Termite Wood Dust
Just mentioning termites can strike fear in the hearts of many homeowners. They have heard the stories about termites and the damage that they can cause. Many homeowners are vigilant in checking for signs of termites in their home.
Termites eat wood. They also eat other things that contain cellulose, like paper and cardboard. They have also been known to eat cotton and other plant fibers.
When termites eat wood, they eat from the inside. They make hollow galleries inside the wood as they eat. The paint or wallpaper often looks "blistered" because the there is nothing for it to stick to. Damaged wood sounds hollow when it is struck with a hard object.
Termites do not create "dust" when they eat wood. However, they do leave signs that they have been active. These signs can vary according to the type of termite that was present.
When subterranean termites travel above the ground, they make tubes of dirt for protection. When they eat wood, they bring soil particles into the galleries. They use the soil particles to line the galleries. They also mix their droppings with the soil in the galleries. If damaged wood contains soil or mud, it is a sign that subterranean termites caused the damage to the wood.
Subterranean termites also use soil to hide themselves if they are attacking two pieces of wood that are touching each other. The termites fill the space between the boards with soil. It is common to see this in sub–flooring in a crawl space when termites are active.
When drywood termites are active, they attack wood that is above ground level. These termites do not go into the soil at all. Because of this, their galleries are smooth and clean. These termites often attack window or door frames.
Drywood termites make tiny holes in their galleries. They use these holes as places to dump their fecal pellets. All of the fecal pellets are identical. The small pellets are elongate in shape. Each pellet has rounded ends and six concave sides. The color of the pellets can vary according to the type of wood that the termites have been eating.
It is common to find small piles of these fecal pellets on windowsills where drywood termites have been active. The piles of pellets are signs that drywood termites have been active just above that spot.
Other insects can attack wood. Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but they hollow it out for their nest. They produce piles of wood shavings. The piles often contain body parts of insects that the ants have eaten.
Several types of wood–boring beetles attack wood. The larvae make tunnels in the wood as they eat it. When the larvae change into adult beetles they come out of the wood. They make small round holes when they emerge.
When the beetles come out of the wood, the droppings and wood particles fall out at the same time. This material is called "frass". This frass sometimes feels like fine powder or tiny pellets. The frass can vary according to the type of wood and the species of beetle that is present.
Many homeowners call a termite control professional when they see something suspicious. These experts can recognize the signs of termites and other insects that damage wood. As a precaution, many homeowners have their home inspected annually.