Do Termites Bite? Do They Carry Diseases?
Termites are well-known for their wood-eating abilities and the destruction they can do to homes. Being able to feed on such wooden structures, you may be wondering if termites bite people as well.
Termites do bite wood and are aggressive against opposing insects, and they are more than capable of to bite people. However, termites very rarely bite people, so you just need to worry about your home.
When Do Termites Bite?
The primary target of termites are wood and plants and they mostly attack them to feed on them. But this does not rule out the fact that termites won’t bite humans when searching food. As said before, most termites won’t bite humans if they have other sources of food available.
When there is scarce food supply near termite colonies then there are chances that hungry termites might bite people but that’s rare. Termites aren’t aggressive in nature and don’t attack or bite humans out of habit; they only bite humans when they sense any threat to their colony.
Formosan termites belong to the colony’s defense brigade. These soldier termites have dark pincers on a light-colored body and they might pinch humans in their effort to guard their colony against predators.
Termite pincers aren’t venomous; therefore even if they pinch or bite they won’t cause serious illness or disease in humans. A termite crawling over you is indeed a gross feeling but there is no need to feel threatened as their main target is not YOU but your furniture and house’s wooden structure.
Avoid Termite Bites
Although termites aren’t dangerous for humans, if you are facing a severe termite infestation it’s better to keep your kids, pets and yourself away from them.
Avoid termite bites by vacating the place where there is a severe infestation. Call the expert termite exterminators and stay away till the place is cleared. Though termites aren’t habitual of attacking or biting humans, it’s not impossible. Avoidance and prevention never hurt.
Are Termites’ Bites Harmful?
Termites leave tiny red spots when they bite humans. The red spot is similar to a mosquito bite. Termite bites are not more painful than a mosquito bite and won’t cause any serious health problems.
The only thing that people who are bitten by termites will usually feel is irritation on the site of the bite, it’s not something to worry about as this will go away in a day or two. Whereas if a soldier termite bites you in his colony’s defense then you might feel a burning sensation. This is because these termites have mandibles which they use to bite and this result in breaking down cellulose at the stinging site.
Can Termites Make You Sick?
Termites’ bites and stings aren’t toxic and they don’t carry disease-causing germs directly, but sometimes indirectly become a cause several health issues.
Molds and infections due to termites:
Termites are the main source of spreading molds in the environment. Molds grow in a dark environment, when termites crawl through them they disperse them around in the air. They can cause irritation if they come in contact with the skin. If inhaled when passing by these molds, it can cause serious illnesses because some mold species are quite dangerous.
Molds dispersed by termites can aggravate existing skin diseases or become a source of fungal infection, eye infection, and dermatitis in individuals. Their presence can also trigger Histoplasmosis.
Molds release toxic compounds, so in case of termite infestation, there will be an excess of molds in the air. If inhaled, these can cause serious lung diseases like Aspergilloma. Aspergilloma is the condition in which mold start growing in your lungs, and it’s lethal. Their toxicity isn’t limited to lung infections; mold exposure can result in memory loss and serious neurological disorders which can result in death.
Most common problems that people bitten by termites will face are irritation, skin diseases, and allergic reactions.
People having sensitive skin, which is prone to allergies, will suffer allergic reactions from termite bites if they are sensitive towards termite saliva. People also can get serious infections or allergies if they come into contact with termite droppings.
Termites’ presence can turn mild asthma into a chronic illness because of dust and irritating particles dispersed from their nests. The chronic asthma condition can result in severe symptoms like cystic fibrosis or Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis.
Ventilation and heating systems contribute largely in spreading dust particles of termite nests.
Sick Building Syndrome:
Termites sometimes are detrimental for health as they can cause a fungal infection known as Sick Building Syndrome or SBS. Common symptoms of SBS are headaches, chronic asthma, and skin irritation. If there is no apparent reason behind these symptoms, then there is a possibility that fungi dispersed by termites have caused SBS.
Are Termite Bites Harmful to Pets?
Yes, termite bites and stings are harmful to pets too and pets can suffer from dermatitis because of their bites.
If a pet suffers from inflammation and pain, first give a half dose of human decongestant medicine to your pet. Don’t let your pet scratch the stung area and never apply decongestant lotion on the site because it can cause poisoning if the pet licks it. Giving your pet a cool shower will calm down the burning sensation caused by the sting.
Harmful effects of Pesticides
Most people don’t face any health problems due to termite infestation, but the chemicals which are used to exterminate termites can result in allergic or respiratory problems.
Sometimes the DIY methods to remove termites like buying pesticides and spraying them on your own can cause serious health issues. People sometimes give less time to pesticides to dissipate properly and fulfill their work of killing termites. When they enter the house too soon, they may get sick.
Treatment for a Termite Bite
Termites bites are usually confused with mosquito bites because of red spots or ants’ bites because of their resemblance with ants. First, understand which insect you’ve been bitten by and then take remedies accordingly.
Usually, the pain and irritation caused by a termite bite go away in a couple of days and it’s not intense in nature for which you will need medical help. Apply hydrocortisone cream to the affected area if the pain or irritation persists, this will help in healing.
Usually, the pain and burning sensation recover on its own, but if it didn’t subside in a couple of days then it’s better to visit a doctor. It’s possible that you are confusing some other insect’s bite with a termite bite.
Bites by soldier termites are most painful among their all species, they result in burning sensations and their strong mandibles sometimes draw blood from your body. But they rarely bite humans and bite only when they feel threatened.
Termites and termite bites don’t pose any serious health problem directly. However, if you’re facing a severe termite infestation it can directly harm your house or indirectly cause several diseases. It’s better to contact professional exterminators to eradicate these termites from your house for good.***