In the wider sphere of biology, the frequent habitation of one species with another can cause certain allergic reactions, this is true of humans and common pets, as it is also true of humans living under a pest infestation. Termites are not inherently dangerous to humans, however, there are circumstances where health problems can be a concern with a termite problem.
Can termites make you sick? Termites are an invasive pest that poses no direct harm to humans in terms of bites or diseases. With this in mind, individuals with allergies could potentially become sick or ill by active termites within a home.
Termites usually consist of thousands of members inside of one colony, a colony that resides inside of the wood structures of your home. The insects feed on cellulose that is found inside of wood and workers spend hours each day harvesting this compound from wood with shredding mandibles that extract the substance from wood.
During this process, tiny particles of wood are released into the atmosphere of the home that appears as common dust. This can be problematic for individuals who suffer from asthma or any other bronchial or respiratory ailments.
HVAC and heating systems can also aggregate the dust and spread it evenly throughout your home. Allergic reactions from termite waste and saliva are also possible. Apart from respiratory or allergic reactions, termites do not carry diseases and termites alone are not specifically harmful to humans or pets.
If you do get bitten by a termite, wash the bite and apply an ointment. Apart from minimal treatment, the bite should subside in a few days. Rest assured that this pest species causes no major harm to humans and bites will likely only occur if you encounter a soldier termite outside of a colony.
Can Termite Droppings Make You Sick?
In the wider argument of possible health problems related to a termite infestation, there are no direct threats in terms of communicable or contagious health problems that termites may pose to humans. According to the Royal Society, there are certain possibilities of possible contagions being passed to humans who are undergoing an infestation of subterranean termites.
These possible health concerns are specifically related to termite droppings or frass. Frass is basically termite waste, which consists primarily of wood mixed with termite saliva and gastric enzymes.
The inhalation of frass can cause certain allergic reactions to humans who are susceptible to allergies, which is why termite control is crucial to avoid these situations as much as possible. Frass can usually be found outside of infested wood structures within or around the home.
Efforts should be suppressed to clean the waste until a pest control professional can make an accurate diagnosis since termites and carpenter ants both produce frass. Frass does not always make you sick and if you suffer from no problems with allergies, there are no direct reasons to have cause for concern regarding your health.
Can Termites Cause Mold?
When it comes to the well-being of your house, you may find that mold and termites can sometimes be a dual combination. This is not because termites cause mold specifically, but more because mold and termites both thrive in moist conditions with adequate wood cellulose.
Both are living organisms and both can be classified as pests. The damage that termites cause is likely more substantial than a mold outbreak and both pests can be difficult to control.
Mold is a living substance caused by an increased amount of moisture in either ultra-dry or humid conditions. Wood is susceptible to mold due to the moisture present in wood cellulose, which is the same substance that termites need to survive.
If you have both problems in your house at the same time, neither is the cause of the other flourishing, rather there is likely a problem with air circulation in your home. Pests also tend to thrive more in humid and warm environments as opposed to cool and dry ones.
Termites do not cause mold, yet it is not completely uncommon to have both problems existing in the home at the same time. Mold is certainly a more serious concern regarding potential health issues and control of the problem should be handled immediately.
Can Termites Live in the Human Body?
Thankfully, although not all that mentally reassuring, termites cannot live within the human body. Unlike other pests, termites are not parasitic insects and the damage they cause is related to your house more than anything else.
Termites do not feed on blood, in fact, they have no interest in humans whatsoever. Termite control is all about saving a home from damage, not easing a painful bite or possible disease, as seen in bed bugs or cockroaches.
The only inherent dangers posed by termites involve structural damage to a house, infrequent but not uncommon bite possibilities, and problems with allergies.
Can Termites Make My Home Dangerous?
Perhaps even more so than any possible health issues, there is cause for concern relating to the damage that termites can cause to a home. Structural malfunctions are very common when investigating long-term termite destruction to a house.
Termites spend years eating away at wood, with no concern related to where the wood is positioned. Eaves and ceilings containing cellulose have been known to collapse from this destructive pest.
Support beams, walls, floors, railings, and even furniture have also regularly collapsed within homes with long-term infestations. This is particularly dangerous as all it takes is being under or on top of one of these structures when collapse occurs.
A pest control professional is best-suited to address the destruction caused by termites and can even alert you to if the structure is salvageable or beyond repair.
What Are the Signs of Termites in Your Home?
There are many possible signs to termite activity within a home and pest control professionals will usually begin an inspection that includes a survey of wood degradation and/or the appearance of mud tubes.
Some ways to determine if you suspect termite activity is to look for exit holes on the outer surface of wood structures. These tiny holes are created as entry points as well as holes for flying alates to exit for nuptial flights.
Additionally, the appearance of frass within the home is also another sign that pest control professionals look for when inspecting for termite activity. Less so is the appearance of a bite mark, which is rare with a termite and is hard to diagnose based on the many varieties of pests that bite.
Health issues stemming from termite activity are also possible indicators, yet it can also be difficult to diagnose a health concern specifically related to a termite infestation. It is more beneficial to look for signs of termite damage than it is to treat this species as any other type of common pest.
What Can I Do to Prevent Termite Health Problems?
Prevention is all about adequate treatment. Once this insect invades a home, measures should not cease until every single termite within a colony is eradicated.
Since the structural integrity of your home is also related to health, this should also be a cause for concern in eradicating this pest immediately. If you suffer from allergy problems, eliminating termites should also be a case for urgent and effective removal.
You can consult an exterminator for the most thorough eradication method or, there are indeed several steps you can take to tackle the problem on your own. No matter which method you decide to choose, it is important to know that termites can indeed cause possible health problems, yet the foundation of your home is certainly the most severely affected by their presence.
Becoming sick due to the presence of termites does not occur very often, yet the insects can cause problems for individuals suffering from allergy problems. Termite frass and the release of wood particles into the atmosphere of a home are usually the culprits behind any termite illness.
Although these insects are not deadly or harmful in and of themselves, structural damage is the leading cause of concern to a homeowner's health when dealing with this pest.
Chouvenc, Thomas et al. (2013). Extended disease resistance emerging from the fecal nest of a subterranean termite. Retrieved from https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2013.1885.