San Antonio: (830) 931-1292 | Waco: (254) 224-6744 | College Station: 979-431-3992

San Antonio: (830) 931-1292 Waco: (254) 224-6744 College Station: 979-431-3992

Identifying Termite Exit Holes

Identifying Termite Exit Holes


One of the few signs that will tip you off to the presence of a drywood termite infestation are exit or evacuation holes found on the surface of the wood. These holes are used to kick-out any waste out of the colony, or for swarmers to exit the colony when they set out to start a new nest. Being able to identify these exit holes is important if you want to detect a drywood termite infestation. So what do these holes look like?

The insects that create exit holes

Not all termite species will create exit holes. Subterranean termites, for example, build their colonies underground, and only infest wood to harvest cellulose from it. Drywood termites on the other hand will build their entire colony inside the wood that they consume. For subterranean termites it’s a lot easier to take all the waste out of the wood, and dispose of it somewhere else, while drywood termites do not have this option. There are a number of other insect species that showcase a similar behavior, and these species include carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, bark beetles, and carpenter bees.

Identifying drywood termite exit holes

An exit hole will be around ⅛ of an inch in diameter. The exit holes used for waste will be more visible, since they will remain unplugged, but those used by swarmers when they exit will be plugged using a paste made out of frass, almost immediately after the swarmers have left. This makes the latter exit holes harder to detect, but they will show up as small circles that have a different coloration and texture than the rest of the wood. You can also use the presence of frass to identify an exit hole. As termites throw out the frass out of their colony, it will start to build up near the base of the wood, and it will resemble a pile of sawdust. Noticing these little piles can be easier than looking for the holes themselves.

Dealing with a drywood termite infestation

If you have a drywood termite infestation in the home, your best and most effective option is to get in touch with a pest control specialist, who will either use a localized treatment with insecticide, or recommend a fumigation if the infestation is extensive and has spread to other areas of the house. Contact us today for more information or to set up an appointment.