Termites’ jaws are strong enough to chew through material most people don’t assume they would. During termite swarmer seasons, flying termites often find tiny cracks into peoples homes. A quick, temporariy fix many folks try to seal of these tiny termite entry points is put duct tape over the cracks. Termites can chew through duct tape because it’s scrim cloth is made of cotton (which contains cellulose).
Ideally, after swarming season, it’d be better to caulk any cracks or holes you find termites coming through. This should stop them next year because termites won’t chew through silicone caulk.
Can you put tape over a termite hole or will they eat through it?
If you find termite swarmers emerging from tiny holes in your house, you can tape them to stop the winged termites from getting all over your house.
But, don’t assume that would address the problem. Termite swarmers (alates) are reproductively mature termites. Finding termite alates in your home is indicative of an established termite infestation, meaning they may have been damaging your wood for several years.
If you put tape over a termite ‘kick-out’ hole (the tiny pin-sized holes that drywood termites kick their droppings out of), again, you might prevent temporarily termite frass piles from accumulating on your flood, however, you’re not addressing the root cause. You’d just be temporarily blocking the drywood termites from cleaning out their galleries (hollowed-out wood).
You might even make things worse.
Beyond duct tape not being very effective at keeping termite swarmers from exiting their holes, blocking termite holes during swarmer season could make them more desparate to escape. They might then tunnel out new holes, just exasperating the damage to your home.
It’s better to tape a plastic bag around the holes that the termite swarmers are flying out of. You can vaccume up termite swarmers and their discarded wings too. Whatever you do, make sure you contact a pest control professional because termite swarmers emerging from holes in your home means you have a mature termite colony in or under your home (in the case of subterranean termites).
Using duct tape to hide termite damage
Some dishonest folks and even scam termite companies will sometimes try to use duct tape to hide termite damged wood. Keep an eye out for this if you’re looking to buy a home. One way to prevent getting into such a situation is to ensure you hire a reliable, thorough pest control professional to conduct your pre-purchase home inspection for wood destroying organisms (WDOs).