Do termites bite? Symptoms, risks, treatments and elimination

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Termites are invertebrate insects that live in colonies and feed on wood and other plant material. Termite bites pose no risk to humans and are very rare. Termites are more dangerous to humans because of the damage they can cause to wood in homes.

Termites stay in dark, often damp areas. Termites are white and light brown in color, and they have straight antennae. Termite colonies can range from two to millions of insects. The queen and king are the largest termites in the colony and the workers are the smallest.

The different types of termites in the United States include:

  • underground termite
  • wet wood termite
  • dry wood termite

They live in wood in houses or buildings, or in natural areas like forests. In the United States, they live in all states other than Alaska. There are 2,600 species of termites in the world.

Termites very rarely bite humans. Although you may have a termite infestation in your home, they do not seek out humans or other living creatures like parasites, which feed on blood. Termites eat wood and other plant material.

There are several types of termites in a colony. A termite with the potential to bite you is the soldier, but again, this is unlikely.

Soldiers have more developed and stronger mouthparts than worker termites to repel predators like ants. Their heads are larger than worker termites and brown rather than white. They don’t have wings or eyes.

A bite on your skin is more likely to be caused by another insect, such as:

Winged termites are not a risk to humans. Some termites in a well-developed colony develop wings to swarm in hot weather, mate, and create a new colony. They have wings of the same size and straight antennae. They can be yellow or black. They don’t bite people.

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Termite bites are rare but have been described as causing small red bumps to form on the skin. Brian Smith / Flickr

You are unlikely to notice a termite bite. Insects have very small jaws, and they rarely bite humans or even animals.

It’s much more likely that another type of insect caused your bite. Symptoms of insect bites usually occur on your skin. Your skin may appear:

  • reddish color
  • lifted and inflated
  • irritated
  • itchy
  • painful

If your symptoms worsen, do not subside over time, or may be from a more dangerous insect, see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Termites are not like some insects that carry potential disease with them when they bite. A termite bite is rare and is said to be very slight due to the size and bite ability of the insect.

You are likely to be infected through an insect bite or a skin opening. Keep an eye on the bite area and call a doctor if you develop a fever or if the bite area looks or gets worse over time.

Your insect bite is unlikely to be from a termite, but if you have been near a termite mound and have noticed any bite symptoms, there are some general home precautions you can take to treat it. Here are some general first aid tips for insect bites.

  • Wash the bite area with soap and water.
  • Apply a cold compress for discomfort.
  • Observe the area for any changes, such as increased swelling or pain. You can use over-the-counter products like antihistamines for the swelling or itching, or acetaminophen for the pain.

See a doctor if you are not sure what type of insect bitten you, if your symptoms get worse over time, or if you have any signs of infection such as a fever. Also see an emergency doctor if you are short of breath or if you feel light-headed or light-headed.

Although the health risks of a termite bite are very low, it is a very dangerous species to humans because it can destroy homes. An infestation of a termite colony in your home can lead to structural damage. This can make your home unsafe and require major repairs.

Termites enter homes and other buildings and eat the wood inside the structure. This digs into the wood and makes it unstable.

There are several ways to prevent and reduce termite infestations:

  • Build a barrier between a concrete foundation with a gap between the ground and the wood in a new construction.
  • Seal wood surfaces in new construction.
  • Make sure your yard and the area around your home’s foundation are well-drained.
  • Maintain the exterior of your home and fill in any cracks or holes that appear on the exterior.
  • Don’t allow water to pool in or around your home.
  • Cut back any plants that might be near any openings in your home.
  • Avoid stacking wood near your house.
  • Inspect or hire an exterminator to regularly monitor your home for termites, for holes in the wood, or for insects themselves.

You can treat termites by creating barriers that prevent them from entering your structure or by trapping them. You can try natural treatments or chemical treatments.

Call a pest control expert to help you remove termites from your home and prevent further damage. Some treatments will include applications of chemicals throughout the house, while others will treat the infestation itself. You can use a combination of treatments.

Termites can come back, so be sure to inspect them regularly and try to keep the area around your home dry and sealed so that bugs cannot enter your home.

It is unlikely that a termite will bite you. They feed on wood and live in dark environments. A noticeable insect bite is more likely to be from a different insect. Watch for the insect bite and treat it with basic first aid. Call a doctor if your symptoms get worse over time.


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