Signs of Termites

Unlike many pest infestations – such as crickets or spiders or scorpions – termites can go undetected for months or even years because they are often hidden behind drywall, plaster, plumbing, cabinets, and other materials that make up your home. Here are some signs of termite infestation that homeowners and commercial building owners should be aware of:

  • termite tube on foundation in Phoenix Arizona
  • termite tube on foundation in Phoenix Arizona
  • termite found on foundation in Phoenix Arizona

Termite Tubes

Subterranean termites are social insects that live in underground colonies. In order to search for food, they build hundreds of tunnels that branch out randomly from the colony. Once they find a food source – such as your home or building – they lead other termites to the structure.

Because subterranean termites need moisture to survive, they build tubes known as mud tubes, exit tubes or shelter tubes that basically act as protective termite tunnels when they’re not underground. Mud tubes are usually brown and are usually about the same diameter as a pencil. These tubes are often the first sign of a termite infestation. Check for mud tubes near:

  • Utility boxes and service boxes where plumbing or electricity enters a home.
  • Around the foundation.
  • On exterior walls, especially exterior stem walls. (Stem walls are the structures that join a building’s foundation to the vertical walls that are built on the foundation.)

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Termites in Ceiling

If you see termites tubes coming from a hole in your ceiling, you should call an exterminator immediately. Termites that are living in and feeding on your walls or ceilings often break through the drywall or wood, and drywood termites even create holes, known as “kickout holes” through which they dispose of their fecal matter and force out waste. Termites sometimes even fall through these holes. If you find a hole in your ceiling or wall, check for small piles of termite feces beneath or near the hole. Fecal pellets are usually very small and look similar to coffee grounds or pepper, although they can be different colors. Clean up the fecal matter near the hole and check for more fecal matter every day. Blue Sky can identify drywood fecal pellets. Subterranean termites do not have fecal leftovers because they use their fecal matter to help them make their mud tubes.


One sure sign of an infestation is termites coming from a home or building’s floors, but the next surest sign is damage to floors or floor beams. Floors are especially susceptible to subterranean termites simply because they are nearest to the termites’ home, which is underground. Check the floors for any raised or split areas, which can indicate damaged wood, and check baseboards and wood floors for maze-like tunnels. Also, check any swollen or warped spots on floors that seem like water damage because termite damage often looks similar to water damage. If you are not sure what you may have, give Blue Sky a call. We are happy to inspect the area to determine if there is an infestation.


Bathrooms are very attractive to termites because of the constant moisture and humidity, but infestations in bathrooms can be extremely difficult to detect because any evidence of termites is shielded behind tiles and tubs. Some signs of termite damage could include:

  • Small holes in drywall or plaster
  • Mud tubes
  • Hollow-sounding baseboards or walls

If you’d like a termite inspection in the Phoenix area, click here to get your free quote or give us a call at (480) 841-9218. We serve the entire Phoenix area including Gilbert, Scottsdale, Mesa, and more. 

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