Once you realize your home has termites, the questions can keep you up at night. Do termites bite? Can these bites be dangerous to my family’s health? There’s already a lot to worry about when it comes to termites. Should termite bites be another concern to add to the list? In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions. Keep reading to understand the nature of termite bites and how to deal with them. 

Can Termites Bite Humans?

The simple answer is yes; termites can bite humans, but it doesn’t happen often.  Within termite colonies, there is a grouping known as king insects or soldiers. Soldier termites are responsible for protecting the colony. This is very similar to the community structure of bees or ants. 

Soldier termites’ primary purpose is to defend the colony from invaders. They do not feed directly on wood; instead, they rely on worker termites to bring food to them. This is because their large, strong jaws keep them from feeding on the wood in your home. Soldier termites are the only termites that can bite, but they tend not to do so.

If you do get bitten by a termite, you may feel a pinch, but that’s likely the extent of it. You don’t have to worry about your pets; soldier termites aren’t known to bite them either. These termites are very slow. Even if you or your pets encounter one, you can move away from them much quicker than they can catch you.

Once a termite matures, it will sprout wings and move faster, but flying termites are also not a great cause for concern in regards to biting. The species that is most capable of biting is the Formosan termite. The good news is that they are a subterranean species that humans don’t often interact with. They prefer to live within the walls and foundation of a house.

What to Do if You’re Bitten by a Termite

Though termite saliva is designed to split cellulose, the bite and saliva are both harmless to humans. Termite bites often go unnoticed. Those who have felt the bite have compared it to the feeling of a mosquito bite. You’re more likely to notice the pinch if it happens in a sensitive, thin, or tender area, but otherwise, the only sign is a small red bump at the site of the bite.

The most obvious sign of a termite bite is a small red spot. It will become visible immediately after the bite occurs, then disappear within 48 hours. At worst, there will be some mild itching and irritation. If you’re struggling with itchiness, hydrocortisone cream can help in the meantime.

If a few days have gone by and you’re still dealing with symptoms of itching, swelling, or severe pain, call a doctor as soon as possible for an examination. You may have been bitten by a different bug that can cause worse side effects. 

Do Swarming/Winged Termites Bite?

winged termite

Since termites live inside walls or under houses most of the time, people usually only come into direct contact with winged termites. These are called swarmers.

Swarmers tend to make their way inside through windows right before rain hits. They are prevalent between late February and early June Termite swarmers are only harmful if you agitate them, but most of the time, they do not pose any real threat.

Winged termites are often mistaken for ants, so people have concerns about them entering the house and causing problems.  Unlike ants, swarmer termites will often come and go within 24 hours, and they don’t have mandibles that are strong enough to bite or puncture human skin.

However, it is still important to consult a pest control professional if you see swarmers. They are often indicators of a termite infestation nearby. It’s easy to mistake termites for other biting insects, which can be an unnecessary worry. If possible, take a closer look. If you see creamy, white-colored bodies moving at a much slower pace, it’s likely just termites. If you see other pests or have a bite with more serious side effects, you should call a doctor to eliminate other possibilities. 

How Do You Know If It’s a Termite That Bit You?

The only way to truly know if it was a termite is by calling a pest professional who can identify the insects inside your home or on your property. There are many other possible culprits, including bedbugs, mites, lice, or even fleas.

All of these pests can invade your house without notice, so you may not even know they are there. Once any of these insects start biting, however, they are hard to stop.  If this is the case, you need to call a pest control company as soon as possible to handle the problem.

What Are the Dangers of Termite Bites?

Termite bites aren’t considered dangerous. In a worst-case scenario, termite bites might leave a small red bump at the site of the bite, and you might feel a tiny pinch when they bite.

You might feel slightly itchy at first, but that likely won’t last long and will subside soon after the bite.  You might not know a termite has bitten since termite bites produce such minor side effects.

Additionally, termite bites aren’t known to cause any more serious illnesses, as can happen with bedbugs or fleas. If you have severe symptoms after getting bitten by what you believe to be a termite, chances are you were bitten by something else.

Call a doctor if that’s the case, as you’ll need to be examined and have other more serious bites ruled out.

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Do Termites Bite Humans Often?

termite on a finger

Thankfully, termites do not bite humans often. Most cases of “termite bites” are actually ant bites or mosquito bites, mistaken for termite bites. If you encounter termites in your home, the best way to avoid the risk of termite bites is to get rid of the infestation.

The EPA recommends making changes to make your home less attractive to termites. You can do this by keeping exposed wood away from the house, keeping cracks in the walls sealed, and fixing leaks immediately.

When that’s not enough, you’ll need to rely on an experienced pest control company.  If you believe termites are infesting your home, call Stampede Pest Control. Our experts will inspect your property, identify any termite hot spots, and create an expert plan to remove them. Termite problems can’t be ignored and won’t get better on their own. Call our Texas termite experts today for a free quote!