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Do Termites Bite People?

Updated on November 10, 2016
lobobrandon profile image

As a person who loves to learn new things each day, Brandon makes it a point to teach others what he's learnt in fun and interactive ways.

Do Termites Bite - Can they really bite people?

A short and quick answer to this question would be "YES", termites can bite, but do they usually bite humans? Luckily for us, they aren't known to bite people. But, don't let this fact prevent you from taking action against a termite infestation.

A Termite biting into Wood
A Termite biting into Wood | Source

Termite Colonies are bustling societies

Termite colonies are basically thriving societies very similar to the ones we live in. They consist of various kinds of termites that have specific functions or jobs. The Queen termite, just like in an Ant colony is the mother and source of life to the entire colony.

The other kinds include worker termites and soldier termites. Worker termites are specialized in consuming wood and damaging your wooden floors, cupboards and furniture; whereas, it is the soldier termites that have mandibles or pincers which they use to bite.

The Termite Queen

This is what a Termite Queen looks like. You're probably saying "Eeek" right now
This is what a Termite Queen looks like. You're probably saying "Eeek" right now | Source

Soldier Termites - Why do they bite?

Soldier Termites as you may have guessed are meant to protect the colony from invaders. They ward of any kind of threat, whether it's invading termite colonies or other creatures such as ants.

One thing that you can be certain about is the fact that if you have one termite colony within your home, you don't have to worry about others as they would clash and fight - Not really great news, but you only have one colony to get rid of, so let's be optimistic.

Have you ever been bit by a Termite

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Formosan Termite - These are the ones that usually bite

Even though it's highly unlikely that termites bite people, there is one species that tops the charts - The Formosan Termite. They are equipped with really strong mandibles and their bite does hurt! The area around the bite would also end up turning red and may seem inflamed, just like a very bad ant bite.

However, it's a fact that termites tend to stay within their own dark tubes and crevices away from contact with other creatures, munching away on the cellulose within your wooden furnishings. Termites are also known to be very slow creatures, hence the probability of them creeping up to you or your pet is very slim.

How to identify the type of Termite infestation at your home

Winged Termites - Do they bite?

As a matter of fact, some termites do grow wings in the later span of their life, this is when it's time for them to move on and form new colonies, but this would call for a whole new article on Flying Termites. There are cases of people complaining about being bitten by flying termites, but we can't really be sure as ants also go through a similar stage and they are known to bite more often.

A reason to be skeptical about this fact is that the termites don't have powerful mandibles at this stage of life, hence they are kind of incapable to bite into human flesh. Therefore, it would be safe to say that winged termites do not bite. But, noticing winged termites in your home is a tell-tale sign that you have a termite infestation.

Soldier Termites in action - Don't try this at home!

Do Termite Bites cause harm?

If by any chance you happen to be one of the unlucky people who suffers from a termite bite, you're probably worried. But, you have no real reason to worry as termite bites are not known to pose any real risks to human beings. But, if they bite you on the web between your fingers or toes, it's going to sting a lot.

Just to be on the safer side though, if a bite results in a rash that persists, you should visit your doctor as you can't always be sure if it were definitely a termite that bit you.

Is your home infested by Termites?

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Take care of a Termite infestation yourself

Hiring professionals to get the job done can be very expensive. So, if you're on a tight budget you may want to check out the guide on "Getting rid of termites yourself", it covers various options right from moist cardboard to waging war using beneficial nematodes.

Coping with Termite bites

As already stated, Termite bites aren't really harmful, but that doesn't necessarily mean there is no pain. It could be either pain, an itch or even a burning sensation. This is due to the fact that the mandibles of termites have an enzyme (You could equate it to Termite saliva) which is usually used to help break down cellulose.

The bite would persist for a day or two and one of the best ways to cope with it is by applying an anti-itch cream. Cortizone is safe, but if you suffer from any kind of allergies, it's always wise to consult your physician for an anti-itch cream that suits you.

Termite mounds in the wild


Termite homes aren't always mounds

There are various kinds of termites, some of which you would have seen in the video above. Dry wood termites are known to build their colonies within your walls. However, other species have their colonies outside your home and build underground tunnels to get into your home.

Unlike what many people presume, termite mounds aren't always visible above the ground. So it can be difficult to detect their presence.



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    • lobobrandon profile image

      Brandon Lobo 2 weeks ago

      Haha yup. Thanks Leland

    • Leland Johnson profile image

      Leland Johnson 2 weeks ago from Midland MI

      Super hub, Brandon. Love your comment "unleash the nematodes." Kind of like "release the Krakken!"

    • lobobrandon profile image

      Brandon Lobo 2 years ago

      You've got a termite problem? That's sad. Nematodes are a great way to get rid of them. But before using nematodes try the cardboard method to get rid of a major portion of the termites. Then unleash the nematodes

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      It never occurred to me that they might bite a person. Since they chew wood it seems that their bite would be painful. Glad to know they are slow creatures. Going to that post on estermination via nematodes.