What Is This Stuff?

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Answered
This "dust" keeps appearing below the molding in one of my first-story rooms. I vacuum it up, it comes back within a few weeks. Any idea what it is? Thank you.
q what is this stuff, wall decor, woodworking projects
q what is this stuff, wall decor, woodworking projects
  31 answers
  • Kelly Christianson Kelly Christianson on Oct 02, 2013
    If you have old plaster and lath walls, it could be the plaster disintegrating into dust. Every time the house moves, dust will fall. Just a thought...

  • Carole Carole on Oct 02, 2013
    Get someone out to check for woodworm, borer or termites, whatever you get in your area. My friend had this. It seems something is chewing through your timber. You need to act fast as you don't know what damage might be beneath the walls and in your roof and floorboards. Please don't delay in getting this sorted/treated as the damage critters can do to the framework of your home is phenomenal and very expensive to repair if left unchecked.

  • Erika K Erika K on Oct 03, 2013
    Thanks, everyone. Will definitely look into it.

  • I agree with Carole and Bruno - most likely caused by insects unless something else is causing vibration along that wall (washer/dryer? your drum set?)

  • Bonnie Lewenza Bonnie Lewenza on Oct 04, 2013
    I had this down in my basement as the walls are plastered and my house is 100 years old. I got out my steamer and blasted them and haven't had a problem since. Nothing can survive them hot temps.

  • Holly VanScyoc Holly VanScyoc on Oct 04, 2013
    Yes I agree if thi sis wood better check for termites, They are invasive and will quickly turn a beautiful home into a bottomless money pit for all the repairs and insect sprays you will be doing/buying Good Luck!

  • I doubt termites but carpenter ants is a possibility. Or you have a critter such as a mouse making a home behind the wall area. It is time to call a pest pro for this one. It appears to be what is called Frass commonly left behind carpenter ants.

  • Erika K Erika K on Oct 08, 2013
    Thanks, everyone. We've had two estimates and both said carpenter ants -- which is a much better problem to have than termites!

  • Keller Pest Control Keller Pest Control on Oct 08, 2013
    Hey Kelly not trying to rain on your parade but that's not necessarily true since Carpenter Ants go hand in hand with termites. Termites are 90% sugar water and ants especially carpenter ants love them. And carpenter ants do as much damage as termites just different termites eat wood or cellulose out of wood. Carpenter ants just destroy it and live inside of the wood. The dust in the picture was it wood shavings? . It looks more greyish. How old is your house? Does it have lath and plaster or newer construction type wood. Is there any small ants running around that area. May not be carpenter ants may be ground nesting ant bringing up dirt. Or termites. But may also be just natural decay from moisture is there any leaks or caulking needed. It does not look like carpenter ant frass from the picture. Do you see any large black ants in that area of the house or on the outside. Or for that matter anywhere around the house. Look for eraser size hole around the house with ants coming in and out. The company should have been able to use an aerosol material and flushed them out of the wall for you to see.

  • Keller Pest Control Keller Pest Control on Oct 08, 2013
    It really looks like clumps of drywall or plaster not wood, Could just be old decaying drywall or plaster or insulation.

  • Gail Gail on Apr 28, 2015
    Did this home ever have blown in insulation. We had some in our attic and it was forever creeping down in strange places. I know lots of houses had it blown in the walls from holes on the outside.

  • Omniman Omniman on Jun 03, 2015
    animals.....lil ones

  • Danette Overdorff Danette Overdorff on Sep 07, 2015
    A wood bores!

  • Kincaid99 Kincaid99 on Dec 05, 2015
    we had a stucco house with plaster walls with red brick between them, we had red dust come out the baseboards, so we knew it was the dust from the bricks. I just put some wood filler along the baseboard to stop the red dust from collecting on the floor.

  • Snapoutofit Snapoutofit on Dec 06, 2015
    From Carpenter Ants?

  • UpState UpState on Dec 10, 2015
    Probably those stinking baby squirrels...night time activities for the young ones. So annoying !

  • Darrel Rose Darrel Rose on Dec 16, 2015
    or it could be termites, my mother had the same thing in her sunroom so she had a exterminator come out to look and he said Termites

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Dec 16, 2015
    Here is a useful link on insect frass: http://www.termite-control.com/termite-infested-homes/protection/is-sawdust-a-sign-of-termites/ It could also be drywall or plaster dust since it is very white, or DE (diatomaceous earth) sprinkled in outlets or behind baseboards to keep insects away.

  • Nancy Nancy on Mar 21, 2016
    You may have termites

  • Becky Becky on Mar 21, 2016
    We had that when we lived in base housing in Hawaii. I thought it was termites, but the bug guy came out and said it was actually sort of an "ant cemetery" . When its full, it spills out from under the wall.

  • Martha Martha on May 11, 2016
    I'm thinking carpenter ants. We had insulation dust falling from around a ceiling light fixture. Then we found winged ant bodies on a window sill. Carpenter ants! They tunnel in wood (in our case, insulation) and build colonies there. They go outside to get food -- they are not the same kind of ants that are sometimes a problem in kitchens. There are several sizes of ants in the colony. You didn't say where you live. Here in the Northwest, carpenter ants are more common than termites.

  • Smi2142518 Smi2142518 on Jun 08, 2016
    Definitely termites

  • Judy Judy on Sep 13, 2016
    termites leave sawdust....

  • Jamie Jamie on Oct 21, 2016
    I recently had carpets cleaned. The owner told me if base boards and crown molding are not secured tightly the dust would accumulate at the base board. If there were carpet it would be darker. Forced air (heat ) blows across floor.

  • Smi2142518 Smi2142518 on Oct 22, 2016
    I still say termites. Termites appeared x and x again!

  • Judy Judy on Oct 22, 2016
    Is it wood? Insulation? or something else....termites go after wood...and they leave sawdust....hard to tell by a picture what it is. Almost looks like asbestos....hope not.

    • Tin13057546 Tin13057546 on Oct 23, 2016
      I doubt seriously it's asbestos. It looks granular and asbestos is a long fiber similar to the look of fiberglass.

  • Gina Valdez Gina Valdez on Oct 22, 2016
    Get some diatomaceous earth and a condiment bottle with a pointy top. After you vacuum up the dust... spray the DE under there and on the top of the baseboard. Work it in... then remove the excess. DE kills termites and it doesn't harm pets. Also kills ants, roaches, centipedes - most bugs.

  • We28518635 We28518635 on Oct 22, 2016
    a friend had carpenter ants and her window sills looked just like this If I were you I would have an inspection by a professional.

  • Ajo13003706 Ajo13003706 on Oct 29, 2016
    Termites