the Australian standard for termite protection.

This explains why termites get in without being seen -  the ant capping does not cover the full width of the brick! This does not meet the Australian standard for termite protection.

This ant capping was only partially existent, with an inspection edge that goes off into oblivion. It was not able to prevent the termites getting in a chewing out this frame.  

This ant capping was only partially existent, with an inspection edge that goes off into oblivion. It was not able to prevent the termites getting in a chewing out this frame.  

The ant cap on this wall ends up butting up to a timber frame, there's no inspection edge and no surprises the termites got in. 

The ant cap on this wall ends up butting up to a timber frame, there's no inspection edge and no surprises the termites got in. 

This is the most common failing of ant capping, failing to form a continuous barrier when there is a vertical transition, nothing is preventing the termites coming up between the two piers and into the lower bearer, and it would not be visible until it's too late.  

This is the most common failing of ant capping, failing to form a continuous barrier when there is a vertical transition, nothing is preventing the termites coming up between the two piers and into the lower bearer, and it would not be visible until it's too late.  

Ant capping - how does it work?

This ant capping actually did it's job, making sure the termites are visible.

This ant capping actually did it's job, making sure the termites are visible.

It's often thought that Ant capping will keep termites out of a building, unfortunately it doesn't quite work that way. Ant capping prevents termites entering undetected, rather than stopping them completely. This is why regular inspections are important, not checking ant capping regularly is like having a security camera that is never looked at, it's not going to be of any use unless it's actively used!

Read our detailed blog post on how ant capping here.

Read Posts on all things Ant Capping.

Extensive damage - often concealed!

Extensive termite workings, the termites made themselves right at home, then invited all their friends and family over for an all you can eat buffet....

Extensive termite workings, the termites made themselves right at home, then invited all their friends and family over for an all you can eat buffet....

Termites make themselves right at home in yours. This infestation was an extensive one, with large amounts of damage done to structural timbers on this house. Interestingly (or maybe not so much) the extent of the damage was only fully realised after the plaster board was removed and the frames visually inspected.