Yes—both literally and figuratively. Termites will bite you and they can take a bite out of your wallet. That’s because hidden termite infestations cause extensive and expensive property damage. In fact, homeowners in the United States spend approximately $5 billion per year on termite damage and treatment. There is no question that termites endanger the integrity of a structure, and the level of destruction will only increase if left untreated.
Aside from the well-known damage termites can cause, are termites dangerous to humans? Yes, but in different ways and to different degrees. Many people wonder, “Is my family in danger?” “Do termites spread diseases?” “Do termites bite people?” As LA and Southern California’s trusted termite control solution for over 25 years, we are uniquely qualified to answer your burning termite questions.
Read on to find out more about termite bites and other health risks, how to spot these dangerous pests, and what to do if you have an infestation.
Do Termites Bite Humans?
Termites can and will bite humans, but it’s rare. Generally speaking, termites aren’t too dangerous to humans. Unlike many spiders, they aren’t venomous, and unlike mosquitos, flies, and cockroaches, they don’t transfer diseases. But termites do bite, and they can also cause other health concerns.
About Termite Bites
Termites prefer isolation and they won’t bite a human unless handled or you accidentally get too close to the colony. Soldier termites protect the colony from ants, insects, and other invaders—and that includes humans. They ward off any kind of threat, whether it’s invading termite colonies or other creatures such as ants. Only the soldier termites have the jaws to bite humans, and a bite won’t be toxic. However, these bites can be harmful if they lead to an allergic reaction.
Although termite bites in Southern California don’t happen often, there is one termite species you should avoid, and that’s Formosan termites. The Formosan soldiers have very strong mandibles they use to defend the colony, and their bite can be pretty painful. Our advice? If you encounter a termite colony, don’t disturb the termite nest. Just call a termite exterminator, and avoid the danger.
Health Problems Caused by Termites
Since termites shed, produce dust, and produce droppings, they can cause an allergic reaction in some people. If you notice that you have itchy skin, watery eyes, asthma attacks, or you’re constantly sneezing, termites may be to blame. While allergic reactions are rare, they may be the first sign that you have a termite infestation.
Dust mites and cockroaches are well-known for releasing pathogens that contribute to the symptoms of allergies and asthma. Because termites are related to cockroaches, it’s natural that termites can create the same types of pathogens. Many insects, including termites, produce proteins that can induce allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues. Formosan subterranean termites, a termite species sometimes found in Southern California, also produces the specific cockroach proteins that aggravate allergies in humans.
Termite feces, or frass, also contains allergens, and it’s thought that even termite mud tubes can contain pathogens that are harmful to humans. In spring and other times of the year, termite swarming season can fill the air with termite allergens, which can cause asthma and allergy symptoms to increase. While not directly attributed to termites, mold spores that develop in damp and decomposing wood in a home’s structure are also a termite-related health concern.
Mold is often a byproduct of a termite infestation because termites love damp wood and it’s their preferred food choice. Once mold begins to grow, the termites can easily spread it from one area to another as they build tunnels and eat away at your home. Mold produces spores that can get into your home’s indoor air, causing an array of respiratory issues.
Mold spores are known to cause headaches, fatigue, coughing, irritated throat, burning eyes, and a runny nose. Certain types of mold spores, like histoplasmosis, can cause fungal infections and other reactions. For those with asthma, mold spores can contribute to the development of bronchopulmonary aspergilloma, a condition that can be very dangerous.
Hire experts to perform a termite inspection in your home—we provide free termite inspection services for folks throughout Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
Structural Damage to the Home
As stated above, termite infestations put homes in danger. Termites undermine the integrity of a home because they consume wood. Perhaps you’ve heard the idiom to “eat someone out of house and home.” Well, termites can do this literally! They can go unnoticed for years on end, and a colony can literally eat the structure of your home.
This is why it is crucial for you to stay on top of termite treatments. In the early stages, termite damage can be remedied, and your home won’t be in immediate danger. However, if termites are left unchecked, eventually your home may be deemed structurally unsound, and you’ll be left with a home that requires repairs (or, in extreme cases, may need to be demolished).
Your home will also lose value as termites consume its wood, and it may be difficult to sell your home if you choose to put it on the market. A home inspector may note the termite damage and reduce the value of your home. If you notice any signs of termites, don’t delay. Termites will continue to consume wood throughout your home, and a single colony can split and spread to other areas of your home, which will double the problem at hand.
What are Signs of a Termite Infestation?
Termite droppings (frass) that look like small wood pellets are one of the most common signs of a termite infestation. While swarming termites are the most obvious evidence of a termite infestation, also look out for termite wings these swarmers leave behind. In addition, subterranean termites create mud tubes that serve as evidence of infestation.
Evidence of a termite infestation may also be hollow-sounding wood or sagging or blistering wood floors. You may also notice signs of termites in trees, lumber, firewood, and other wood around your property. Keep an eye out for mud tunnels and blowholes, and tunnels underneath bark. You may even be able to see termites in action if you split the wood.
It’s Time to Call Hi-Tech Termite Control
For premier termite control services, count on us here at Hi-Tech. With twenty-five years of experience, we are termite control experts, and we proudly serve Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties. Whether you need preventive termite infestation treatments or you suspect you may have termites, we’ve got you covered.
We perform termite inspections to reveal the severity of the problem and the source of your infestation, then prescribe the best termite treatment. We provide extermination services, including chemical treatments, alternative microwave termite treatments, and, as a last resort, home tenting fumigation for termites. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to us today!