Unbelievable but True: do Termites Bite Humans?
Termites are often referred to as ants by mistake and considered close relatives of cockroaches. They live mainly in warmer tropical countries.
Of course, most termites prefer Africa, where strong termite mounds form a huge city of these insects, but it is worth noting that these insects are extremely hardy and are starting to fill the North countries, taking advantage of the benefits of human civilization.
They spend the winter in warm, heated rooms and in summer they go in search of new territories.
Termites are the development from larvae to adult, skipping the pupal stage. This means that the appearing of these insects is quite unlike the helpless soft larvae of other insect species.
Freely moving on the mound, the larvae develop and transform into one of the three modifications of the adult termite: worker, soldier or going through the stage of nymphs, winged termites, having acquired thus the wings.
Surprisingly, termites can easily digest almost all products as in their splitting the little bacteria-symbionts which live in the body of workers individuals, help the insects.
The latter are responsible for the nutrition of the whole mound, nourishing the special secretions and larvae, soldiers, whose mandibles are not adapted for self-catering.
But do not think that only wood is in the diet of termites.
The course is everything: the decaying remains of animals, various plants, and even fungi — the main food of the young larvae, which termites bred, arranging the whole plantation on previously manured soil.
There is no doubt that for people, termites are a danger because of their addiction to wood.
A small termite colony, acting under the cover of night, is likely for a few days to eat a huge tree or a house from the inside, working so carefully that no one will suspect a trick until the moment when the outer shell is literally falling apart under the arm.
Moreover sometimes termites may cause direct harm to people – they may bite them.
Do termites bite humans?
Yes, termite bites humans. You shouldn’t think that these little insects are quite harmless. They can bring damage not only to wooden buildings, but also man himself. Some thinks that the bite of a termite can be dangerous to humans.
Another interesting question that people are often worried about do termite bites itch? Yes, of course.
In addition, people having allergies may have from mild to very severe stage with possible fatal outcome, the cause of which is pulmonary edema.
Also the symptoms of the bite can become spasms in the throat when breathing, severe dizziness, abdominal pain, shock and loss of consciousness.
But it’s almost impossible for common people, only for allergist.
There are only few cases of attacks by termites, when the person manifests the symptoms.
Be careful: Termites will not bite people without any reason. Often they can attack the insects that are trying to attack them.
Only soldiers and kings can bite a man, but their jaws are so small that often you may not even notice and not feel it.
That is what happens most often. Some species of termites that are bigger may also bite people. This is the Mastotermes or Formosan which are capable of biting and even drawing some blood.
To sum up, if you are worried about can termites bite you, then we highly recommend you do not provoke them as it has been mentioned above they do not bite without any reason.
How do termites’ bites look like?
As already mentioned before, only in very rare cases the bites of termites can be dangerous and only if a person is allergic. Therefore, in general, the bites of termites are not harmful for people and pets.
The worst thing that can happen is the appearance of red spots on the skin and the bite is virtually painless and you may not feel it at all. This stain may not disappear until several days.
Bites of termites can be even taken for mosquito bites. There may be mild swelling and slight itching, which should pass quickly. But this happens very rarely for people with sensitive skin and this can last up to 3 days.
If after 3 days the swelling persists, you should contact your doctor as it is possible that you were bitten by another insect. Other possible culprits are mites, fleas, lice or bedbugs pinball.
See on pictures below what do termite bites look like:
Can termites bite pets?
Do termites bite dogs (cats and so on) that live at home? The answer is they can bite, technically, but they won’t. They eat cellulose and things which contain it.
Also, as they can’t attack the person and infect it. They are very small and also fairly slow to attack rapidly.
Nevertheless, if the termites have bitten your pet, nothing bad will happen and you will not even find a trace on the site of the bite or in extreme cases, it may have a small red spot, the same as by the bite of another insect.
How to protect yourself from termites’ bites?
To avoid bites from termites, you need to protect your home and prevent their occurrence.
- Most often termites enter the house through the places where wood contact with the ground. It means that it’s better to place the wood siding, door/window frames and other wood items at least 6 inches above the ground;
- Termites have a hidden lifestyle and they very seldom come out. They love moisture and sunlight. So if it is hot outside, take all the wooden furniture outside to dry it out. Or if you have an opportunity, you can freeze the termites in a large fridge;
- Check out all the wooden structures in the house and in the garden (especially the old trees and the woodpile) and if you find the rotten parts, remove them immediately and replace with a new one;
- Thoroughly inspect your attic and basement, make sure it’s dry, as termites love to settle down in places where they have access to moisture;
- Treat all wood construction with special solutions that are sold in hardware stores.
If you interested in more information of termites we recommend you to read the following articles:
- All types of termites. Are they harmful to humans? And what is the difference between drywood and subterranean ones?
- What does swarmers of different species look like: drywood, subterranean, formosan?
- Signs of infestation outside and in the house: in walls or furniture.
- What does termite holes look like? What is droppings and is it toxic to humans? Do termites make noises?
- Posible termite damage, how does it look like? Examples of damage in walls and wood floors.
- All about flying termites: how do they look like, swarming season and what to do if there are swarmers in your house?
- How do they do nests and mounds? How to find it in your garden or inside the house?
Watch video below and learn how termite can bite finger:
Many people assume that termites can bring serious harm to their health. It’s unlikely that you will be bitten by termites if you don’t even touch them.
Of course, if you try to ruin their nest they will defend their homes and try to attack, but they are so small in comparison to a person and are not be able to cause you serious harm.
Consequently, the termites won’t attack unless they are threaten or handled. If you were bitten by a termite, don’t worry and don’t panic, the bite won’t bring infection.
But if you are worried about your health, check out in a hospital to make sure that you do not have infectious diseases.
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