There’s some bad news if you’re seeing only termite droppings but no termites in your home.
One bad news is that the hardest-to-eliminate termite has infested your home.
And there are two more, which are dangerous.
This guide reveals what those dangers are and what should be your only action plan in this type of scenario.
And a lot more.
The Type Of Termite That Leaves Behind Termite Droppings – Drywood Termites
If you’re seeing only termite droppings but no termites, then drywood termites have infested your home.
Three types of termites infest homes – drywood termites, subterranean termites, and the more destructive cousin of subterranean termites, the Formosan termites.
Out of these three types of termites, only the drywood termites leave behind droppings.
Subterranean termites and Formosan termites DO NOT leave droppings.
Instead, they use their droppings, mud, and saliva to build mud tubes on structures to travel from one place to another.
What Do Drywood Termite Droppings Look Like?
The drywood termite droppings will look like tiny, oval-shaped particles resembling crushed pepper and coffee grounds.
The drywood termite droppings are blackish fecal pellets, also known as frass. In other words, it’s their feces or poop.
Drywood termites eject their frass out of the tiny holes they create on the structures they infest.
Many people overlook these fecal pellets as a pile of dirt that might have accidentally accumulated in their homes.
That’s a big mistake.
Those termite droppings must ring your alarm bells and should make you take action to get rid of them.
But there’s a catch.
You should remember that drywood termite droppings (or droppings of any type of termite) don’t look like fine sawdust.
If you see fine sawdust piling up underneath the structures like joist or beam, then a wood-boring beetle like the powder post beetle has infested it.
Not the drywood termites.
Drywood Termite Droppings But No Termites – Here Are The Risks
Here are the three risks associated with the sightings of termite droppings but no physical sightings of drywood termites –
- Drywood termites have spread wider and deeper in your home
- Your home’s structure is at risk
- Drywood termites are hard to eliminate
Let’s get into each of them.
Drywood Termites Have Spread Wider And Deeper In Your Home
Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites don’t enter homes from underground.
When drywood termites are in their reproductive stage, known as winged termites (alates), they quit their current colonies in search of a new structure to infest.
These winged drywood termites enter homes by flying in through open doors and windows.
Drywood termites will create holes to dig inside structures like beams, joists, and wooden roof eaves.
These tiny holes can be visible if you closely inspect them.
These drywood termites will eat the wood from inside, causing it to turn hollow.
And they’ll eject the frass from tiny holes.
Drywood termites will spread wider into your home if you keep ignoring the termite droppings.
And therein lies the problem.
Do you know that drywood termite infestation becomes noticeable after at least five years?
Yes. That’s how long it takes to notice the signs of drywood termite infestation, which includes termite droppings, in your home.
And in that period of five years, the number of termites infesting your home can be in hundreds of thousands which you can’t see.
These massive number of termites won’t be limiting themselves where you’re noticing the termite droppings.
Without a doubt, they will spread deeper and wider in your home.
So, that brings you to the second risk, which is your home’s structure is at risk.
Your Home’s Structure Is At Risk
When drywood termites’ number increases your home, they always lookout for new sources of food.
And that makes them go spread wider, deeper, and higher in your home.
These drywood termites will even infest your home’s ceilings and the wooden joists and beams that support the ceiling and roof.
And that leads to termite droppings from the ceiling, which is a menacing sign.
That can put your entire home’s structure at the risk of crumbling down.
And not to mention, the damages that these termites can cause will create a big hole in your pocket while you’re repairing them.
A massive termite infestation takes years to spread and become noticeable.
And when the infestation becomes severe, it can severely damage the structural integrity of your home.
So, yes, drywood termites can bring down a house.
Drywood Termites Are Hard To Eliminate
Another headache that comes with a drywood termite infestation in a house is that they’re hard to eliminate.
DIY ways won’t work because the chemicals and sprays you’ll use won’t penetrate the wood that these termites are infesting.
Drywood termites do extensive and, at times, irreparable damage to a home by chewing through the wooden beams and structures from inside.
You’ll find out what’s your only course of action to remedy the situation.
For now, let’s look at what you need to do if you see termite droppings but no termites.
What Should You Do If You See Termite Droppings But No Termites?
Check out the areas where you saw the termite droppings.
You’ll notice the termite droppings underneath wooden structures like windowsills, joists, beams, ceilings, and baseboards.
Your first task should be to inspect the wooden piece above or near the termite dropping.
You do it by checking out for tiny holes on the wooden piece or structure and by tapping on the wood.
If you hear hollow sounds tapping the wood, there are termites inside the wood without a doubt.
Then inspect the rest of the wooden structures and furniture of your home.
If you can, inspect the ceiling too.
You might notice tiny holes in the ceiling and hear hollow sounds tapping the ceiling if the termites have spread to that region of your home.
If you don’t notice them, then you’re in luck.
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the termite droppings. And mark those regions where you noticed tiny holes or heard hollow sounds.
Do not try to drill holes into the wood and inject pesticides. It’ll be in vain.
So, what should be your next step?
Let’s find it out.
Hire A Pest Controller For Termite Inspection
It may sound obvious, but that’s the only course of action you have.
DIY ways don’t work on drywood termite infestation.
Ironically, it can make matters worse by alerting the termites inside the wood and causing them to spread wider and deeper into your home.
So, hire a pest controller to inspect your home for termites.
Savvy homeowners always do a quarterly pest inspection as a part of mandatory health checkups for their homes.
Quarterly pest inspection helps you nip the burgeoning pest infestation of any type at its inception.
It also keeps your costs low compared to a full-fledged termite removal service.
If the termite infestation is serious in your home, then the pest controller will recommend tenting or fumigation.
Fumigation is the process whereby the pest controller covers the entire house with a tent and injects pesticides into the wooden structures of your home to kill the drywood termites.
Fumigation is the only guaranteed and safest way to remove termite infestation in your home if the infestation is severe.
However, you’ll need to stay out of your house during the fumigation process.
Are Termite Droppings Dangerous?
Termite droppings or frass are not dangerous. They don’t carry any pathogens that can cause sickness in humans and pets.
However, as it’s in the dust form, it can cause some allergic reactions in sensitive people.
Termite poop isn’t toxic.
Carpenter Ant droppings vs. Termite droppings
Comparison of carpenter ant droppings and termite droppings needed a special mention.
It’s because, like the termites, carpenter ants too bore into the wood.
And when they do, they also leave behind droppings.
But the truth is that carpenter ants don’t leave behind droppings. They leave behind sawdust.
Carpenter ants will drill into the wooden pieces to build their nests and lay their eggs.
In doing so, they’ll discard the sawdust from the holes they make on the wood.
So, the sawdust piles accumulate underneath the holes where they drill.
These sawdust piles are not carpenter ant feces. Carpenter ants and their larvae don’t eat wood.
Whereas, termite droppings are feces that contain the wood they ingested.
There’s also a difference between the type of wood carpenter ants and drywood termites infest.
Carpenter ants target moist woods.
So, the furniture and door frames in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room are the ideal places for carpenter ants to build their nests.
But drywood termites target dry structural woods. And most of the time, their infestation begins from the lofty areas.
Why Do You See Termite Droppings But No Termites – The Conclusion
Sightings of termite droppings but no termites suggest that the drywood termite infestation gripped your home.
Drywood termites primarily remain inside the wood. They chew the wood from the inside and make it hollow.
Over time, these termites spread far and wide into your home.
If you don’t take swift action, these termites will compromise the structural integrity of your home by damaging ceilings, wooden joists, and beams.
Fumigation or tenting is the only way to get rid of a severe drywood termite infestation in your home.
It’s wise to hire a pest controller for a preliminary inspection of your home if you’re seeing termite droppings but no termites.
And then follow their recommendations to eliminate these damaging termites from your home and property.
We’re Mark and Jim, and we’re retired pest controllers who made homes pest-free for more than three decades. We, along with our team of experts, founded this site to give you the pest control hacks that work.