Finding Termite Droppings
Finding termite droppings may be a late sign of a termite infestation. By the time you see these telltale signs, the secretive insects have already invaded your home and may have damaged its wooden structures. These pests generally remain well hidden in subterranean colonies around your house or in the foundations, walls or ceilings. In the later stages of infestation, homeowners will begin to see signs such as tiny clusters of wood pellets or termite droppings along the baseboards.
Termites begin their infestation within wooden structures, consuming beams or panels from the inside out. By the time you notice termite droppings, these insects may have caused considerable damage to your walls, flooring, foundations, even your wooden cabinets and furniture. You may notice changes in your wooden components that resemble water damage, such as sagging or buckling in a ceiling, porch or deck. Droppings, discarded wings and other evidence are signs that you should schedule a professional inspection of your home.
Significance of Termite Droppings
Termite droppings, also known as “frass,” are the waste material that termites create after eating wood according to pest exterminators. Droppings may vary in color, depending on the type of wood that the insects consume. Droppings may be black or white, or they may look like small piles of sawdust. Dry wood species, which are highly secretive and difficult to detect, are likely to leave termite droppings and other evidence when they’ve established their presence in your home.
Dry wood species leave hollow grooves along the grain of wooden beams where they have consumed the softer portions of the wood. You may also see tiny networks of fine lines or cracks in baseboards, windowsills or furniture. If a formerly solid wooden beam or wall suddenly sounds hollow when you tap it, substantial termite damage has already occurred.
Mud tubes and kick out holes are evidence of colonization in your home. Colonies typically begin outside the house, in the moist soil surrounding your property. In time, the colony members may begin to make their way to the foundations of your home, building visible mud tubes that resemble tiny snakes along the sides of the house. Kick out holes, which dry wood species create in order to exit a wooden structure, may be difficult to see, but these exit holes are definitive signs of an infestation.
Along with termite droppings, discarded termite wings are a clear indication of a colony on your property. Wings are discarded by reproductive members of the colony when they swarm in the warm months of Spring, seeking other colonies. You may actually see the swarmers gathering around outdoor lamps or lighted windows at night. As soon as you notice wings, droppings, or other signs of a potential infestation, contact a professional pest control service for quotes on the cost of an inspection.
Professional inspectors can detect the signs of termite infestation that homeowners often miss. Because these pests are so small, and because they take up residence underground or deep in the foundations and wooden structures of your dwelling, you may never notice them unless you happen to come across their droppings or you notice structural deterioration. Licensed inspectors will perform a thorough evaluation of your property, both inside and outdoors, to confirm the presence of these pests and determine how advanced the infestation has become.
Experienced pest control professionals start with a visual inspection of your home’s interior, including attics and basements. Areas of the dwelling that may have damp wood, such as crawlspaces, basements, decks and porches, are likely spots for exit holes or droppings. Colonization is more likely to occur in moist areas, such as the soil below a dripping faucet or the wooden supports of a porch. Inspectors have been trained to detect termite droppings, wood grain damage and other signs that may be invisible to the lay person.
Once the infestation has been verified, the inspection team can provide you with a quote for pest control services to eliminate the infestation. Some inspectors charge for the inspection itself, while others offer a free evaluation. If you decide to use the same service that conducted the inspection, talk with these professionals about the extermination methods that they use. Most companies use a combination of liquid pesticide and termite bait; however, some contractors also employ non toxic methods, such as sand barriers.
Finding termite droppings in your home is a sign that the property should be professionally inspected. However, this sign doesn’t mean that the pests can’t be eliminated, or that your house has been irreparably damaged. Consult a licensed pest control service to determine the best way to eradicate these pests. Professionals can also provide tips on repairing the damage to your interior and exterior structures and minimizing the effects of these wood-destroying insects.