Contributed by: Doug Webb

Updated on: December 15, 2022

Drywood termites can cause major damage for many homeowners, especially those who live in the southeastern, southwestern and western United States and Hawaii. Unlike their subterranean counterparts, drywood termites don't nest in the soil. Rather, they nest in actual wood, which can include the lumber — or even the furniture — in your home.

One sign that you might have drywood termites in your house is finding termite droppings or frass. Learn how to identify frass, so that you can call on Terminix® the minute you suspect you might have a pest problem.

Related: Signs of Termites

termite droppings

What is termite frass?

“Frass" is just another word for drywood termite droppings. You may also hear termite frass referred to as “termite poop" or feces. As you've read, drywood termites actually live inside of wood. That means they have to find a place to deposit their termite droppings. Obviously, they don't want to navigate tunnels filled with their own excrement.

To “flush" these droppings away, drywood termites chew kick-out holes so that they have an opening through which to push their frass.

Where is termite frass typically found?

Wherever there's a termite nest, termite frass won't be far behind. Drywood termite droppings can often be found on the floor outside of kick-out holes. Some of the most common places to find termite kick-out holes are along wooden floorboards, on carpeting, on wooden porches and on window sills.

You may also want to inspect corners of rooms for termite frass, as well as your attic floor or any crawlspaces.

What do termite droppings look like?

As you'd expect from any insect, termite droppings are tiny. Each piece of termite frass is just a fraction of an inch. While you'd likely need a magnifying glass to see an individual termite dropping, you can, however, spot piles of frass collected outside of their kick-out holes.

termite droppings

Termite droppings are:

  • Typically no larger than 0.04 inches long
  • Light brown to black in color
  • Either oval-shaped or hexagonal-shaped
  • Resemble coffee grounds or sawdust, and are very hard and dry

Subterranean termite frass

Finding frass on the floors or crawlspaces of your home is a clear sign that you have drywood termites. However, if you have subterranean termites on your property, you won't have as easy a time finding their droppings.

Beyond the fact that they live underground, there's another good reason why you're less likely to see subterranean termite frass. Unlike drywood termites, subterranean termites use their frass to build their network of mud tubes that they use for travel. These mud tubes extend from the ground where they live and climb upwards along the foundation or walls that make contact with the soil.

What to do if you spot signs of termites

There are several signs of termites that you might come across in your home, including frass, mud tubes, wood damage or discarded wings. The signs you see in your home will depend on the termite species. However, these are often not recognizable to homeowners. Additionally, it is possible that termites could be nesting in your home — and causing destruction — for years without leaving any traces. Because of this, it's important to have a termite protection plan that includes regular inspections.

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