What is Frass and How Can I Identify It?

Frass is excrement from the digestive system of various pests. This material contains what the insect has been eating, and the term is often associated with wood-eating pests like termites or carpenter ants. Insect frass is a visible sign of an infestation, but there are different types of frass. They can appear similar to the untrained eye, but there are significant differences. The insect may also have a unique method of disposing of frass, and this can also help the pest-control professional to correctly identify the insect.

What is Insect Frass

The frass might be liquid, pellet-shaped or a soft clump of mixed materials. Frass will be located relatively close to the source of the infestation, and this is useful information. Common places for piles of frass include the attic, basement, garage areas and other places in the home where wood materials are used. Frass can also be used by some insects as a source of food for their young. Some termites may also use frass as construction material when building tunnels or covering up some of their own holes. The ability to recycle this fecal material can alarm homeowners who are unsure of the size of the insect infestation based on the size of the frass piles.

How to Identify Frass

Different types of insects will leave frass behind that may have an appearance that is unique to that insect. This makes it possible to identify what type of pest infestation is happening on the premises. Insect frass can be soft and fibrous, for example. This type of frass may also have pieces of wood and other debris in the mixture. This is one of the main identifying points of an ant infestation because termite frass contains only fecal material. Termite frass, on the other hand, is composed entirely of fecal matter. It is shaped like a pellet, and these small droppings are around one millimeter in size. They will be located next to an exit hole in the wood where the termites have burrowed into the wood to build their nests. They don’t want their excrement inside of the nests, so they will push it through these holes to the other side. This termite frass is a key indicator of a massive termite infestation, and it requires immediate action.


Termites and carpenter ants differ in many ways, including their frass. Click here to learn other ways to distinguish them:

How to Tell the Difference Between Carpenter Ants and Termites


Worldwide Pest Control

Our trained professionals can help you to eliminate pests from your property. Identifying frass correctly is a major part of this process. Once you understand the signs of a pest infestation, you will need to know exactly what type of insect is creating the frass. This can be difficult to do without the right tools, equipment and training. For additional information about frass control, contact Worldwide Pest Control.

We proudly serve a number of locations, including Corpus Christi, so be sure to check out our service area to see if we can make it out to help!