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Article posted on December 10, 2021

What does termite damage look like?

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Termite damage photo

What are the early signs of termite damage to look out for?

As a homeowner, it’s important to know what termite damage looks like, and the early signs of termites, especially in the home.

Termite damage will look different in each situation as the look of termite damage will depend on these factors:

  • The type of termites that have damaged the timber
  • The type of wood eaten
  • The time when the damage occurred

There are many different types of termites, and all will damage timber differently, an experienced termite inspector will usually be able to tell the type of termite that is damaging the timber. Some termites will make thin channels of damage through the wood, such as Coptotermes. Schedorhinotermes will make a deeper smooth cut in the timber and look significantly different from other types of termite damage.

Termite damage will also have small spots on the areas of damage from fecal spotting from the termites. So, if the damaged areas visible have the fecal spotting signs it can be a sign of recent damage. In some cases, termite damaged areas may not have the fecal spotting marks if there is wood rot or decay in the timber, as the spotting will slowly disappear over time from the moisture ingress into the wood from moisture or wood rot.

If you have found termites or think you have found termite damage, you can view our termite identification guide here to check the type of termite possibly in your home or business.

The first step in 100% accuracy in termite diagnosis is having a termite inspection completed by a reputable company such as Pest-Ex. A termite inspection is a complete inspection of the internal, external, subfloor, and roof void areas of the home. It will include a detailed report including photos and findings.

The looks of termite damage can sometimes be confused with signs of ants, ants when in a wall can sometimes produce (ant frass) this is a fine dust that can sometimes come out of the bottom of a window frame and pile up on the floor or skirting board. The fine dust is commonly mistaken for termites and homeowners can panic in these situations.

“a simple test to tell the difference between ant frass and termites is to lightly blow on the dust using your mouth, if it blows away like a fine dust should there is a good chance its ant frass”

When ant frass is looked at closely it is usually millions of body parts of ants, as ants cannibalize, they will usually push out these fine parts onto the ground or from behind a window or skirting board. If in doubt invest in a professional termite inspection for the confirmation of identification.

How to tell if you have termite damage?

  • Signs of softness in skirting boards, door frames, or window frames
  • Signs of mud trails up external brickwork or walls
  • Mud staining in wall sheeting (due to nest in wall cavity)
  • Tight closing doors
  • Sounds (clicking in walls)

Usually to the untrained eye by the time a homeowner finds signs of termite’s extensive damage has occurred behind the wall sheeting.

Hand of a carpenter pointing at a wood plank destroyed by termites isolated on white

What does active termite damage look like?

Termites hate disturbance, if termite damage is found a simple test is to carefully break open or peel back the paint of the damaged area, usually a size of a 5c piece will be enough. If the termites are active, they will “mud up” the area quickly within an hr. Worker termites will re-seal the opened area with fecal matter to protect themselves from ants or any threat.

What to do if you have found termite damage and activity?

If you are reading this article chances are you are looking to educate yourself on termites and gain clarity if what you have found is indeed termites or not?

If you have found termites, we recommend the following:

  • Don’t panic! Termites are found in homes every day by homeowners, don’t spray them or disturb the area too much.If you have peeled back soft timber, we recommend you tape up the area.


Call Pest-Ex for further information on our process or contact us here.

Termite damage in home

Our process:

When termites are found we will do one of the following options-

  • Option 1, we will perform a free site visit and assess the area of concern and identify the type of termites attacking the home. We will then provide a no-obligation-free quotation on the best form of termite protection for your home on completion of a full termite inspection.
  • Option 2, we will book you in for a termite inspection of the property and identify the termite type attacking the home and what other areas termites may be in. It is common if termites are found in an area, they will usually be in other areas also.
  • Upon a full inspection, you will be provided with a termite treatment cost proposal designed specifically for your home and the type of termites.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Pest-Ex team!

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Kent Bailey
11 months ago
Just had my home barrier treatment for termites by Pest Ex. In every way a brilliant job and fantastic friendly service unlike...read more anything else I have struck on the Gold Coast. This is a very professional company and every person involved was excellent in every way. Strongly recommend them to all who read this review because you won't do better.
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Christie McCabe
a year ago
On time. Efficient. Friendly. Informative. Well priced. Our experience with Pest-Ex was easy from the moment Reception answered our call. Our routine...read more pest inspection could be done the next day (a Saturday which is most convenient for full time workers). Karl arrived at 7am with a smile to complete the service and carried out the work efficiently informing us of the process where required. Thanks team.
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Chris Burt
2 years ago
Very professional and able to identify our pest problem on the spot. Was on time and great communication with admin girls via...read more phone. Very conscious of keeping our pet safe after the treatment which was a classy touch. Highly recommend!
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6 months ago
Great people and always helpful and providing a good service.
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Lorrie Cruickshanks
a year ago
Thank you to Garyn who first identified the issues, he was extremely thorough and prompt and then to John and Janine and...read more the team who treated and area and placed the baits. The process was fully explained and they were extremely courteous and very professional. Thank you to all the team. The office also kept us up to date with when their representatives would be visiting and this is very much appreciated. Great work.
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Donna Hamerton
a year ago
After reading reviews, I'm glad that I chose Pest-Ex. Maria in the office was more than understanding to accommodate me and times....read more I was able to get a booking the same day I made the enquiry. Garyn my technician was even able to come earlier. When he arrived he was happy to explain everything that was going to happen and how to work around my pets and children. Need pest control done - hire these guys.
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Phoebe Worth
2 years ago
Impressed with the service. The technician Steve was on time, friendly and thorough - you could tell he was not rushing the...read more job. Will be using Pest-Ex again. Thanks guys!
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Mickey Ketch
a year ago
This company actually investigates the problem instead of just spraying your place and leaving. Very HIGH knowledge and experience in what they...read more do. They took the time to investigate the cause, the source of the problem and elimnated it completely which included going through every cupboard, cracks hiding spots the lot. We had a cochroach problem in our apartment for 3 months and we had 4 different companies come out and NONE of them investigated they only sprayed. After we called PestEx, Mr. Phillips was very knowledgeable and experienced eliminating our problem entirely. We also use PestEx in our shop and both Mr Phillips and Marty are EXCELLENT in resolving and maintaining pest problems. HIGHLY RECOMMEND PEST EX. BEST I'VE SEEN IN QUEENSLAND.