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Many people who encounter termites around their house or yard wonder if these destructive creatures are also a health hazard to humans and whether they can make them sick.
So, let’s dive right into it.
Are Termites Dangerous To Humans?
Termites are not dangerous and they do not affect people much. Even though they are capable of biting and stinging just like any other insect, they can do no harm to humans.
Termites are not known to be a health hazard to humans because they do not transmit diseases that are harmful to people. However, some people living in homes with termite infestation are likely to suffer from allergic reactions and even asthma attacks. Also, it has been found that those who are allergic to wood dust can find it disturbing to live in a house struck by termites.
The only danger that termites can pose is when structures in the house, such as wooden steps or flooring, become severely weakened by termites’ feeding activity causing people to get injured when the structure breaks. Termites can do a lot of damage before homeowners are even aware of their presence, and people can end up getting seriously injured when an accident happens as a result of damaged wood to the point of collapse.
Do Termites Bite?
Technically, termites are likely to bite humans or pets if they feel threatened. But don’t have a tendency to bite, and even when they do, their bites and stings are not serious or toxic and they don’t carry disease-causing germs. Thus, any contact with the human body will not cause any sort of infection.
Most people who are bitten by a termite experience only mild pain or irritation and a small red spot that goes away within a day or two.
Can Termites in Your House Make You Sick?
Since termites are not known to do harm to humans by spreading disease, having a termite infestation in your house can have an indirect impact on your health and make you sick in a number of ways.
One of the main reasons is that these insects attract mold. Due to their feeding activity, wooden structures are being decomposed, and the decaying wood is susceptible to mold growth. If you live in a home where mold is growing on the walls, ceiling, or in the attic, the mold can cause allergies or other health issues for you and your family.
Sometimes termites are a sign of a hidden moisture issue as mold and termites thrive in the same kind of dark and humid environment, which can contribute to health problems.
Also, the accumulation of moisture leads to mold and other bacteria that contribute to air pollution. This might be a reason for termites within the walls or ceilings, resulting in the release of a foul odor that will have a bad effect on human health.
In particular, if you have an allergy or other chronic respiratory problem, exposure to mold particles that termites spread through the air can make you feel unwell. There’s a high risk that mold spread by termites traveling throughout your home could land on food or be inhaled. Mold can cause fungal infections, skin diseases, and mild or severe asthma. Some people may also develop allergies to termites.
In this case, termites are simply a trigger because the illness is not directly caused by termites.
Another indirect way in which the presence of termites makes you sick is through direct contact with different termite treatments that some homeowners opt to use in trying to get rid of these pests from their properties.
Can Termites Cause Health Issues?
Typically, termites do not forage on humans and are harmless to healthy people. However, as we’ve established above, they can still bring possible health issues for some people who may experience complications that are mostly related to an existing health condition.
There are several health risks known to be associated with termites:
Skin allergies and irritation –
Skin irritation, diseases, and allergic reactions are the most common problems that people bitten by termites will face.
Those who have skin that’s vulnerable to allergies and sensitive to termite saliva will suffer an allergic reaction from a termite bite.
In addition, if termites persist after the pest control treatment, their bodies might contain residues of the termiticides. In case of direct contact, skin irritation may occur.
Allergies or respiratory irritation –
Exposure to wood pellets or frass (termite droppings) that termites produce as the by-product of their wood-eating activity may trigger allergies. Some people who are allergic to termite droppings will get serious infections or allergies if they come into direct contact with the frass.
Respiratory irritation is caused by the wood dust that someone with a lingering health condition inhaled.
What is more, the HVAC system in the house will contribute to the spread of the allergens. An air purifier may help decrease the number of allergens indoors, but until the termite infestation is eliminated, the health issue will never stop.
Asthma attacks –
The presence of these pests in your house can turn mild asthma into a chronic illness because wood dust and irritating particles from termites’ nests are being dispersed. Also, dust particles from the nests will be spread in large amounts by the ventilation and heating systems throughout the house.
Asthma sufferers might experience recurring attacks when termite infestation becomes widespread.
Fungal Infection –
For people who have open wounds and persistent infections, the droppings and wood dust produced by termites can worsen the fungal infection.
Sick building syndrome (SBS) –
Termites can also be harmful to health as they can cause a fungal infection known as Sick Building Syndrome, or SBS, where occupants experience acute health and discomfort issues such as chronic headaches. It’s possible that fungi dispersed by termites lead to SBS.
Termites are not dangerous in the conventional sense because they don’t spread disease and rarely bite. Still, they could make you sick with concern when you realize they are destroying your home. You won’t be able to sleep peacefully since the termite infestation will keep you awake at night. As a result, the lack of sleep can make you sick. Other than that, termites are not harmful to humans.
To prevent further damage to your home, it’s better to call in a professional pest control company such as ChemFree Exterminating in Orange County, CA. We will properly assess the situation and do a termite treatment upon the discovery of an infestation.