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What Is Frass and How Can I Identify It?

If you think that you have a termite problem, it's possible to confirm it without calling a professional. Look for frass. Understanding this term and how to identify frass can help you determine whether or not you need pest control services.

The Definition of Frass

People who raise butterflies and moths describe caterpillar waste as frass. When it comes to termites, frass also refers to droppings or feces. However, frass can be the result of destructive insect activity too.

How to Identify It

The frass that termites leave behind differs depending on the species. It's also important to be able to tell termite waste apart from carpenter ant activity.

Drywood Termite Frass

Drywood termites leave few indications of an infestation in homes. When a couple of swarmers establish a nest, they seal the hole in which they entered and don't leave. They have everything inside of the wood to survive. As the colony grows, they consume wood and create holes to push out the frass so that the area where their eggs are remains clean.

The pellet droppings are oval-shaped capsules with rounded ends and six concave sides. At about 1 millimeter long, they might appear in small mounds that look like pepper or salt near the nest. The pellets range in color depending on the wood that the termites have been eating.

It's important to note that dampwood termite frass looks almost the same. However, these termites don't usually target homes.

Subterranean Termite Frass

Subterranean termites are more destructive mainly because they live in larger colonies than drywood termites. They're also harder to detect since they work their way into the primary structures of buildings. For these reasons, it's important to identify and exterminate them quickly.

However, subterranean termites don't typically leave mounds of frass. They mix their excrement with debris, dirt and saliva instead. Then, they use the material to construct their mud tubes and tunnels. Unfortunately, the best way to find subterranean termite waste is to tear down walls and look for the mud tubes. Because of that, professionals use other methods to identify a problem.

Carpenter Ant Frass

Frass from carpenter ants is completely different from the waste that drywood termites leave behind. Carpenter ants don't eat the wood that they destroy. Instead, they just chew through wood to create tunnels for their colonies. This activity leaves behind light-colored sawdust near where they enter or exit the wood. The frass may also look like the shavings from sharpening a pencil. They don't have a uniform shape or size.

What to Do Next

Whether you think that you have a termite or carpenter ant problem, seeking pest control services is the only way to ensure that you exterminate them all. Premium Termite and Pest Control customizes its services according to your specific situation. We proudly serve a number of number of California locations, so please contact us today!

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