Shocking Facts About the Termite Frass

Termite frass does not pose a danger to humans like other bugs waste. It is not a disease vector like the waste from cockroaches or ants because it is composed of cellulose.

If you find termite frass in beds or on other hard surfaces, it could be that the frass has fallen from the ceiling.

It is not a good thing to see termites in your attic. They usually get there after destroying wooden frames and other home structures.

Do you want to find out more? keep reading!


How Do I Describe Termite Frass?

The termite frass that you see on your property is the termite droppings. These termites are found inside wooden structures and they use the exit holes of the building to expel their excrement.

The buildup will not cause blockages within the colony. The termite frass will begin to accumulate into small piles that resemble sawdust.

Check above the piles for any small holes or a place where mud may have built up. This can be removed to reveal a hole.

Dry wood termite droppings are also known as frass. You might also hear termite frass called termite faeces or poop. You’ve already read that drywood termites are found inside the wood.


Read also: Termite Mud Nest


What Does Termite Frass Look Like?

    • No more than 0.04 inch in length
    • Dark brown to light brown
    • They have hexagonal or oval shapes
    • They are hard and dry and look like coffee grounds or sawdust.
    • Drywood termite frass has six sides and round tips.

Frass termites are usually 1 mm long and can be confused with other materials such as sand or coffee grounds. The pellet colour is largely determined by the colour and type of wood that the termites feed on.

Darker woods will result in darker frass, and vice versa. Subterranean termites use their excrement to build mud tubes to connect their colonies with the wooden substructures in your home.

The frass of underground termites is liquid, and it can be shaped into the many structures that they need to feed.


What is the Difference Between Subterranean Termite Frass and Drywood Termite Frass?

There’s another reason you’re unlikely to see termite frass from subterranean termites.

Subterranean termites build their network of tubes out of frass, unlike drywood termites. The mud tubes that grow from the ground are able to climb up the walls or foundations.

Subterranean Termite Frass

Drywood Termite Frass

Termite Frass
Picture of the Subterranean Termite

Termite Frass
Picture of the Drywood Termite
Termites that live underground do not usually leave visible droppings.

The first sign that a termite invasion is occurring may be the wormlike mud tubes that are running up walls or foundations.

Subterranean termites build tubes and tunnels with their droppings, so they cannot be differentiated from their nest.

Subterranean termites mix their liquid waste with dirt and saliva in order to produce a substance used for building mud tubes, and other structures.

As the nest grows, its droppings help to expand its reach.

Mud tubes can be found either under the house connecting the foundation to the support beams, or climbing the siding.

Subterranean termites can also gain access to a house through cracks in the foundation, expansion joints and patios.

The mud tubes can be found in places that are difficult to reach and remain unaltered, such as inside wall cavities or near plumbing.

Drywood termites are usually very quiet and leave little evidence of their activity.

Two drywood termites that establish a nest in the wood seal the hole through which they entered the wood. They do not leave their nest.

Drywood termites are usually very quiet until the damage has been done.

Once they have burrowed into wooden structures they rarely leave their colony.

Termites continue to eat the wood until the structure is compromised.

Drywood termites are easily identified by their droppings.

Around wooden structures, small piles of termite droppings are found.

The odour is similar to sawdust or coffee grinds and can be overlooked for some time before being noticed.

By the time you notice termite droppings, the wood surrounding the house may have been damaged.


Where Will I Find Termite Frass in My Home?

  • Wooden floorboards
  • Carpeting
  • Wooden porches
  • Window sills
  • Door frames
  • Baseboards
  • Beds
  • Countertops
  • Basements
  • Crawlspaces


Read also: A Captivating Description of Termites In Minnesota


What Do I Do If I Spot Termite Frass in My Home?

It is not a vector of disease like the ant’s and cockroaches’ waste. The termite droppings, however, are made of cellulose and therefore rich in magnesium.

Although termite droppings can be safe in general, if you have allergies or respiratory problems, they could cause some issues.

A licensed termite inspector can determine whether the material that looks like sawdust is actually termite droppings and what damage has been done.


Is it a Termite Frass or Sawdust?

The droppings of drywood termites look like sawdust because they are made up of digested cellulose from the wood structure that was eaten.

Termite droppings, unlike sawdust (small, shredded wood fragments), are usually compacted pellets that are made of digested timber. Under magnification, you will see that termite pellets have six sides and rounded corners.


Is it a Termite Frass or Carpenter Ant Dropping?

Both insects that destroy wood leave behind sawdust. The main difference is that termite pellets consist of tiny pellets of cellulose, while the carpenter ants’ byproduct is shredded wood.

Carpenter ants chew wood only to build their nests, but do not eat it.


Is it a Termite Frass or Termite Egg?

The nests of termite colonies are so deep that the eggs are not visible. Drywood termite nests are rarely exposed, unless they are damaged during an inspection.

The eggs of subterranean termites are kept underground, and they are rarely seen. Despite treatment, the subterranean colony will collapse if the eggs do not hatch.


How Do I Know How Old is the Termite Frass?

The pellets contain primarily digested cellulose, which takes a long time to degrade. The pellets do not smell and the colour doesn’t change.

If you find frass, your home is infested with termites and needs to be treated. Knowing the age of the termite frass could help you determine the extent of damage that has been done.


Read also: A Perfect Description of the Concrete Eating Termites



Termite frass can be a sign of an active infestation. To prevent further damage to your property, it is crucial to get treatment as soon as you notice termite activity.

For those with no allergies or respiratory issues, termite droppings can be cleaned up easily. Termite droppings can be cleaned easily without any precautions.

It is important to bring termite droppings to the attention of an established pest control company, so that they can perform a thorough inspection. Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Leave a feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Pestclue

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading