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Are Termites Harmful to Humans? 5 Hidden Health Risks

Most pests pose health concerns to humans. Ants are known for their painful bites, while mosquitoes are famous for spreading malaria. What about termites? Are termites harmful to humans?

Most people think of termites as pests that destroy homes by chewing on wood. Only a few have concerns about what these pests can do to their health.

Unlike mosquitoes and bed bugs, termites don’t rely on human blood to survive. That’s why it’s rare for people to complain about termite bites.

But that doesn’t mean these pests can’t bite humans. So, are termites harmful to humans when they bite? Let’s dig deeper into that question.

How are Termites Harmful to Humans?

Even though the primary goal of termites is to eat wooden structures in your home, they can cause health problems as a by-product. Here are five such problems:

Skin Allergy

Usually, termites don’t bite humans as a source of food. They stay hidden most of the time and hardly come into contact with humans. But the soldier termites, which are bigger than the workers, can bite when they feel threatened.

Although their bites can sting, they’re generally harmless to most people. But those with sensitive skin can develop allergic reactions, such as itchiness, swelling, redness, and a burning sensation. Additionally, if you have used pesticides in recent termite treatments, some surviving termites can carry and spread the chemical. You might get contact dermatitis or pesticide poisoning when open skin touches that chemical.

Respiratory Irritation and Asthma

Studies show there’s a connection between termites and asthma. A house with termite nests is characterized by termite droppings and wood dust. This dust usually ends up in the air, especially when blown by the air conditioning system.

Furthermore, termites can contribute to mold in the house or worsen the condition. They can cause disturbances to the mold, spreading it through the air. When an asthmatic person inhales the air, it can lead to an irritating throat, burning eyes, and a runny nose. In cases of severe infestations, it can lead to inflammation of the respiratory system and asthma attacks.

Fungal Infections

Termites may not cause fungal infections directly, but they can be carriers of fungi. They have a symbiotic relationship with certain types of fungi, which they cultivate in their nests for food. The fungi feed on the termites’ waste, and the termites eat the fungi. In that process, the pests collect fungal spores on their bodies and spread them as they move.

For instance, a fungus called Aspergillus fumigatus can be found in a termite colony and can cause respiratory infections in humans who inhale its spores. Fortunately, most people have strong immunities to resist such infections. Plus, a single termite can only transport a negligible quantity of fungi, which is less risky. But people with weak immunity can be at risk of health problems.


Besides fungal infections and allergies, termites are dangerous to humans in other ways. One of them is an accident. A heavy termite infestation can cause severe damage to wooden structures. They can weaken wooden floors and beams, making them prone to collapse.

This can lead to accidents and injuries to the people in the house.

Also, termites can chew on electrical cables while trying to access softwood. The risk is even higher if these cables pass through a termite colony. You might experience electrocution and potential damage to your electronics.


Even when you don’t encounter allergies or accidents, a severe termite infestation can stress you. First, you might harbor some concerns about the loss of value of your house due to termite activities. Secondly, every time you have an infestation, you suffer financial loss owing to termite control processes. And to make matters worse, the problem might be recurrent.

When to Call Termite Control Experts

Even though termites present a lower health risk to humans than other pests, in some cases, they can cause direct and indirect health problems. These include asthma, allergic reactions, fungal infections, and stress. Most people have strong immunities that can resist termite-related infections. Therefore, the greatest risk that termites present remains the damage they cause to wooden structures.

When it comes to dealing with termites, it’s best to call a pest control company immediately after you discover the pests. That’s because most of the damage remains hidden behind the walls. Taking the step to call for help sooner prevents the damage from worsening. If you need professional pest control services, ranging from termite prevention to treatment, contact McDonald Pest Control today to eliminate termites and keep your home and occupants safe.