Termite frass identification is an effective clue to detect drywood termite infestation

Little round excrements are obvious mark of termite infestation.

But actually we are going to describe drywood termite frass. Only these types of wood-eating insects kick fecals out of their nests.

Piles of little balls, larger than sand are always present in houses with termite infestation. But hardly every house owner knows how to distinguish drywood frass from sawdust or even soil. More often, people just sweep the floor and throw this vitally important sign out. Meanwhile, awareness about the excrements can help them to avoid huge wastes as termite poop appears on the early stage of infestation.

Termite frass and drywood termite infestation

drywood termite picture
Drywood termites are nearly invisible and therefore dangerous.

Termite pellets are a combination of processed timber and special bacteria that live in termite intestine and digest the main component of wood – cellulose. The part of digested cellulose is comparatively high – about 95%. The other structural ingredient of wood is lignin, which provides termites with sticking functions of their frass. Bacteria that inhabit termites’ bodies also produce necessary substances and vitamins without which the insects couldn’t live. Termites lose such profitable symbioses during every molt. To increase the number of the microorganisms, termites eat special liquid, released by other termites. This liquid contains necessary bacteria, without which termites wouldn’t survive.

In the wild the insects use their poop mixed with saliva as a building material. In the conditions of humans’ houses, termites don’t need them so much. Consequently, termites pull fecals out though tiny holes, made by them in the timber.

Another type of termites – subterranean – use their droppings for creating tubes. These termites require high moisture shelter and that is why prefer to make colonies in the soil. But their food is more frequently found above the ground. So, subterranean termites have to build tunnels to reach their food having no contact with the outside place. That is dangerous for them.

What does termite frass look like?

Termite’s dropping has differences from ant’s fecals of even common sand.

drywood termite frass
Termites frass is a bit lengthened and has round ends.
  • It has round or deflated ball’s form.
  • The frass is about 1 mm in diameter
  • The colour of fecals coincides with the colour of the wood they eat. But sometimes there can be darker or lighter “balls” as compared as main colour.
  • The frass much resembles salt or pepper.
  • It is piled under the exit holes. But if the homeowner has infestation high above the floor, or in the ceiling, termites’ poops are less visible as they are sprinkled throughout the flooring.

Ants’ frass looks like pure dust. The carpenter ants as well as termites settle in the wood, but use it exclusively as a shelter, where they drill tunnels. But they aren’t capable to eat wood as their digestive system gives opportunity to live on different kinds of food. Cellulose is uneatable for carpenter ants.

So, every housekeeper should be aware of different between termites and ants’ frass as the knowledge can save their house from further destruction and their budget from significant wastes.

Every detection of termites’ presence also includes:

  • Lost wings, which are equally sized, allowing termites reproductive to leave old nest and try to organise a new colony. The number of swarmers is usually rather high. That is why it isn’t a challenging task to observe them.
  • Specific sound of eaten –out timber. Having found frass, the homeowner will definitely exit holes. Next step is to arm with a screwdriver and tap on the surfaces nearby the holes. Hollow places will be easily heard.
  • Pick the place with something hard if it is possible. In case of wood-damage insects present, you will face holes and tunnels that are also typical marks of the problem.

Typical location of termite excrements

termite poop images
They can be found practically everywhere around the house, including the attics and cellar.

You are lucky if you have identified termites’ poop on the early stage of infestation. In general, termites can make kick out exits everywhere around the house either inside or outside the construction’s perimeter. But very often the droppings are located on the window-sills, near the door, in the basements, in the bathrooms, in wood porches and other places.

Drywood termites sometimes infest attics, making holes in the ceiling. In this case, the frass won’t be in piles and therefore, in will be harder to be found.

Nevertheless, knowing important information about termite droppings, it will be easier for any housekeeper to spot them. The clue is to keep an eye upon every suspected detail. Never throw away so called garbage if it has resemblance with frass. Compare it with photos of termite frass.

But if you still aren’t sure whether you deal with the termite poop, gather some exemplars into a plastic zip bag and contact Pests Companies that will make free inspection about the house and quickly detect the problem of termites’ infestation.

Comments 1

  • I will have, to be honest and say that I am not going to be able to detect a termite infestation by looking at the wood. If I saw frass I would definitely call the termite service to get them removed immediately. I wish there was a way you could detect them the second they tried to nest in the house.

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