Ants or Termites?
First, what are we looking at here?
The first and most important thing a pest professional will do is to determine what substance you’re seeing actually is. Drywood Termite dropping is often mistaken for dirt. This particular variety of termite will create very small holes in areas where they are feeding and eject the colony’s fecal matter through these openings. The reoccurring presence of termite fecal pellets is a sure sign of infestation. To determine whether or not what is occurring is from Drywood Termites, look closely at the substance. If the material is uniform and consistent in size and shape, unlike sand or dirt, and without various other material mixed in, there is a strong likelihood you have a termite problem.
Where exactly is it located?
The exact location of the “dirt pile” can also be an important clue as to the culprit. Baseboards and windowsills can collect small amounts of dirt over the normal course of daily life. However, if the dirt appears to be coming out from within the window frame or from behind the baseboard, you’re likely looking at something more significant than just what the wind blew in. Also, if the substance appears to be sticking together and to the wall, as opposed to just having fallen there, this too can be a sign of something more nefarious. Subterranean Termites, unlike their Drywood Termite cousins, need a moist environment, similar to what they find underground, in order to survive. For this reason, Subterranean Termites build mud tubes along the surface of the object they feed on to insulate themselves from the dryer surrounding air. Sometimes this material is pushed through cracks where the window frame meets the wall or along trim board and door frames. This sign of a Subterranean Termite problem will differ from those discussed above. Subterranean termite mud tubes will likely contain both soil and termite feces so it will not have the same uniform consistent shape, and it is also more likely to be sticking to the wall instead of falling to the ground.
Just plain old dirt on the floor?
Though the collection of dirt and debris around doors and windows is a common occurrence, the consistent concentrated buildup of these materials is typically a sign of a pest problem. Some ants common in Port St Lucie and Stuart such as fire ants (Solenopsis Invicta) and Big Headed Ants (Pheidole megacephala) will often bring dirt into homes in an attempt to nest in the walls of the structure. Big Headed Ants, in particular, are becoming increasingly common on the Treasure Coast. Supplanting Fire Ants and the most common yard pest, these small reddish-brown ants are regularly causing panic among homeowners mistaking their frass as evidence of termites. These ants will even build mud tubes similar to termites. For this reason, it’s important to call a professional pest control exterminator in St. Lucie or Martin County to perform an inspection and accurately identify the source of the issue.