Is it dangerous to live in a house with termites? Can these insect pests make you sick? Here is the issue.
Anytime there’s termite presence within or around a home, the natural response is panic. This is understandable because termites are known to be highly destructive.
However, panic does nothing to solve the problem.
You’ll have to take drastic actions to have them eliminated.
Termite Health Risks
So, what problems exactly do termites pose? Are they dangerous? Are they harmful to humans? Will they cause any sort of sickness, allergies, or any other type of personal danger?
These are the questions we’ll be discussing.
Here, we’re focused not on the type of damage caused to property but to find out if any danger is posed to humans by their presence.
Are Termites Harmful to Humans?
In attempting to provide answers to the question asked, it’s important to state that humans aren’t preyed on by termites. Another way of saying this is that termites pose no threat to human safety unless of course, it has to do with damaged structures suddenly collapsing on humans.
Unlike parasitic pests (like mosquitoes), termites have nothing to do with humans apart from targeting human dwellings for food sources (cellulose-rich materials).
As a matter of fact, termites can cause a lot of damage to your property without your knowledge.
That is to say, the goal is to find food that has nothing to do with you as a person. Quite a lot of cellulose-rich materials are found in buildings.
These include timber or wood, papers, cartons, and so many others. None of those includes human blood.
Should that be Good News?
Of course, it should be good news.
At least it’s one problem less when compared to blood-sucking pests or parasites like fleas, bed bugs, mosquitoes, ticks, lice, and the likes which target human hosts.
However, you’ll need to consider or rationalize the type of problem caused by termites.
A Different Kind of Problem
As a property or homeowner, the last thing you want is for such property to be infested with termites.
These highly destructive insect pests can inflict heavy damage to your building when their presence remains undetected for a significant period of time.
It only becomes noticeable when the damage has reached an advanced stage such as hollow-sounding timber among others. The scary prospect of irreversible damage leading to loss of property is equally as painful.
As a matter of fact, it’s the main threat faced by homeowners.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), about 600,000 homes are destroyed by termites each year in the United States alone.
In response to such destruction, about $5 billion is spent on control measures alone.
What’s their Defense Mechanism Like?
It’s normal to find pests and none-pests insects with defense mechanisms or systems in place. This is seen in bees, ants, and so on. For bees, any sign of perceived threat is met by aggression in the form of stings.
For ants, bites are common. So, can the same be said for termites?
Do termites respond like other insects with bites or stings? Not at all! Termites have a different kind of defense mechanism that doesn’t involve stings.
This simply means no harm or danger is posed to humans when termite territory or colony is encroached upon.
Their natural response or defense mechanism involves the construction of mud tubes through which they move to and from a food source. We earlier said their preferred food sources are items or materials rich in cellulose.
Lots of that at found in buildings and around human dwellings.
The mud tubes used as defense mechanisms connect termite colonies with food sources. This makes it easier to spot. A walk around a termite-infested area is likely to show mud tubes crisscrossing the area.
Although termites won’t cause physical harm in terms of bites or stings, their activities result in health problems for humans. However, not everyone will react the same way, which is why allergies are common with a few people.
So, what leads to such allergies?
When termites feed on wood, dust is produced. Apart from dust, there’s termite shedding as well as droppings. All of these are likely to result in allergies for some people.
The easiest way to identify such allergies is through noticeable symptoms like constant sneezing, asthmatic attacks as well as watery eyes.
Certain symptoms may include watery eyes.
While this is the case, it’s important to state that termite allergies aren’t that common. Plus, such allergies may be due to other factors and not necessarily due to termite presence.
How do termites cause respiratory issues?
Such can be attributed to their feeding behavior. Termites always seek out damp wood. While feeding on such wood, they inevitably create the perfect condition for mold growth.
This is further aggravated by continued feeding action on wood. As damage spreads, so do mold. Before long, mold spreads extensively to other areas. The result is an increased release of mold spores.
Though tiny, mold spores have a significant impact on health.
They are inhaled and cause all sorts of respiratory health issues.
These may develop into more severe respiratory diseases. Affected persons may experience coughing, burning eyes, headaches, runny nose, fatigue, and irritated throat.
Finding the cause of such respiratory problems is the key. If you’ve experienced any of these, you might want to call for professional pest control while also seeking medical attention.
Such problems should cease immediately after these pests are eliminated.
Signs of Termite Presence
To limit any form of the danger posed by termites such as those mentioned above, you’ll need to know what to look out for.
In other words, identifying tell-tale signs of termite damage will give you the desired relief you seek.
You don’t want to have both your property and health in jeopardy.
First, carry out a visual inspection of your home. You’re seeking to find frass (termite droppings) around. These look like wood pellets.
Apart from this, another way to identify termite presence is when there’s a swarm. Their presence is revealed by scattered wings. Also, hollow-sounding wood is proof that termites have been busy.
The best response to a termite problem is to have a reputable pest management company pay a visit to inspect and perform necessary treatments.
Never waste precious time on DIY treatments as these aren’t very effective.
There you go! Although no physical harm is caused or inflicted by termites, their destructive activities lead to all sorts of problems in the form of health issues. As discussed above.
- What Do Termites Look Like?
- Do Termites Bite People? Preventing Exposure To Human Skin
- Termite Droppings But No Termites: Here Is Why
- How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Termites?