Please see the pictures. Single small hole in the drywall. The debris is from one day. Is this a termite exit hole? We live in Sacramento - Central California. I can't find any other signs. The rest of the drywall is clean.

We had some bathroom work done about 5 months ago, which included opening an exterior wall. There was some water damage to an exterior wall, but no obvious termite damage. The bathroom door is about 4 feet away. This is an interior hallway wall.

hole in wall near ceiling one day's debris

  • If it is termites you can hear them chewing at the wood, but the surroundings need to be dead quiet. Carpenter ants too. Termites shun the light, when they need too "go outside" they build a tube to crawl through. Carpenter ants not so. They are huge in size about a 1/2" long.... Since there is a repair there anyway cut it open to about 8" square and look inside. Listen for buzzing first as in wasps or yellow jackets, things of that nature. that would be bad.... it is an interior wall so that is not likely.
    – Jack
    Feb 17, 2014 at 12:35
  • Does not look like termites to me. They got in a wall in our previous home. We could see raised tunnels on the surface of the drywall, and multiple tiny holes. Your hole, and the quantity of debris on the floor looks more like a burrowing insect.
    – getterdun
    Feb 17, 2014 at 16:00
  • @Jack, I'll cut the wall open next week. We have guest coming and my wife doesn't want an open wall. I couldn't hear anything.
    – Bill
    Feb 17, 2014 at 17:15
  • That looks like something went in to the wall, not came out. If it was digging out, the dust would have fallen in to the wall. All of your dust is outside. Since the hole is in the middle of a featureless painted expanse, I don't think it's a bug.
    – longneck
    Feb 21, 2014 at 1:59

1 Answer 1


I've dealt with several carpenter ant nests in houses. One thing I've found very useful is to have a good shopvac handy when opening the wall, either form the inside or the outside, to vacuum up the ants and eggs.

Also, you mentioned water damage. Carpenter ants use rotted wood for their tunneling, never dry solid wood. Termites - I'm not an expert but my reading says they prefer solid wood because they digest the cellulose fibers in the wood and rotted wood those fibers are not so much there. So I'm leaning towards thinking you have carpenter ants. I live in Michigan, FWIW.

If you do have carpenter ants, vacuuming most of them up, spraying ant spray as far into the wall cavity as you can go, and replacing the rotted wood and fixing the cause of rotted wood will almost certainly fix your problem. These steps have worked for me.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.