Termite Ceiling Damage: Droppings, Holes, Safety & Solutions

Termite droppings or frass are 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.

Termite Ceiling Damage

Termites love wood cellulose and other organic matter.

This is why they infest ceilings, furniture, and wooden objects. As a homeowner, it is essential to inspect these wooden items against termite infestation or damage periodically.

Here, this article aims at discussing termite ceiling damage. By reading, you will understand the severe damage done to the ceiling by these herbivorous insects.

In addition, we will also tell you how to locate damaged termites in the ceilings and what is the escape route.

  • What Kind Of Termites Commonly Damaged Ceilings?

Two kinds of termites can put the integrity of your ceilings in jeopardy.

They’re subterranean and dry wood termites. Subterranean species need soil to survive. They instantly establish a colony and construct mud tubes to reach your ceilings.

Dry wood termites can sail straight through any possible entrance to your ceiling before establishing a colony.

  • Nature of Termite Ceiling Damage

Termite ceiling damage is often hard to distinguish, especially when the activity has just begun.

Notwithstanding, when the damage is becoming evident, it resembles light water damage. You’ll notice some sagging on ceiling linings, roof tiles, and mud dropping from the ceiling.

How to Notice a Ceiling Damage by Termites

You must recognize the signs of ceiling damage caused by termites.

Doing so will help you put in place practical preventive measures. Here we have supplied some signs of ceiling damage to help you get started.

  • Pale Brown Stool Littering Surrounding Areas

Unfortunately, the cleanliness of termites is what exposes it. As they take root in your ceiling, they regularly clean their nest by pushing their faces into your house through holes.

These droppings are pale brown striated fecal pallets known as frass. So, whenever you spot these faces around your home, it’s apparent that you’re hosting unwanted guests on your ceilings.

  • Broken Or Cracked Ceiling

Termites might start feeding on the structural beams as they arrive at your ceilings. When the damage is substantial, the roof will mount rennet on your ceiling which can result in a crack.

  • Drill pinholes around the ceiling

Termites often do not have room for new ones.

The older ones leave the nest to find shelter somewhere else. As there is not much space in the wood, they dug holes around the ceiling. Besides using these holes for habitation, they can act as an outlet point.

There are many other ways to identify an outbreak of termites. But given the time constraints, we can’t mention them all.

Termite Droppings From Ceiling

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.

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 various items with vegetative origins.

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 these pests eat, 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 termites and have little to no resemblance to termite droppings.

  • Sawdust

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

You’ll need to use a magnifying glass to understand what you’re dealing with. However, you will observe 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 poop being pushed out from their nest, which 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. You don’t need to be alarmed if there isn’t any after a day or two.

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. 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.

Termite Holes in Ceiling

When termites infest a home, signs of their presence reflect in several ways. One of them includes holes in the ceiling. This early warning sign can develop into more severe forms of damage.

If you’ve noticed tiny holes in your ceiling and suspect termite presence, we’ll provide you with a guideline for other signs.

More importantly, you’ll get to find out if the holes you see are due to termite activity or not. A termite problem will require effective treatment strategies such as those provided by a pro.

This article offers all such details and more.

Signs of Termite Holes in Ceiling

Proper identification of termite holes in the ceiling helps eliminate confusion and allows urgent treatment.

Typical termite holes in the ceiling measure about one-eighth of an inch or smaller. These are round holes filled with a plaster-like substance that’s brownish in appearance.

Termites create such holes for two reasons; to leave their nest when done with the damage and as an exit for feces.

Whatever the reasons are, termite holes in ceilings are a clear sign of danger as pest issues such as this might worsen. The faster you act, the more likely you will overcome the problem.

  • There may be Doubts About the Causes of such Holes

For the most part, termite holes in your ceiling will point to termites’ presence. However, such an assumption isn’t absolute, as holes in the ceiling might be due to other reasons.

To be sure you have termites in your ceiling, you’ll have to consider other factors which help confirm your fears.

Several factors include tiny mounds of wood pellets in the attic, loose roof shingles or tiles, and mud tubes.

Other supporting symptoms of termite holes in the ceiling include winged termites, termite swarms, damaged wood, and bubbling and discoloration.

  • Tiny Mounds of Wood Pellets

To be sure that the holes you see in your ceiling belong to termites, it’s necessary to look out for supporting evidence. One of these includes tiny wood pellet mounds found around attic areas and below rafters.

When this is found, it becomes an added confirmation of termite presence and activity.

Although such mounds may look like wood shavings, their fecal matter pushes out the holes created. These are also known as frass. Termites need exit holes for such to continue their destructive activities.

  • Loose Roof Shingles or Tiles

All wooden structures of your home are targets for termites. Roofs with no wooden shingles may still have sub-roofing materials made of wood.

When closely examining these areas reveals termite presence, it’s more likely that termites have created the holes you find in your ceiling.

  • Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites mostly use mud tubes to protect them from harsh environmental conditions. Such lines connect their colonies to food substances rich in cellulose.

Inspecting your home might reveal mud tubes running vertically along exterior walls or chimney areas.

  • Winged Termites

Sometimes, you might find winged termites that look similar to winged ants around openings of your home. Whether dead or alive, it doesn’t matter.

This is a sign that termites are active on your proper and increases the likelihood that termites have created holes in your ceiling.

Another way to ensure termite presence around your home is to check for termites caught in spider webs.

Spiders often set their webs ready for prey and won’t miss the opportunity to feast on these pests.

  • Termite Swarms

Termite swarms are most common around areas with mature termite colonies.

During the swarming season, young termite males and females leave their nests to fly to a new location to start a new colony. Finding swarms around your home is a sign that termites have been active.

With such evidence, it becomes easier to assume that the holes you see in your ceiling belong to termites. This finding calls for urgent action to address the problem.

  • Damaged Wood

To find answers to the holes in your ceiling, you must also look for damaged wood. Such wood is mainly found to be eaten up along the grains.

What more? Termites might have destroyed the wood inside out, creating a hollow sound when tapped.

  • Bubbling & Discoloration

When discoloration is observed on the ceiling, it also reinforces suspicions about termite activity or presence. All you have to do is check all ceiling sections to find this sign.

What to Do After Finding Termite Holes in Ceiling

If your fears about termite presence in the ceiling have been confirmed, you must take urgent action to address the problem.

One of the most comprehensive approaches involves calling the pros. Pest control companies offer a wide range of termite solutions, including contracts.

The treatment process begins with closely inspecting affected areas before a treatment approach is chosen. Treatment is selected based on the extent of spread and damage.

There may also be recommendations on what needs to be done regarding treatment.

Adopting the Preventive Approach

You’ll have to adopt effective prevention strategies if you live in a termite-prone area. Such methods include multiple actions, including entering a contract with a termite company for ongoing inspections and treatments.

Additional termite preventive actions include fixing plumbing leaks wherever they are and clearing your gutters of debris for proper drainage of water.

You may have to seal or paint exposed wood on your home’s exterior while keeping mulch away from your home.

Do you have wooden logs or debris scattered around your yard? You may be attracting termites without your knowing.

Have these cleared off, trim vegetation, and remove all clutter from your immediate surroundings. Also, consider asking a licensed pest technician for other tips on how to keep termites at bay.

Termite holes in the ceiling are clear signs of termite presence that can rapidly deteriorate when immediate action isn’t taken.

We’ve discussed the different ways to confirm if you have a termite problem and actions to take to address the issue.

Signs of Termites 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’ll likely 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 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 are 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 to prevent such from happening is by calling a professional.

Have a pest technician thoroughly assess 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.

Termite Ceiling Damage Prevention Tips

To treat or prevent infestation and termite damage, you should develop an action plan.

They include repairing leaks around your ceilings, sealing cracks, installing screens, and cleaning gutters. If you can’t do it yourself, you can get help from professional pest management companies to deal with the case.

Let’s stop here for the moment. At least you can see what attracts termites to your ceiling and the amount of damage they can do to your roof.


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 focus 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.

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