How to Identify Termite Droppings

How to Identify Termite Droppings

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Referring to termites as white ants, the only thing they have in common is their appearance. They are nothing alike. Ants are social insects that live in colonies and they all work together to benefit the colony. Termites, on the other hand, create nests so that another can come along and move into it.

So how do you identify termite droppings? When you happen to find several piles of tiny grains or pellets, chances are there is a hidden infestation nearby. You might want to get rid of any furniture and check for any damage right away!


What is Frass?

Termites excrete frass or fecal pellets. Frass consists of chewed wood, soil, and termite droppings (feces). Although they look like grains of rice, you can identify termite droppings by their size, shape, and color. For specificity, termites leave brown droppings that are small in size and oval-shaped.

The presence of droppings in a particular area could point out that there are termites nesting inside your home. When you notice little white balls or frass around the edge where it meets its comparative wall, this is an indication of infestation on either side.

The outside surface may have damage from these insects as they hammer away at wood with narrow crevices for sneaking underneath is not safe yet! Investigate where all these pellets land before assessing any damage done so far.


What Do Termite Droppings Look Like?

Termite droppings can look similar to those of a mouse or rat. The difference here is the size – termite droppings are smaller and rounder compared to a creature with a larger body. Generally, they are around 2mm in size.

When you identify termite droppings, note the color and shape to look for them again but this time identify whether they are fresh or old. The older ones are dry and dusty while the newer ones will appear moist and shiny with a smooth surface. Lesions or tiny holes on wood could indicate an infestation of these insects.

Termites are microscopic insects that feed on wood and create droppings as a result. The type of termite depends upon the kind they eat – drywood, dampwoods, or subterranean.


How to Tell if Termite Droppings Are Old or New?

Termite droppings are moist in the beginning, so you can identify them by their shiny appearance. They turn darker when they dry up and become dull in color. Check for fresh pellets around damaged areas or near infested furniture.

A way to identify whether they are old or new is to pour water on the area where you see these pellets. When within seconds, all pellets disappear, it means that they are brand new ones. As some of them sink into the wood but some stay there, they are old termite droppings. You can identify whether mice eat termites or not by looking at the size of their droppings – mice will leave larger ones than termites do.


Ant Droppings vs Termite Droppings vs Saw Dust

Gain insights on how these three differ in appearance.

Visual Differences Between Termite Excrements (Frass) and Sawdust

Termite feces are similar to rice kernels. They measure 1/25 to 1/12 inch or 1 mm in length and resemble granulated sugar when moist. Sun-dried pellets that have a darker color and powdery consistency indicate that they are old.

Termites leave their excrements (feces) in piles near the part of the wood where they chew an entrance hole. But you can also identify these insects when their droppings appear around the edge of wood surfaces where adjacent rooms meet each other.

The shape of termite poop is different from sawdust. The pellets are more elongated and oval-shaped, which makes them look a lot cleaner than what you would see with wood shavings or pieces splintered into shards.


Termite Eggs or Droppings: How To Differentiate

At times, you can identify termite eggs by looking at them. But others will require a closer look under a microscope or with a magnifying glass. In general, termite eggs are black and oval while the other two have circular shapes. Fresh droppings from these insects are dark brown and shiny while old ones will appear dusty and light brown.

Unlike other insects, termites do not lay their eggs in places where you can easily see them. They instead hide these fragile creations deep underground or inside hard-to-reach crevices near the foundation of your house. It is never far away from an area so small that even one of these annoying creatures cannot see them.


Types of Termite Droppings (Frass) or Pellets

Learn more about two types of these that you can have at home or in your business. Here are they:

Drywood Termite Droppings

Termite droppings from this type identify the presence of these insects in wood. You can identify drywood termites by seeing piles of winged alates on window sills and door frames of wooden buildings. Termite wings measure 3/32 to 1/8 inches and identify characteristics of damage from these insects.

You can identify drywood termite frass from your home through their distinctive appearance. They appear as small pellets that measure about 1/30 or 1 mm in length and look like salt grains.

Frass from this type does not disintegrate when they get wet because the outer covering protects them from moisture. These insects live within moist wood where water provides a good environment for growth.


Subterranean Termite Droppings

Termites that feed on wood from the ground identify as subterranean. You can recognize these insects by looking at their droppings or frass on your property.

You may find piles of tiny black pellets near a moisture source such as a foundation wall, mulch pile, water meter box, and wooden building. These insects blend in easily with soil and walls where they live and feed upon cellulose materials around them.

To identify subterranean termite droppings, look at their size – about 1/25 or 1 mm in length and shiny when fresh. When dry, they turn into dark brown powdery particles that attach to everything you touch including people’s skin.


Which Other Insects Create Sawdust?

In the home, you will find various insects that create sawdust-like frass including:

– Fuller’s rose weevil larvae

– Pacific flatheaded borer

– House longhorn beetle

These creatures identify as wood borers and live between wooden surfaces such as planks and lumber inside wall voids. You can identify these insects by looking at their excrement. This includes black particles that appear as though they came from a pneumatic gun.

They measure 1/32 to 3/16 inches long and form small piles on windowsills and doorframes. This is where you see clusters of tiny holes along edges or on panels of wooden structures.


What Do I Do if I Find Termite Poop?

Gain insights on how to solve this scenario below.

How To Clean Up Termite Droppings

Cleaning these droppings as soon as you identify them on your property is important. Here are things to do:

– Remove all visible droppings from surfaces with a vacuum cleaner.

– Wipe the area clean using a mop and damp cloth.

– Discard items that you cannot clean by wiping with soapy water or a mixture of bleach and water.

– Clean the flooring as necessary by sanding down hardwood floors or stripping carpet padding. Afterward, use deodorizers to remove musty odors from mold growth in moist areas where termites reside.


Are Termite Droppings Dangerous?

Although they identify a presence of a pest infestation, termite droppings are not harmful to you. People identify no known medical effects or toxicity associated with these insects.

Nymphs lose legs as they molt several times while growing into adulthood. When their droppings appear dusty and light brown, they identify old ones that fell off the insects.

Piles of droppings identify that these insects are in your home or business. You can see them on wooden sills and doorframes, window sills, and edges of the flooring. This is where they feed upon cellulose materials inside walls and other enclosed spaces.


What are The Early Signs of Termites?

Identifying these insects is the first step to solving an infestation. You do so by looking at their droppings or frass on your property.

– Small piles of black pellets

– Shiny-looking when fresh and dry out to become dark brown particles

– Fresh droppings identify moist areas where they feed, including wet wood and soil around foundations, wall voids, water meter boxes, exterior wooden surfaces of buildings; damp mulch near wooden structures

– Frass attaches to anything you touch

Subterranean termites prefer damp environments near moisture sources such as foundation walls. Termites identify in trees with decayed heartwood that contains large amounts of fluid for food.



You identify termite infestations by looking for signs. This includes looking for sticky traps and monitoring devices hung inside walls where activity identify as a sign of a potential infestation.

The termite inspector will identify damage from subterranean termites that eat away into wooden structures inside wall voids or floors. He may recognize that the nest is nearby in the ground under concrete slabs or another moist location such as mulch near your home’s foundation.

The problem with termites is that you never know when they will enter your house until it is too late. They feed off of moisture, so when there are droppings left behind in the soil or on furniture, these pests could cause major damage!