Termite Droppings From Ceiling – Identification, Safety & Solutions

Termite droppings or frass is a sure sign of termite presence.

A lot of times, people discover such when they least expect it. Termites are the most destructive and difficult pests due to their silent auction. A lot of destruction can go on unnoticed until the problem worsens.

A clear sign of termite presence in a home is their droppings. This can be worrisome because your prized asset might be under attack from these pests.

Depending on the termite problem, some start from the ceiling while others move from the ground up.

The frass you see scattered on the ground are excrements pushed through exit holes created for that purpose. Of course, you take urgent actions to fix the problem when noticed.

About Termite Droppings

As with all living organisms, waste byproducts emerge after digestion. Termites are known to target and feed on cellulose-containing items.

Cellulose is derived from a wide range of things, including wood, manure from herbivorous animals, grass, leaves, cotton, paper cardboard, and a whole range of items with vegetative origin.

Unfortunately, many of these items are in homes, so termites are notorious for infesting homes. The droppings produced are a byproduct of what they feed on.

These droppings appear differently depending on the termite type involved. All such details have been discussed in this article.

Differentiating Termite Droppings from Ant Droppings and Sawdust

Often, people mistake misrepresenting termite frass with those of other insects such as ants. Also, these droppings might sometimes be confused with sawdust.

Let’s provide some tips on how to distinguish between these three.

  • Termite Droppings

One of the ways to quickly identify termite droppings is from the shape they take. These are primarily hexagonal and oval-shaped and found to be scattered around their nests.

Frass produced by drywood termites can be scattered on or around floorboards.

  • Ant Droppings

Unlike termite droppings, droppings take no particular shape.

They mainly consist of the foods eaten by these pests, including the carcasses of other ants. Other constituents of these droppings include wood shavings mulched by ants for better burrowing.

You’ll mostly find ant droppings piled around their nest opening.

This is pretty much standard practice for all ants. Their droppings are much bulkier than termite droppings and have little to no resemblance to termite droppings.

  • Sawdust

On the other hand, Sawdust has a striking resemblance to termite droppings.

As a matter of fact, you’ll need to use a magnifying glass to understand what you’re dealing with. However, you will observe that these aren’t the same upon close examination.

Of course, a close look at termite droppings will reveal the granular six-sided pellet shape. On the other hand, Sawdust has no definite shape as it resembles shiny silvers or tiny shavings.

Identifying Termite Droppings

When you come across termite droppings, you’re likely to find these in small mounds on the floor.

This results from the continuous accumulation of their poop being pushed out from their nest, doubles as your ceiling. On the surface, termite droppings look like sawdust.

When zoomed with a magnifying glass, you’ll find that these droppings are oval-shaped with rounded ends. They tend to be coarser compared to sawdust which has no definite shape.

Upon finding such droppings, you’re likely to mistake such for regular household debris.

You’ll have to clear the area and inspect to see if you’d find the small mounds forming. If there isn’t any after a day or two, you don’t need to be alarmed.

However, when you find such, it’s time you take urgent steps to save your home.

Other Places to Look for Termite Droppings

Because these droppings serve as signs of termite presence, it’s important to inspect other sections of your home to determine the severity and spread of the problem.

Your basements, crawl spaces, window and door sills, in or around wooden porches, and you should search isolated corners of storage areas.

In a situation where the infestation is full-blown, you’ll find these droppings scattered around the areas inspected. At this point, you’ll need to take immediate action to address your termite problem.

Of course, calling for professional pest control is the best action.

Are Termite Droppings from Ceiling Dangerous?

There’s nothing wrong with being extra cautious about these droppings’ implications on your health.

You could be on your bed and notice these tiny droppings falling from your ceiling. Technically speaking, these droppings won’t harm you because they aren’t toxic.

However, persons with sensitive respiratory systems or those with allergies are likely to respond to these droppings. If you have such conditions, you may experience itchiness, sneezing, coughing, and dizziness.

The solution to this problem is to have the problem fixed; in this case, resolving the termite problem will serve your best interest.

Confirming Termite Presence in Ceiling

Termite droppings from the ceiling are a sign of termite activity. However, you’ll need to be doubly sure by closely inspecting for other signs that point to termite activity.

At this stage, calling for professional inspection and treatment will be the best option. However, some persons may want to wait for further confirmation.

Signs for a damp or discolored ceiling and cracks with pulpy edges on ceiling wood.

Other signs that help confirm termite activity include mud tubes on walls and ceiling, loosened and wobbly roof shingles, small pinholes on ceiling wood, and faint sounds from the top.

You may also find termites in ceiling sheetrock and broken termite wings on the floor. These signs are sure signs of termite presence and activity combined with termite droppings from the ceiling.

Let’s briefly discuss each of these points.

  • Damp or Discolored Ceiling

One of the things you’ll notice when dealing with an active termite infestation in the ceiling is discoloration or dampness on your roof. The feeding activity of termites causes this.

Here, you’re likely to find peeling paints or bubbles on the ceiling. These signs reinforce the likelihood of termite activity.

  • Cracks with Pulpy Edges on Ceiling Wood

Apart from termite droppings, another sure sign of termite presence in your ceiling is cracked ceiling wood having pulpy edges. This is caused by these pests’ destructive activity, which turns the wood hollow.

This causes a misalignment of the ceiling wood resulting in sagging areas.

  • Mud Tubes on Walls and Ceiling

Termites on the ceiling also announce their presence by the trails they leave behind. These pests create mud tubes or tunnels to reach a food source.

You’ll either find these on walls or ceilings or both. These tubes are made from mud and fecal matter.

  • Loosened and Wobbly Roof Shingles

With the continued presence of termites in your ceiling, you’re likely to find damage to your sub-roof components. This results in wobbly and loosened roof shingles.

Any delay worsens the condition of the whole structure.

  • Small Pinholes on Ceiling Wood

Termite droppings from the ceiling exit through small pinholes on your ceiling wood.

These tiny pinholes also serve as exits for these termites. Such pinholes have no definite pattern but appear randomly across your ceiling wood.

  • Faint Sounds from Ceiling

As your surroundings get quieter (mostly at night), you’re likely to pick up faint sounds coming from your ceiling. Such sounds come from termite activity.

The head-banging action of termites causes this sound as they feed on ceiling wood. Also, it’s a defensive strategy used by soldier termites to ward off perceived threats.

  • Termites in Ceiling Sheetrock

Ceilings with sheetrock or drywalls serve as easy targets for termites due to the paperboard enclosing the plaster panels. As with all termite food, these are rich sources of cellulose hence the attraction of termites to it.

Here, you may find tiny pinholes on such drywalls.

Is DIY Termite Control Advisable?

You’ve tried your best to identify the termite droppings. Now, what remains is to decide what treatment option to activate. With termites, DIY treatments are a terrible idea.

This is due to the problematic nature of the pest problem. Personal interventions are hardly going to be comprehensive enough in resolving the issue.

Also, a lot of destruction can happen within a single day. So, delaying comprehensive treatments through DIY methods will likely worsen the problem.

More repair costs are incurred in addition to the cost of termite elimination.

Again, it’s best to seek professional help with your termite issues. Delaying this response will cost you a lot.

At this point, you should be able to distinguish termite droppings. We’ve clearly described what they look like and compared those of different types of termites.

Call for Professional Inspection and Treatment

Finding termite droppings on the ceiling is an early warning sign of a disaster. Your best bet of preventing such from happening is by calling a professional.

Have a pest technician perform a thorough assessment of your ceiling to confirm your fears and determine the extent of the problem before treatment.

With the tips above, you can precisely determine your pest issue. Although termite droppings are clear signs of termite presence, the other symptoms mentioned count.


One of the ways termite infestations are discovered is by their droppings, also called frass.

As highly destructive pests, the need to find tell-tale signs is paramount to fixing the problem. Although there are other signs of termite presence, we’ll be focusing more on their droppings.

Whether dealing with drywood or subterranean termite issues, the details provided here will educate you on what to look out for.

We’ve made critical distinctions between ant and termite droppings and those of drywood termites and subterranean termites. This way, there’s little confusion in identifying such droppings.