Should I be worried about termite droppings from the ceiling?

Have you noticed small piles of sawdust or tiny pellets scattered on your floors or surfaces? The debris, called frass, is an unfortunate sign you may have unwelcome guests lurking within the confines of your home: termites.

These wood-devouring insects have the potential to cause significant damage to the structural integrity of your property, and the presence of termite droppings from the ceiling is a telltale sign they’re already hard at work making trouble for you and your family.

What exactly are termite droppings?

Termites actually eat the wood they infest and the droppings (the frass) are the waste products they leave behind. They’re typically small, dry, and pellet-like in appearance, ranging in color from light brown to dark brown, or even black. The color depends on the type of wood the termites are consuming.

When termites settle within the walls, floors, or ceilings in your home, they create intricate, maze-like tunnels to move around and access their food source. As the termites feed, they excrete the frass. Over time, it can accumulate and become visible on surfaces, which is why you might notice termite droppings from the ceiling.

Are there other signs of termite droppings to be aware of?

In addition to the droppings, you may notice other signs of termite activity, including:

  • Wood that sounds hollow. Tap on your walls or window sills, or other wooden surfaces. If you hear a dull, empty sound, it could mean termites have been hard at work hollowing out the interior.
  • Mud tubes. These small, pencil-like tubes made of excrement and mud provide the means for termites to travel between their colony and their food source.
  • Swarms of winged insects. During mating season, termites release winged reproductive insects called swarmers. That’s a clear sign you’re dealing with an active infestation.

If I think I’m dealing with a termite infestation, what should I do?

Ignoring termite droppings from the ceiling can have severe consequences. Termites are relentless in their pursuit, and if left unchecked, they will cause significant structural damage to your home that’ll require costly repairs. 

If you suspect an infestation based on the presence of droppings or other signs, it’s crucial to seek professional help immediately. 

Some of the things a trained termite inspector might look for during an inspection include:

  • Indents in your drywall, as well as in the door or window and wall facings
  • Hollow, empty sounds when they knock on a wooden surface
  • Those tiny mud tunnels and piles of frass
  • Actual termites, especially the winged swarmers

Pest control experts will look in your basement and attic, as well as rooms that contain plumbing—bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, etc. A thorough inspection will involve examining door and window frames, the interiors of closets and cabinets, as well as baseboards and crawl spaces. An in-depth search is the best way to identify a problem, which is why it’s vital to engage an expert. They have the knowledge, tools, and expertise to accurately identify the extent of the infestation, and implement effective treatment methods to eliminate termites and prevent future damage.  Nature’s Way Pest Control recommends annual inspections to best protect your structure

What can I do to prevent that future damage?

Just to reiterate, the priority is to deal with the active infestation. But here are a few tips to help you safeguard your home and other important structures:

  • Eliminate wood-to-ground contact. Ensure decks, fences, and siding don’t have direct contact with the ground so termites do not have easy access.
  • Maintain proper ventilation. Termites thrive in damp, humid environments, which is why there’s often an increase in problems during the spring and summer months. 
  • Treat susceptible areas. Consider investing in termite-resistant materials or chemical barriers to deter these pests from establishing a colony.
  • Conduct regular inspections. Schedule regular professional inspections to catch infestations in the early stages, and reinforce preventative measures. 

Work with the termite experts in Upstate New York and Vermont

For additional guidance on dealing with termite droppings from the ceiling, contact Nature’s Way Pest Control and get a free inspection by a professional exterminator. Please call (518) 471-2219 for services in Albany, Glens Falls, Saratoga, or as far north as Plattsburgh, NY. For experts in Rutland, Burlington, and western Vermont, call (802) 230-1112