Asked October 8, 2018, 3:40 PM EDT

I came home to find termites having eaten a small hole in my second floor ceiling and leaving a one inch long mud tube hanging down. I researched them and have had four separate technicians inspect my house and the area where the small was made. Additionally, my house was treated for termites just over a year ago. All four inspectors said that there was no other evidence in the house of termites except for this small hole, and that it was odd that they were all the way on the second floor with no evidence elsewhere in the structure in lower floors. Then all four recommended different treatment, Retreating the ground with liquid, Sentricon box on the ceiling, foaming the walls, cutting into the walls to see entire damage. I am not sure what is the best course given that the house was treated just over year ago. I am wondering if there are other forms of termites that might cause this other than subterranean? All of them seemed set on that fact, but they are on my second floor ceiling. Any help or suggestions or resources would be beneficial. Thanks,

Baltimore Maryland

3 Responses

Maryland only has the native subterranean termites.

We're assuming that your and/or the inspectors found termites active in the tubes? If not, then you may want to use the baits to be sure that the infestation is active and not left over damage that occurred before the treatment was done.

Please read through our termite information by using our website search and follow any links.

We need to know what kind of treatment was done last time. What chemical was used and where and how applied. Was there a guarantee? Was there a circumstance that attracted them in the first place (e.g. wood touching soil)? Was it corrected?

In order for a small colony of termites to exist on the second floor, cut off from the soil and the crucial moisture in the soil that termites need, the termites would need to have another moisture source--like leaking water pipes. Do you know where they would get moisture?
Or, they could be behind walls and have tunnels constructed all the way down to the soil.

Any of the approaches might do the trick, but it's difficult to know without knowing where they are coming from and where they are in the house.


Thank you for your thoughts.

Some answers to the questions you posed.

The treatment that was done was the liquid ground drilling around the perimeter of the house, and the company used the chemical Altriset. This was performed in July of 2017, so just over a year ago. There was a guarantee for one year, but I found the hole eaten through my ceiling at the beginning of September this year. When I contacted the company that had originally performed the treatment, they said that I had "technically" been out of warranty and would need to pay again despite the fact that the colony was obviously still active and had not eaten through my ceiling in a month.

The hole and the small tube hanging down from it were new and not remnants of old damage, though after I broke the tube off, there was not another built, no did I see any live termites come out of the hole. There was a dried exoskeleton in the tube.

There is no wood or water source that I know of where the are on the ceiling, though I have not yet cut into the walls and ceiling. I am wondering if that would be beneficial to do before having any further treatment done.

The odd part that all of the inspectors mentioned is that if they are climbing all the way up to the second floor, there would likely be other evidence, though there doesn't seem to be any, nor any evidence of water or wood that might attract them.

Termites come up through slab cracks, within walls, so it is not so odd that they could remain unseen. However, they still need to be moving in and out of the soil--moist soil--so that should have been handled by the perimeter application. Unless moisture is getting under the house. Maybe this is related to our very wet year.

It seems that retreating without knowing where the termites are coming in, why, or how, is a shot in the dark. Some well placed cuts should be helpful.

Termite control is art and science, i.e. experience is very important. Contact some termite control companies with many years of experience to take a look at this. Have them send out their most experienced inspector.

Here is the materials fact sheet for Altriset, if you have not seen it. It explains how the chemical should be applied and how much should be applied. It could give you some insights:

If a cause is pinpointed, we would be curious to know what you find, if you would care to share it with us.