Termite Excrement or “Frass”
Mysterious piles of pellets are indicative of drywood termite presence. These piles could be drywood termite droppings known as frass.
Drywood termites typically leave few signs of activity in homes. When two drywood termites establish a small nest in wood, they seal the hole they used to enter the wood and do not leave the nest. Besides swarmers that need to exit the nest to start new colonies, drywood termites can find all of the conditions they need inside the wood – including food, water, shelter and an optimal temperature.
The only condition drywood termites do not have inside their nest is unlimited space. As termites consume wood, they create kick out holes that are used to push frass (termite droppings or pellets) out of the nest.
What Do Termite Pellets Look Like?
Drywood termite pellets are tiny, oval-shaped capsules with six concave sides and rounded ends. These pellets, which are about 1 millimeter in length, can form small mounds beneath kick out holes. The mounds may look like small piles of salt or pepper.
Drywood frass can be different colors, depending of the color of the wood termites have been eating, but all drywood droppings are six-sided.
When drywood termites clean their nests, they push their fecal pellets (remnants of digested wood) out through kick out holes in the wood. You may find little mounds of pellet-shaped droppings directly underneath the kick out holes (also called exit holes).
Subterranean termites generally do not leave behind visible droppings. The first sign of a termite infestation may be wormlike mud tunnels that run up walls or foundations. Subterranean termites use their droppings in the construction of tunnels and mud tubes, so their droppings cannot be distinguished from the nest.
Because drywood and dampwood termites live entirely inside the wood on which they feed, you likely will not see signs of their presence, unless you see a swarm or droppings underneath damaged wood.
In the event of any signs of termites, contact a termite control professional to discuss treatment options.
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