Termites are quite common pests and if you have seen a winged termite in your basement or near your windowsill, then you know you already have a problem. They gather in large groups and feast off of the wood contained in your home. Like many insect infestations, even if you see one of these tiny insects, you are likely to be dealing with an infestation.
Seeing these winged and worker termites may first leave you wondering whether or not they are actual termites. They are similar in size and shape to ants, but their colors differ. While they may not be as easily identified, they can cause thousands of dollars in property damage.
As these insects scurry around each with their jobs of tunneling, procreating or defending the colony, you may wonder if more than your home is in danger. After seeing a group of termites, you may be inclined to ask, “Will termites bite me?”
Do Termites Bite Humans?
Termites may bite humans, but their primary target is wood and plant life. This does not mean that you will not be bitten by a hungry termite, but it is less likely to happen if the termite colony has other sources for food.
Formosan termites have pincers that are darker than the rest of their bodies. These insects are the colony’s main defense against predators. They may pinch if picked up, but the pinches are not believed to result in illness or disease in humans.
Termite bites are rare, but have been known to occur when the food supply is scarce. They are not aggressive insects, but they keep their focus centered on the needs of the colony. This means that it is not typical for a termite to bite you, but they may do so if threatened.
If one crawls on you, this could leave you feeling grossed out, but termites do not pose a dangerous threat to humans. In fact, they would much rather tunnel into your property unnoticed and eat through your wooden structures while keeping under the radar.
In cases of severe infestation, it is best to be safe and keep yourself, pets and children away from these insects. While a bite may not harm you, infestations may cause allergic reactions or asthma attacks.
Avoid Being Bitten by Termites
It is quite easy to avoid being bitten by a termite. If you suspect an infestation, it is best to contact a reputable pest control company to remedy the problem.
Termites are slow creatures and avoidance can consist of removing yourself, family members, and pets from the home until the infestation is cleared. It is not common to be bitten by termites, but it is not out of the realm of possibility.
How Bad Are Termite Bites?
In the event that you have been bitten by a termite, you will notice a tiny red dot which is its point of contact with your body.
Being bitten by a termite isn’t much different than being bitten by a mosquito. If you feel anything at all after being bitten, you will not suffer any health problems as a result.
Irritation in the area should subside within a few days, but you do not risk infection or disease because of the bite. If you’ve been bitten by a soldier termite, you may experience the burning of the insect’s mandible which is what they use to break down the cellulose.
These types of bites are not harmful to humans, but can sting at the area of contact.
How to Treat a Termite Bite
Before treating a termite bite, make sure that it was a termite that bit you. Many people have mistaken termites for ants, so check for the insect’s color to be a creamy white color. This will let you know if the insect is a termite so that you can take the necessary precautions.
It is common for the pain and irritation of a termite bite to clear up on its own over the course of a day or two. If burning, pain, or irritation persists, you may get some relief from hydrocortisone cream applied to the affected area.
If the pain or burning persists for a longer period of time, it is best to seek medical attention. In some cases, you may not be suffering from a termite bite, so it’s in your best interests to know for sure.
Soldier termite bites are the worst because their mandibles are strong and may draw blood. Soldiers are tasked with the defense of the colony, so a bite is likely if they feel you pose a threat. Their bites are the most likely to cause pain to humans, but this happens in rare occasions.