Termite Frass [an overlooked sign of termites you can spot]


Finding termite frass on your window sill or bed can be unsettling to even the most veteran homeowner—or at least it should be.

Many homeowners, however, do not know what termite droppings look like or what finding termite excrement in their home might mean about potential termite damage in their home.

We will address most questions you might have about termite pellets below, but if you have a question that is not answered, please ask it in the comment section at the end of this article, and we will respond to you soon.

If you know you have found termite frass in your home or outside your house around the foundation, you should contact a termite professional. You can answer a few questions here and get free, no obligation estimates from several companies.

Finding termite excrement on a window sill, porch, or elsewhere means you have (or had) termite activity. If you find termite droppings in or around your home, you need to figure out several things:

  1. How can I tell the difference between termite frass vs ant frass?
  2. (Assuming you found termite droppings.) How can I identify what type of termite droppings they are?
  3. How long has my house been infested with termites?
  4. How much damage have termites caused in your building?
  5. How do I get rid of these termites?
  6. How can I keep termites from damaging my property in the future?

Before your blood pressure rises too much, take a deep breath and learn more about what termite droppings in your home mean and what we can learn from finding them.

Termite droppings are a telltale sign of termite presence in a home, however, many homeowners overlook this vital clue to a hidden termite infestation. But you can spot termite droppings fairly easily if you know what to look for. If you have a specific question about termite droppings, check the table of contents below to skip to a certain section.

pile of drywood termite droppings and one "kick out" hole just above
a pile of drywood termite droppings on a dresser and one “kick out” hole just above
Contents show

Identifying Termite Poop

In this section, we’ll help you figure out how to identify termite droppings accurately. Termite poop can look similar to sawdust, wood shavings, and a few other types of insect droppings, but we’ll help you learn to distinguish the differences.

What does termite frass look like?

Termite frass is another name for termite droppings or excrement and is often confused with sawdust because of its similar appearance. Termite frass piles also look somewhat like piles of salt and pepper or like coffee grounds to other homeowners. This can be confusing. To add to the confusion, usually, when you find termite poop, you won’t see termites around.

Thankfully, though, once you know what to look for, inspecting for termite droppings is an easy way for homeowners to find signs of termite activity (without the help of a termite professional).

Why do I see termite droppings but no termites?

Termite fecal matter is a reliable sign of drywood termites because drywood termites periodically clean out their tunnels by pushing out their fecal matter, leaving small frass piles of black, brown, or sand-colored pellets. Drywood termites, however, tend to stay in the protection of their tunnels, which is why you see their frass but no termites.

Does termite poop look like sand?

A termite frass pile can look like sand, depending on what type of wood the termites recently ate. If the wood is a lighter color, frass piles will look a bit like sand. But if you look at termite frass carefully, you’ll notice the individual fecal pellets have an oblong shape, whereas grains of sand have more spherical shapes.

Do termite droppings look like coffee grounds?

Termite droppings can look a bit like coffee grounds when the termites recently ate darker woods; however, you can see the difference if you look closely—termite frass pellets are oblong-shaped, whereas coffee grounds have jagged, irregular shapes.

Okay, so you now know that termite-dropping piles can look like sawdust, salt, and pepper, sand, or coffee ground piles. Here are some more details about the appearance of termite poop.

Termite Droppings Size

Drywood termite frass pellets are approximately one millimeter (0.04 inches) in length and pellet shaped.

Termite Dropping Shape

Termite droppings have six concave sides that are typically not visible without a magnifying glass. Subterranean termites do not leave behind the little pellets that drywood termites do, instead using their droppings to form mud tubes, often found along foundations.

Termite Dropping Color

Termite droppings’ colors depend on the type of wood that termites recently consumed. You can find termite pellets that are nearly white, beige, slightly red, dark brown, or even black. 

An experienced termite control professional can use the color of termite droppings as a clue to hypothesize where the termite infestation is located (by guessing what type of wood they were eating). Because termite professionals can use these clues to help diagnose where the termite infestation is, it is usually best to leave piles of termite poop where you found them. If you need to clean them up before the termite professional arrives, at least snap a few detailed photos of them and show the termite pro where the droppings were located.

Is Termite Poop Hard?

Termite droppings are normally gritty and hard. They might, however, be a bit softer than normal if they’re fresh.

Do termites leave piles of frass behind?

Yes. When a termite tunnel becomes too filled with termite droppings, termites make “kick out” holes to conduct spring cleaning. They push out their frass through these kick-out holes, leaving a small pile.

Finding little piles of termite droppings is reliable evidence that there is a termite infestation in some lumber near the frass pile (usually in wood above or adjacent to the grass pile). It is not a welcome sight for property owners, but the saving grace is that finding a frass pile informs us there is likely an active termite infestation, and you can implement termite control measures before the termites create additional damage.

How do you get rid of termite frass?

You can sweep up or vacuum termite frass to get rid of it. If possible, it’s a good idea to leave the termite droppings where you found them to have a termite professional look at them. A professional can use termite droppings to clue them to where a termite infestation is likely to be.

If you feel that you need to get rid of them before the termite inspector comes, try to sweep the suspected termite pellets into a plastic bag so that you can show them to a termite inspector later on for verification.  

It is also a good idea to take a photo of where you found the frass pile to show the termite inspector later or to email to them. Additionally, remember where you cleaned up frass mounds if you did. If you find another frass pile in the same location a week or two later, there is 

Video showing drywood termite pellets falling out of a termite gallery

Finding Termite Frass Can Actually Save Your House

Most homeowners have no clue what “frass” is or why knowing what it is and what it looks like can save your house. Termite frass is simply the proper word for termite excrement or termite droppings.

Depending on the stage of a termite infestation, spotting frass can be one of the signs of termites that can lead to an early discovery of an infestation. While discovering an infestation is never good news, finding one early could help prevent significant damage to your home.

People often find termite droppings without realizing what they are looking at, often confusing termite droppings for sawdust. This is an understandable mistake, however, once you know what you are looking for, it is easy to distinguish termite droppings from sawdust.

What’s the Difference Between Termite Frass and Sawdust?

When you see termite poop for the first time, you are likely to confuse it for sawdust. Many people vacuum or sweep piles of termite droppings up, discarding them without thinking twice.

We want to prevent that from happening because you could be overlooking a serious problem!

The biggest difference between a pile of termite excrement and sawdust is the shape of the termite frass. If your site is not the best, you may need a magnifying glass to tell the difference, but termite droppings are slightly granular pellets, often varying in color.

Some termite droppings are a darker coffee color, while others may be a lighter color. Saw dust, on the other hand, will look more like tiny shavings and slivers than the typical 6-sided granular shape of termite frass. Additionally, sawdust tends to be mostly the same color.

Think you may have found termite droppings in your home? – Just fill out the info below and free quotes for professional termite services!

This guide compares drywood termite frass and carpenter ant frass. Carpenter ant frass closely resembles sawdust, whereas drywood frass pellets look almost like a deflated football or an oblong pea under magnification.

If you find termite droppings or carpenter ant frass in your home, I would recommend booking a professional pest inspection as soon as possible because either insect can damage your home if left untreated.

Inspecting for termite frass or termite droppings is one of the signs of termites that you can identify without the help of an exterminator.

Drywood termite droppings are often referred to as drywood frass. Drywood frass is the result of the tiny wood-colored pellets that termites knock loose from their tiny pin-sized holes as they burrow deeper into the lumber in your home. When termites accumulate droppings in their tunnels, they eventually push them out to conduct some housekeeping. Hopefully, you will notice their droppings if and when they do this. 

Termites typically remain undetected by humans and their predators by burrowing inside wood rather than eating it from the outside in.

This offers termites natural concealment and protection from animals that would eat them up if found in plain sight. All of this makes it quite difficult to spot termites unless you really know what you are looking for.

Thankfully, termites like good housekeeping within their colonies. Why is this good news for us? Well, they will sometimes eat a hole through the outside of the wood to push out their pile of fecal pellets, which is often the only visual sign that may lead you to notice their presence.

If you find anything that resembles pellets of wood-like material, you should compare it to the photos and videos in this article. Termite frass is usually a sign of a drywood termite infestation.

If they are pooping, then they are eating, and you should either do an initial inspection yourself or hire a professional to assess how far the termite infestation has spread, what damage has been done, and what the next steps should be in terms of treatment.

Seems like a lot to take care of? Don’t worry, most pest control professionals will perform an inspection for free with no strings attached. If you find one that does not offer a free termite inspection, I would steer clear of it.

Found potential excrement, but still unsure if it is frass?

Here are some additional signs of termites that you should look out for. If you find two or more signs of termites, then you likely have an active termite infestation. Discarded termite wings are another often overlooked clue of termite presence.

When termites reach the adult stage, they grow wings and eventually shed them. When the termites are in their flying stage of adulthood, they are often referred to as swarmers. After the swarmers land at their intended destination, they shed their wings. If their intended destination was somewhere within your home or structure then those wings should be visible somewhere.

Of course, these wings are small but if you know what you are looking for it is possible to detect them. They will be found in pairs of identical wings. Check on wooden floors, window sills, and spider webs in your house. If you have found frass and wings in an area you can do a quick test with a screwdriver to get a general idea if you have a problem area.

Take the end of the screwdriver (Phillips or standard) and tap along the wood around the area the wings or dropping were found. If the termites are inside the wood and have been eating away the cellulose for a considerable amount of time… there will be a hollow type of noise when you tap over the previously infested areas.

This sound will sound different from the sound of solid wood being tapped on. Again, this is only a quick field test, but when accompanied by other signs of termites, it is probably time to get a professional inspection done to assess the damage and then recommend treatment options.

Where Should I Look for Termite Droppings?

You can find termite frass anywhere, but many times, people notice termite frass sitting on a window sill or other locations blatantly out of place. This is because piles of termite droppings in such places catch the eye. 

Unfortunately, if frass is kicked out of a termite burrow in the ceiling or some other place, it can fall onto the floor (wooden or carpet), where the droppings are unlikely to be detected.

This is especially true for homeowners who have no clue what frass looks like.

But now that you know what termite droppings look like, you can be more confident in spotting this often ignored sign of termites sooner than most people.

Pay particular attention to these areas since finding termite droppings here is quite common:

  1. Window and door sills
  2. In and around wooden porches

If you ever find anything that looks like sawdust, stop and take a closer look. Do NOT sweep or vacuum up anything that might be termite poop.

Stop and ask yourself, “Why would there be saw dust here?” before you go into cleaning mode. If you quickly discard it you may be throwing away valuable clues.

At the very least, put it in a plastic zip lock baggy and you can always take it to a pest control professional at a later time. Also, keep note of where you found it and it would not hurt to snap a picture with your smartphone. You can usually email the photo to a termite control professional, and as long as the resolution in the photograph is high enough, they should be able to distinguish sawdust from termite droppings.

Termite frass on the floor

Termite droppings on the wood floor

Termite droppings on the tile floor

Termite droppings on the carpet

Video showing a pile of termite droppings on the carpet (notice how well the frass blends in with the carpet)

Termite frass on the window sill

Termite feces on the porch

Video of drywood termite droppings on a back porch

Termite droppings on bed

If you find termite droppings on your bed, there is a good chance that the termites are in your ceiling. Termites in ceilings will often make a small kick-out hole and push their pellets out (and down onto whatever lies below, in this case, your bed). 

But, you can also get termites in your bed frame (assuming you have a wooden bed frame). Termites can even eat cotton sheets or hemp sheets because they contain cellulose.

If you find termite droppings on your bed, it is possible that you either have termites in your bedframe or in your ceiling.

If you find termite droppings on your bed but find no termites when inspecting the bedframe, it is likely that they’re up your ceiling. If termites are in your bed frame, you should be able to spot a few termites crawling around on or around the frame if you visually inspect carefully.

Termite droppings under the bed

Termite frass under your bed indicates that you have termite activity above the floor but under your bed.

Most likely, they are in your bed frame (assuming you have a wooden bed frame and pushed their pellets from the portion of your bed frame that supports your mattress down unto the floor.

A termite exterminator shares a story about termites under a bedroom.

How to get rid of termites in your bed?

If you have termites in your bed or other wooden furniture, get a full home termite inspection to ensure they have not spread.
However, you can get rid of termites in your bed or furniture by performing a spot termite treatment.
To spot treat furniture for termites, drill small holes approximately every 10-inches in the termite-infested furniture.

You then inject termiticide in the holes and patch the holes with wood putty or glue. Eventually, termites will encounter or feed on the termiticide (depending on the type of insecticide) exterminating the termites inside your furniture.

It is best to have a professional spot treatment but if you do your own termite spot treatment, ensure you also inspect your entire home to make sure termites didn’t spread to other areas.

Can termites spread from furniture?

If you find termites in your furniture, get a complete termite home inspection done because Formosan and Drywood termites can easily spread from furniture to other areas in your home. Keep this in mind when buying used wooden furniture because you could accidentally bring termites into your home.

Below is a video of termite frass inside a nightstand. Luckily the homeowner noticed the termites and their feces and did not simply clean up the droppings without realizing he had a problem.

Video showing a nightstand infested with termites.

Termite droppings on wall

Drywood termite droppings won’t adhere to a wall but if you think you see termite droppings on your wall, you may be looking at termite mud tubes. You can learn more about termite mud tubes here, but they are tunnels that subterranean termites build to protect themselves while they traverse exposed areas (like walls or foundations).

Sometimes subterranean termite mud tubes will have little pellets (termite frass) mixed in with them.

Termite feces on the ceiling?

Video showing termite tubes hanging from the ceiling (these are usually from subterranean termites)

Do Subterranean Termites Leave Behind Droppings?

The equivalent of drywood frass for subterranean termites are mud tubes. Subterranean termite droppings are quite a bit different in appearance since their food differs from drywood termites’ food.

As their name suggests, drywood termites prefer dry wood. Consequently, their poop is dry and ends up looking like tiny coffee pellets (or sand or sawdust).

Subterranean Termite Frass

Subterranean termites on the other hand prefer decomposing wood that is already under the earth. They use mud to help them create their colony home and their fecal matter is more a liquid form.

You can often find subterranean termite tubes along house foundations, and sometimes up walls.

Black Termite Frass

Termite frass can be black. Black termite droppings do not hold any special significance other than that the termites who produced them consumed a darker-colored wood. 

Termite droppings on the ceiling

If you ever find a strange tube hanging from your ceiling, you might think that you’ve found termite poop hanging from the ceiling.

You have more likely found a subterranean termite tube, however. Finding a termite tube hanging from your ceiling is, unfortunately, a reliable signal that you have subterranean termites in your ceiling.

As with frass, it is best to leave termite tubes intact until an experienced termite inspector can take a look because they can gather clues from it.

After a termite pro takes a look, though, you can knock these tubes down and vacuum or sweep them up.

Termite tubes from the ceiling are often confused for termite droppings
Termite tube hanging from the ceiling (you can see the frass pellets attached to the outside of the tube)

Found Termite droppings, but no termites?

If you find a pile of termite droppings but no termites, we have an entire article here explaining what this can mean, but the least you need to know is do not assume that there are no termites around.

It’s likely that termite kicked out their pellets from a pinhole nearby, so look around where it seems most likely the frass pile appeared from.

If you find a small pin-sized hole in the wall or ceiling nearby, for example, it is likely you have termite activity in the wall or ceiling. If you find ‘kick out holes’ in the window frame and droppings on your window sills, you likely have termites infesting your window frame. The same holds for decks, sheds, etc.

Termite droppings & human health

Many people who find a termite dust pile (a colloquial name for termite frass) in their homes are concerned that the droppings pose a health risk.

This concern is understandable because some animal droppings, like mouse or raccoon droppings, can seriously harm humans because they spread diseases and parasites. Other bug droppings, like cockroach frass, can be a serious allergen to some people.

Though people’s concerns about termite dust health risks are understandable, you, thankfully, don’t need to worry about termite poop the same way you should about some pests’ droppings.

Video explaining whether termite dust can make you sick or not

Are Termite Droppings a Health Hazard?

Termite droppings are not directly harmful to humans. However, finding termite droppings in your home, could mean that your home’s structural integrity is compromised. So, termite droppings can signify an indirect hazard to human health (having a wall or roof cave in is dangerous).

Is termite frass dangerous to humans?

The only known harm that termite frass can directly cause humans is skin irritation. This is rare, however, since it is uncommon for humans to accidentally come into contact with termite droppings for a prolonged period. So, you normally don’t really need to worry about termite frass hurting you directly.

Is there a termite frass allergy?

There is no strong consensus on whether termite droppings cause allergies in people (beyond contact dermatitis), but Matison et al. hypothesize that termite mud tubes might expose people to allergens. Others have hypothesized that termite droppings that find their way into ventilation systems might expose people to allergens.

Some Termite 101

Termites are tiny insects that feed on cellulose. They play an important role in nature by helping speed along the decaying process of fallen trees to bring about room for new life. This useful role, however, can cause a home to crumble before its time as well.

Termites are very similar in appearance to ants except that termites only have 2 body parts whereas ants have three. This is the key difference between the two.

Fun Fact about Termite Poop – One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Magnesium Supplement?

Believe it or not, some African tribes actually utilize termite poop as a dietary supplement because of its high magnesium content.

Additional Resources to Learn about Termite Frass

  1. Comparison between Carpenter Ant and Termite Frass – Utah State University
  2. Great article describing different wood-boring insects’ frass – Clemson University
  3. Pest Board of California – Page 39 shows photos of Drywood Termite Frass
  4. Structural Pest Control – Control of Wood Destroying Pests by Nevada State Department of Agriculture

28 thoughts on “Termite Frass [an overlooked sign of termites you can spot]”

  1. Thanks for sharing this information with us. I found what I thought was sawdust on my porch a few years back and I was stumped about where it came from. I asked my son at the time if he had been cutting anything because at the time his father was teaching him to use a hand saw. I ended up cleaning it up and chalked it all up to being a mystery. That was in 2012. I just called a pest control company to come do an inspection, just to make sure. I also filled out the information to get some free pest quotes from some other companies. Really hoping I don’t have any termites!

  2. My wife found what looks like sand or the dirt from an ant hill in our pantry. On the other side of the pantry is our garage where I found more sand like stuff behind the water heater. I removed an inspection area in the bottom of the pantry and found a lot more of this substance and also where the water lines come up thru the slab. No visible termite damage there or in the attic. Guess I need to call an exterminator.

    • Rick, I would definitely call a termite inspector just to check it out. It is possible that it could be carpenter ants although they really leave behind wood shavings that look like saw-dust. If what you found is closer in appearance to grains of sands (granular, almost like a cube or at least somewhat symetrical) there is a good chance there are termites around. The fact that you found them around your water heater and water lines also makes me think there is a good chance you may be dealing with subterranean termites. A professional pest controller should be able to perform a more thorough inspection by looking for other signs of termites in your garage and the rest of your house and they can find infestations inside the lumber in your home with infrared cameras. I hope it’s just carpenter ants, they are usually easier to deal with, but just to be sure have a pro come and take a look. You can fill out a little info here and several companies will contact you. Or just check your yellow pages, and keep in mind that if they find something, it is best to get at least 3 quotes from different companies.

  3. I have discovered a pile identical to the picture in the exact same place twice in my child’s room. The first time was on move in day. Since the unit had just been remodeled I assumed it was left over grindings from refinishing the hardwood floors and cleaned it up. The pile was back 2 weeks later in the same spot. The landlord does not want to do anything. Is there a danger to us? How long does it take for structural integrity to be compromised? Is there anything I can do without spending a lot? She said tenting the house would cost $10k.

    • Justin, Really sorry to hear about your situation. Sounds like either your landlord may have withheld this information from you, or they didn’t know about it themselves but they should be getting a termite inspection done themselves at least once a year if they want to protect their property. As far as it damaging the structural integrity of your unit, that all depends on how long the termite colony has been there and how extensive their colony is within the home. You can perform a tap test as one way of performing a quick field test. Just take a screwdriver and tap it on the wood around where you found the pile. Also, keep in mind, sometimes the pile is originating from a wall or ceiling. Termites empty their pellets when their tunnels get full as a type of housekeeping. So look for the tiny pinhole somewhere and try the tap test that way. Your best though, is having a professional come out and perform an inspection. These should be free, it is only termite treatment that should ever cost you money, not the inspection. If a company tries to charge you for an inspection, find another one. Perhaps that free termite inspection could also give you an estimate of how long the infestation has been present. You could then take this professional estimation and I look into your legal rights as a tenant with pest problems. If they were there before you moved in, the landlord needs to take care of this problem in a timely manner. From what I know about termites, if you found the mile the first time on the move-in day, that sounds like the termites in your home have been there for a while because termites kick out their frass from the comfort of their tunnels after they become full of droppings to clear out some space. But you will also want to see if there are other signs of termite activity develop a better understanding for what you are dealing with. Remember, carpenter ants will leave behind wood shavings that look quite a bit like termite droppings, but termites droppings are granular when you look closely. Best of luck, and let me know what you find out from an inspection… I’m curious about this case.

  4. I just found a bunch of those wings in my room by the window sill and curtains. A bunch of them too, had to sweep them all up. Not sure what to do?

    • Hey Matt, thanks for sharing. The window sill is a common place to find discarded termite wings. Finding them typically means one of two things, either termite swarmers tried to enter your home or they tried to exit your home. I’m assuming from your description of finding them on the curtains as well that you found the wings inside your house? If that is the case I would have a professional come and conduct a thorough termite inspection. You can fill out a little info here to get free termite control quotes. Minimum, I would have a professional come and perform an inspection. Any reputable company will do this for free. Let me know what you find out, I’m interested to find out.

  5. I just moved into a new home that the inspectors told us had a history of termites in the outdoor kitchen cupboards that were successfully treated. Yesterday on the kitchen countertop under the cooker wooden hood I found an area covered in white equal sizes ?droppings? I collected them into a baggie and today I found another load. In the underside of the wooden cook top hood decoration there is a small hole in the corner. The droppings do not look as brown/tan as your pictures – they are creamy white – small, oval all one color. Could this be termites?

    • Rachael, based upon the fact that your home had a history of termites and you found these apparent droppings I would say there is a decent chance that these are termite droppings. Sometimes drywood termites droppings can be a lighter creamy color as you have described. Termite droppings are not always a dark or light brown. What state do you live in? I’m curious to see if it is a state that has drywood termites. Second question I have for you is if you have a magnifying glass, see if you can take a look at these droppings with it. Are they granular or completely oval shaped? If they are granular, and you found a small hole in the cook top hood decoration (likely a termite pinhole or kick out hole where they empty their tunnels of their droppings when performing housekeeping), it seems like you are dealing with termites. The next thing I would do right away is get or review the documentation from the home inspectors that performed this inspection. There may be some relevant details here about the type of termites that were found in your new home previously and what type of treatment was used on them. If it was just a spot treatment (where a specific location of a home is treated) then they may have missed the entire termite colony. If the home was fumigated (unlikely if the termites were only in the cupboards) then it would be unlikely that any termites would have remained. The next step is to gather this information, gather a picture of what the situation was previously and what actions were taken against the termite infestation, and contact a pest control company to request a free inspection. Most pest companies will inspect for free and then discuss prices for treatment. Share all the information you can find about previous termite activity and treatments because this will help them formulate a battle plan. Ask a minimum of three companies for a quote so you have a range of prices to help understand what companies might be asking too much. Local companies can often be cheaper but try to get some references for them (ask family, friends, neighbors, etc.) so you know if they are legit. National franchises can be more costly but often have better guarantees, tools, and equipment… but not always! You get free termite control quotes here, just fill out the info and a few companies will contact you. You can then look into them make an educated decision about what to do next. If there are still termites in your home after the inspector told you there were no more there, I believe you would have good grounds for making a legal case to seek reimbursement for any costs that additional termite treatment may cost you. Good luck Rachael and please let the rest of us here know what you find out! It could help other home owners or renters and we would all appreciate it!

  6. hi, I repeatedly found small amount of very fine light brown powdery stuff at the same step of my wooden stairs. There had been some flooding about a year ago in my place. Is this of concern?

    • Mozzie, this is something that should cause some further investigation. If you have magnifying glass, take a closer look at the light brown powdery stuff. Does it look like tiny cylindrical shapes? Termite droppings or usually in the shape of little cylinders. If it is termites there should be some type of termite pinhole around. These are tiny holes they bore through the surface of wood to “kick out” their frass in order to clean out their galleries. It is a bit like spring cleaning for them. If you find tiny holes to the side of above the piles of “powdery stuff” you are likely dealing with termites and should ask professional to come take a look and perform a deeper inspection. The other thing you may be observing is evidence of carpenter ants or carpenter bees (but these are less likely inside a home). Hope that helps, best of luck, and let us know what you find out! It helps everyone if you share what you are dealing with.

  7. We had termites in our hard wood flooring. All of the floor was ripped up and replaced with porcelain tile. Now 2 years later I just found a small pile of dropping in the same exact place where they were located in the hard wood. Can termites survive under my new tile flooring??

    • Angela, it is possible if the termite were not only located in your hardwood floor (which is likely). Termite found their way into your home some way in the first place meaning they either tunneled their way in from the ground (like subterranean termites do) or they may have entered your home through flying (drywood termites). There is likely structural timber beneath your hardwood flooring and termites may have remained underneath the hardwood flooring in the structural timber. Did you by chance have a professional conduct an inspection before you replaced the floor?

  8. Hello there your website is quite helpful thank you.
    I live in an independently owned apt bldg that is quite large.
    My apt has had termite problems before.
    I reported the new kick out hole and termite droppings to the manager who sent someout out to do an injection treatment that was no where near the kick out hole. Wondering if that is part of the correct pest control protocol? And the kick out hole appears untreated and uncovered is this a problem? Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you kindly,

    Ps this manager attempted to skimp on costs before regarding treatment for this problem the first time.

    • Kathy,

      I’m glad you find my website helpful, that is my goal. I didn’t really know much about termites when I bought my home and never bothered to learn about them until I found out I had no other option but to fork over a huge chunk of cash (at least for me) to get them out of my home and the structural components repaired because they had eaten enough of my structural timber that I had to get major repairs done.

      You are certainly not in a unique situation, many apartment-dwellers are uncertain about how to deal with termite problems since they do not own the apartment and unfortunately, as you mentioned has happened with your apartment manager in the past, the apartment managers or owners are either in the same position as I was several year ago, ignorant of how much damage termites can cause, or they understand the risk but are trying to gloss over the problem for other reasons. Unfortunately, you are caught in the middle and understandably want this problem taken care of because you live there.

      As far as the treatment the person came out and performed, this is known as localized or spot termite treatment. This can be effective if an infestation is limited to a small area like window trim, wood furniture outside, a wooden fence, etc. However, a pest professional first needs to conduct a thorough inspection of the entire home or apartment before deciding that this is the appropriate treatment. First of all, do you know if the person your manager sent was a licensed pest professional? Second, did you see him perform a thorough inspection? If they did, perhaps you can ask your property manager or landlord for a copy of the inspection and treatment paperwork.

      If not, your apartment manager is not adequately dealing with this. The fact that you had this problem before also is evidence that they are glossing over a potentially larger problem. If the first treatment was effective, they should not have to be back already (I’m assuming the previous treatment you mention was longer than 5-10 years ago).

      What you could do is request a professional termite inspection, which are typically free and obligation free, and pass on the written results/finding to your landlord. Termite infestations seriously devalue properties and it could be that the landlord is not aware of the issue.

      Send a written termite inspection report via certified mail to your landlord and property manager so you have record that they received it if there are legal problems down the road. If this does not get them to properly address the termite problem, your landlord probably is already facing financial issues otherwise they would get professional termite treatment ASAP. In this case, I would look into moving if you have wood furniture you care about.

      Make sure you take photos of the kick out holes and frass and any other signs of termite activity you identify in case any of your own property is damaged you have some proof it originated from the apartment.

      Hope that helps Kathy, and please come back a share with us what you find out. It can really help out other home owners and renters and apartment renters!

  9. You keep saying that the termite inspection should be free. We’re trying to refinance our home in St. Petersburg, Florida and the company charged $165.00. He said he found frass in the attic on top of the insulation. We have all pressure treated wood in roof structure. Do dry rot termites eat pressure treated wood. We have never found any evidence of termites, no wings, sawdust grass etc. What natural treatments are out there for dry rot termites? I would prefer natural methods if possible Our bank will never let us close unless we do . I truly don’t want to tent my house. Thanks.

    • Michele, I should clarify, a normal inspection to see wether or not you have termites (to determine if your home needs treatment or not) is typically free. However, if you are getting a termite inspection that is required by most states in order to sell, purchase, or refinance a home, then a pest company will typically charge for these because they must also produce a valid report for you to provide to the bank.

      Drywood termites can eat pressure treated wood but this is not typical until the wood has aged. There are different types of pressure treating and the time they are rated for varies but keep in mind that termites could still bore through brand new pressure treated wood, although it is not typical since they prefer rotted and aged wood.

      Is the only thing the termite inspector found was frass? It seems strange that he did not attempt to identify where the dropping came from? Did he by chance have a thermal camera? If he had a thermal camera, he would have been able to inspect the wood in your attic for heat signatures of an active colony. It seems that he should have searched for other signs besides the droppings the droppings. Did the report state anything else besides the frass?

      As far as natural treatments go, do not go that route until you have a better idea of the extent of termite activity in your home (if there is any). If his inspection revealed something other than just the frass and he knows the location of the termite infestation (a vital step in performing an inspection) then you can weigh your options.

      If the infestation is contained to one smaller area you can opt for a localized spot treatment which can be done with electro guns or orange oil injections (just beware orange oil is flammable so it is better for infestations outside like in a wooden fence or porch, etc.)

      Tenting is usually the most thorough method, and it can be done in a natural manner, but using heat instead of fumigants. Basically, for termite heat treatment, they would tent your house and instead of releasing pesticides, they heat the house up to a temperature that will kill the termites.

      Not all companies do this, so you may have some difficulty finding a company that does but when you call around or request for free quotes on the internet, ask them if they offer heat termite treatment and also ask them how they conduct their termite inspections.

      Those thermal imaging devices really work wonders, you may want to go with a company that has that capability. There are other methods of detecting termites, but thermal imaging is one of the best. Hope that helps you and please let us know what you find out! I hope you can get this issue resolved and refinance your home soon. Best of luck to you, Michele!

    • J. Morgan, I have honestly never tried that but I believe it would appear a reddish color because some termite droppings have a reddish-brown hue (depends on the type of wood, the chemicals in the wood, and the species of termite) so when you add light to it, I believe it is very likely that it would be a red color.

  10. Hi, I have found this information very useful and I think I got termites too, but my problem is that I am in Africa now and I don’t think and never heard of good or professional pest/termites inspectors. Is there any home remedy I could try to at least minimize this unwanted visitation?

    • Sure is Ella! It’s always best to have a professional deal with termites to make sure you get them all, but I understand your situation. It’s not always possible to find a professional, here’s an article we have about some home remedies for termites. Hope it helps and come back and let us know how it goes!

  11. I have found some piles of light brown, and round, pellets in the basement, but none near wood. They were in plastic bins that held guitar cables. A couple of the cables showed signs of chewing and one cable was chewed all the way through. In the next room, which I’m remodeling, I found some powdery brown substance on the floor when I removed the floor molding. Another article suggested ant droppings but we’ve never had an ant infestation. I spray for spiders in the basement because they are a problem in the area but I don’t know what these are. I’m thinking that neither a termite or ant would attack a guitar cable and certainly wouldn’t be able to chew through the copper wire. Thoughts or suggestions?

    • Dale, very interesting case you have here. I have not heard of a type of insect that can eat copper guitar wire. Are you sure the cables were pure copper or was there a type of coating over them? There are different types of insects that eat glue and similar material. For example, silverfish, carpet beetles, and book louse have all been observed eating book glue in the bindings or covering of old books. This is common enough that museums with old books typically take pest control very seriously because a small infestation can damage or destroy priceless history.

      I could see certain guitar cables having a thin coating over the copper that may have attracted some type of insect like these, but I’m not sure about that. Was the copper actually eaten all the way through as well? The other thing that may have happened is termites could have eaten the cardboard boxes that the guitar strings were in. termites will eat paper, cardboard, or other cellulose materials. Cedar essential oil repels many types of bugs and shouldn’t harm your guitar or guitar strings. It would probably be pretty effective to place a drop or two of that in the box that you store your guitar strings in.

      As far as the brown powdery substance on the floor when you removed the molding, there is a chance it was from carpenter ants because they leave behind a what looks like tiny wood shavings or sawdust. But on the other hand it could dropping from another type of insect like roaches or sliver fish.

  12. That’s good to consider that termite waste is a different color and texture from sawdust. I guess it’s a different destructive process, after all. I’ll have to look out for that since I heard my neighbors had gotten infested.

  13. Thanks for pointing out that identifying frass can lead to the early discovery of a termite infestation, which is good since most damage can be prevented if caught early. My husband and I recently spotted a pile of something near our window frame, and after seeing the pictures you shared here, I’m pretty sure it was termite frass. I’ll definitely take your advice and call a professional soon so we can prevent any further damage from happening.

    • Hi Amy, thanks for visiting mytermitetreatmentcosts.com I’m glad you learned a bit about termite frass and hopefully the frass pile you found on your window seal is only from a beginning infestation rather than an established termite colony. Termite droppings found on window sills are often from recently established termite colonies—but not always.

      If you can, come back and let us know what you find out from the pest professional. It’s always good to get feedback, and what you find out may help other people dealing with the same issue.


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