Birds do it, bees do it, and even bugs do it. Recognizing termite poop is a great way to identify the cause of damage to wood in a building structure. Exterminators look for signs of the pest using termite poop to distinguish between a timber decay of the termite damage.
Hunters, trappers, archaeologists, conservationists and exterminators are just a few of the professions that rely on insect or animal frass (the fancy term for excrement of the timber or wood borers) in their forensic analysis. Animal and bug frass contains what is left of a creature’s diet. In the case of termite poop, it is primarily made up of soil or wood material. When looking for early signs of termite damage, the remnants of the bug’s meal helps the exterminator identify the criminal, uh, species.
Generally, termites fall into three different types: subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. An experienced termite controller will be able to identify it for you. You probably can guess what expel in their excrement: dirt and wood fibers.
Underground varieties mix their termite poop with saliva to create narrow tunnels. The mixture is used to create tunnels that lead the bug from their underground colony to the woody food source in a building structure. For all the damage they cause, subterranean varieties are very fragile. They need to stay in contact with moist soil or they dry up. That’s why they build the tunnels, also called termite tubes or termites muddings. They use the tunnels to traverse to their final destination inside the walls of your home.
When you are looking for early signs of termite damage, look for signs of the mud tubes or tunneled wood framework. Also, if you notice remnants of soil in the damaged wood then you are looking a termite poop left behind by this underground inhabitant.
The other type found in Australia and most other continents are the drywood termite. These guys don’t build tunnels with their excrement. The just chew out another tunnel and use it to fill with their waste product. Drywood termites have no centralized nest and they don’t need to have earth contact like the subterranean termites. Generally fumigations is the best way to eradicate the drywood termites. If you notice holes in the wood surface filled with a pile of wood dust, then you probably are dealing with a borer. Timber borers need to be dealt in another way. Contact your local pest controller for advice on borers.
Just as the hunter knows there are deer around when he sees a pile of fresh deer droppings, you know you have an infestation when you see piles of wood dust or termite tubes. Don’t ignore these signs of termite damage. These hungry bugs don’t go away until they are treated and their food source disappears.