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Do Termites Bite?


Did you know that there are over 3,100 known species of termites worldwide? Of these, nearly 3,000 are living species. Not all are pests, but unfortunately, many of them are.

Some termites that classify as pests are all over the United States, except Alaska. And of the states plagued by these wood-feeding insects, Florida has it the worst.

Indeed, the Sunshine State is the termite capital of the U.S., home to 23 species.

With termites being so prevalent, it makes sense that you’d want to know if, like other critters, they bite.

So, do termites bite people and animals? What other risks do they pose, and how can you avoid them?

This guide tackles all those questions and concerns, so read on.

Do Termites Bite?

Yes, termites can bite humans and animals, but they rarely do. Unlike blood-sucking fleas, mosquitoes, or bed bugs, they don’t actively seek out humans. Their diet consists of cellulose, including wood and plant materials. 

When Do Termites Bite?

Like many other critters, termites can bite if they feel threatened. Again, this is unlikely, but it can happen if someone digs around the area where the colony is. Likewise, a bite can occur when handling live termites. 

Which Types of Termites Can Bite?

A termite colony consists of three types or “castes”: soldiers, workers, and reproductive. The soldiers are the most likely to bite out of these three, as their role is to protect the colony.

Because of their protective role, soldier termites are typically larger than workers. They also have distinct-shaped heads and protruding mandibles (jaws). They use their jaws to protect their colonies, biting other insects or, in rare cases, humans and pets.

What Do Termite Bites Look Like?

Even though termites can bite humans, their jaws are too small to leave noticeable marks. So if you have a bug bite, something else likely caused it unless you noticed it after being near a termite colony. Typical bug bite symptoms include redness, swelling, and itchiness on the affected site.

In the unlikely event that you get a termite bite, you may not even exhibit any signs. If you do, the symptoms will likely disappear quickly.

If the symptoms persist, the bite is likely from a different insect, such as a flea or a bed bug. The likelihood is even higher if it’s very itchy, dark red, or purple.

You may also suffer from more than one bite. Flea bites often appear in clusters of three or more. Bed bug bites can be in a line or a zigzag pattern. 

Should You Worry About Termites, Then?

Yes, you should.

While termites rarely bite humans and animals, that doesn’t make them any less harmful. They can pose dangers by eating away at your home’s structure and weakening it. They can cause floor, wall, and ceiling damage severe enough to make them collapse.

If those parts of your home were to cave in on someone, they could result in severe injuries.

A termite infestation can also wreak thousands of dollars in property damage. Indeed, entomology experts say they cost Floridians millions of dollars yearly. That amount includes the cost of property damage, damage repair, and termite treatment. 

Where Can You Find Termite Colonies?

While termite colonies are often underground, they can form above and inside homes. This depends on the species.

Drywood termites often nest in dead trees or fallen logs. Over time, they expand their reach by moving into your home’s lumber.

Dampwood termites, as their name suggests, prefer damp environments. These include moist wood in basements, crawl spaces, or flooded homes.

Subterranean termites are those that typically nest underground. However, you can also find them inside damaged wood and mud tubes. 

How Do You Prevent Termite Bites?

While the odds of a termite biting you are low, you should still do everything to eliminate all risks. This includes not poking mud tubes, disturbing possible nests, and touching live insects. You should also wear gloves and a long-sleeve shirt when moving a fallen or dead log while gardening. 

What’s Next?

If you think you have a termite bite or, even worse, an infestation, call a licensed pest control company ASAP. The sooner you do, the sooner the pros can check if you indeed have termites. Upon discovery, they can promptly start the treatment to eliminate the infestation.

But why should you invest in professional pest control services to get rid of termites?

A good enough reason is that termite colonies can establish quickly. They don’t sleep, and their queens can lay up to four eggs every minute. As a result, a single colony can consist of up to a million individual termites.

Professional termite treatments that use innovative baiting systems can wipe out entire colonies. These baits work against workers and other colony members, including the queen. If set up correctly, they can even eradicate multiple colonies.

Once gone, you can then worry less about termite bites and property damage. However, you should still do your due diligence in preventing future infestations. This includes making your home less attractive to termites by:

  • Addressing water leaks promptly
  • Not planting trees and shrubs too close to your home
  • Keeping firewood at least 20 feet away from the house
  • Filling cracks in foundations
  • Patching holes with caulk, cement, or grout
  • Practicing proper lawn grading and drainage

As a final preventive tip, schedule your home for regular termite inspections. This can help keep new colonies from becoming established. 

Keep Your Home Termite-Free

Now you know that the answer to the question, do termites bite, is yes, they do. Luckily, it rarely happens and may not even cause symptoms.

Still, that doesn’t mean termites aren’t harmful, or it’s okay to ignore them. The fact that they cause so much property damage should be enough reason to worry about them.

So if you suspect termites have invaded your Florida home, call us here at All U Need Pest Control. We’ll get to the bottom of what’s bugging you and flush them out so you can regain control of your home. 

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