Termite Fecal Pellets (What they look like and what you should do)


Termite fecal pellets are a definite indication that termites are at work on your property. Learning how to identify these droppings can help you spot and resolve an infestation before structural damages become widespread.

It is also important to note that termite feces can have a significant impact on human health. Thus, finding termite feces is always a reason for quick action.

Table of Contents

  1. What Termite Fecal Pellets Look Like
  2. Termite Fecal Pellets Can Exacerbate Asthma And Allergies
  3. What To Do When You Spot Termite Fecal Pellets In Your Home
  4. Other Forms Of Termite Evidence
  5. Termite Inspections

What Termite Fecal Pellets Look Like

The most common signs of a termite infestation are the worm-like, mud tunnels that these insects create around foundations and up the interior or exterior walls of a building structure. While these bugs are attracted to wood, they are especially fond of damp wood, which is usually found in low-lying, sealed-off areas such as in basements.

Apart from mud tunnels, another common sign that termites are busy at work on a building structure is termite fecal pellets. These pellets are also known as frass and they can vary in appearance from one species of termite to the next. Termite frass is also likely to vary in color across all species of termites, depending upon the color of wood that is being consumed.

In spite of these relatively minor variations, however, there are several aspects of frass that remain the same. Foremost among these is the fact that termite stools are consistently six-sided. Moreover, rather than being distributed in random trails around the affected area, frass is commonly found in large, easy-to-spot deposits or piles. A mound of frass is likely to be found in any area of the home that is heavily infested with termites.

Frass from drywood termites is six-sided and dry, whereas termite fecal pellets from subterranean termites will be six-sided but stickier and tackier. Moreover, subterranean frass is often incorporated into mud tubes and galleries and thus, more difficult to identify. Drywood termite fecal pellets are quite small and, at first glance, may look similar in texture and size to coffee grounds.

Termite Fecal Pellets Can Exacerbate Asthma And Allergies

Termite feces is not known to cause serious illness in humans. It can, however, exacerbate many chronic, respiratory ailments. For instance, those who suffer for asthma and allergies often find that termite fecal pellets can be triggers for attacks. People who suffer from COPD may be prone to additional lung irritation as well.

Home heating and cooling units that rely on air duct and venting systems can expose home residents to the dust and other particulates that come from termite nests and termites themselves.

Respiratory conditions can additionally be exacerbated by debris from termite nests, particularly the feces, wings, and saliva that these nests often contain.

What To Do When You Spot Termite Fecal Pellets In Your Home

When termite frass is found in a home, this often an indication that structural damage is already extensive and thus, an aggressive and rapid solution is required. Fortunately, homeowner can use piles of frass to not only identify the presence of a termite infestation, but to target its location. Termite inspectors are skilled in deriving useful insights from frass piles including the likely location of the termite infestation, they type of wood they ate recently, and sometimes how recently the termites kicked their frass out of a pin hole. 

When frass is visible, working with pest control professionals is recommended given that this is the fastest and surest way to implement a strategic and multi-pronged plan that is in line with the nature of the property, the type of infestation that is experienced and the need for both an immediate solution and long-term management and prevention.

Rather than removing piles of termite fecal pellets, homeowners can leave these in place for pest control professionals to assess the problem. There is a lot of helpful information that these providers can glean from both the location and appearance of frass.

It is also important to note that termites do not have any natural defenses against predators and thus, when they are disturbed, they will simply move and resettle to a new location. Upsetting a colony without first implementing an appropriate treatment will usually make further efforts to resolve the problem more time-consuming.

Other Forms Of Termite Evidence

Piles of termite frass and visible, worm-like mud holes are hardly the only signs that termites are present in your home. Other visible signs that confirm the existence of a termite infestation include:

  • Deposits of thin, silvery wings that look like miniature fish scales around and in the property, which termites commonly shed after swarming
  • Sagging walls, floors or ceilings due to excessive termite damage
  • Evidence of mazes, chambers and tunneling within the walls
  • Signs of tunneling around the foundation can indicate the presence of subterranean termites

Other, less obvious signs of termite infestations include a notable decrease in indoor air quality due to excessive particulates from termite nests, termite frass, and the insects themselves. This change is commonly noted by increased allergies and asthmatic episodes. Collections of termite wings and frass can also be spotted in HVAC ductwork and vents.

Termite Inspections

Comprehensive termite inspections should be ordered at the first sign of termite fecal pellets. This will prevent the disruption of the colony and give pest control professionals the best opportunity to determine the exact location and type of the infestation. While there are numerous store-bought products that consumers can use to self-treat these issues, collections of fecal pellets indicate an aggressive termite population and extensive damage. 

This means that there is little time for homeowners to engage in trial and error treatment methods that may or may not produce desirable and long-lasting results. It is also important to note that professional efforts to treat an aggressive termite population will invariably improve indoor air quality, which can be vital for those with chronic, respiratory conditions.

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