Are Termites Harmful to Humans?

When people discover they have a termite infestation at home, their first concern is how it is going to affect their home’s structural integrity. This is completely understandable as termite infestations cause billions in structural damage each year. But have you ever wondered if termites are harmful to humans?

How termites can be harmful to humans

1. Termites bite

Termites bite humans. Thankfully, termites are really not that interested in humans, so even though they technically bite, they are not likely to do so. Termites are just not in the habit of biting people. Those that do are more likely to be soldier termites just trying to defend their colony. The others are too busy building the colony and safeguarding themselves deep within their nest.

In the unlikely scenario that you have been bitten by termites, you still don’t have a big problem in your hands. Termites are not known to spread diseases and their bites are not strong enough to cause serious damage. With that said, termite bites can still burn and result in red bumps.

2. Termites can trigger allergies and other conditions

Even though termite bites are not considered serious health risks, you shouldn’t be complacent. They can burn because termite saliva has strong properties that help termites feed on wood. They can result in red bumps like insect bites. And they can lead to allergy, irritation, and even infection if you don’t care for them.

Termites can also trigger asthma and other respiratory conditions, primarily because of the spread of mildews, molds, and spores on your property when there is a termite infestation. Your respiratory system may react negatively when these are inhaled. You can also experience coughing and sneezing.

3. Termites may cause structures to collapse

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you – termites thrive on wood. This wood can be anything in your home. It can be a door or a window. It can be a fence or a wall. And worst of all, it can be part of your home’s foundation.

Termites are small pests. They are only about 4 to 15 millimeters. It’s impressive to think that these small creatures are capable of bringing a structure down. Yes, it’s technically possible for termites to bring a home down, but it’s also not likely to happen. It will take a long time for them to deal damage significant enough to bring down a structure. Before it happens, you may have already found and gotten rid of them.

However, the risk is still there, no matter how little.

4. Termiticides can be health risks

Termiticides are pesticides meant to kill termites. As such, it’s not surprising that they have chemicals that can be harmful to humans too. They are safe if they are handled properly by competent pest control professionals, but they can be particularly dangerous when handled by amateurs.

Some of the side effects you can experience from termiticide exposure are diarrhea, difficulty breathing and other respiratory problems, nausea, and skin irritation. And humans are not the only ones at risk. Pets and plants are also vulnerable.

5. Termite infestations can lead to psychological problems

Pest infestations of any kind can be psychologically stressful. Termites are particularly stressful because they can be a risk to both your health and your home’s structural integrity. They are also not easy to eliminate. They almost always require pest control professionals, unlike some pests where home remedies may be enough.

Those with termite infestations can experience anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, and stress. All these can compromise their immune system, putting them at risk of more harmful conditions.

Termites can be harmful to humans psychologically.

When to get help

If you think you are experiencing the negative effects of having termites at home, don’t hesitate to get help.

  • You suspect there is a termite infestation on your property. Get help if you think you have termites at home. Here are the signs of a termite infestation – live termites, especially swarms, mud tubes, termite droppings, and compromised wooden structures like awkward-fitting doors and windows and hollow walls.
  • You know for sure there is an infestation. Act quickly once you have confirmed you have a termite infestation. New infestations are easier to deal with. More mature infestations are spread out and are likely to require more invasive and potent termite control methods such as termite tenting.
  • You feel the health risks. If you feel any of the symptoms enumerated above, seek medical attention immediately. This is especially true if you have been exposed to termiticide.

Avoid the harmful effects of termites

Indeed, termites can be harmful to humans. But you don’t have to be vulnerable. Here are some things you can do to avoid harm.

  • Call a pest control professional. Sure, there are home remedies you can try to get rid of the infestation yourself. But it’s almost always better to hire a pest control professional instead. Termites are resilient pests and they are better handled by those who truly know what they are doing.
  • Inform your landlord of your termite problem. If you are renting a termite-infested property, your first course of action is to inform your landlord. They are responsible for making the rental property livable. They may be required to pay for the pest control professional who will handle your case. But there are exceptions, like when it’s proven that the infestation has occurred because of your own doing. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to communicate with your landlord.
  • Prevent termites from thriving on your property. Prevention is better than cure. If you can prevent termite infestations, you will not be at risk of the harmful effects of termites on humans. The best way to prevent termites is to consult with a pest control professional. They will be able to assess risks, diagnose problems, and offer preventive measures and solutions.
Preventing termites is better than getting rid of infestations.

Termites can be harmful to humans

Termites can bite humans. They can trigger allergies and other conditions. They can cause structures to collapse on you. Termite infestations can also have a psychological toll on you, and termite control methods can have side effects.

Fortunately, termites are not invulnerable. With the proper help, you can eliminate infestations and prevent them from coming back.

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