Termites can bite people, animals, and other bugs, but, normally, humans don’t need to worry about termite bites. When termites do bite people, termite bites rarely cause any harm beyond a minor pinch, possibly drawing a little blood.
Termites have a caste known as the soldier or king caste. This termite caste is similar to soldier bees or ants (different hive-type insects have somewhat similar social structures) whose sole purpose in life is to protect their colony.
Soldier termites’ bodies are more suited than worker termite bodies are for defending their termite colonies from invading enemy insects like ants.
Unless you provoke termite swarmers they will typically not harm you. Many people have had all kinds of flying termites land on them and not a single one caused them any harm. You can just lightly brush them off and if they did get into your home from the outside you can easily vacuum them up. If they came from inside your home (walls, trim, etc.) you should get a professional termite inspection conducted as soon as possible.
What kinds of termites are capable of biting or pinching humans?
There are some larger species of termites such as the mastotermes or formosan termites who can draw some blood with their bites.
There are probably other species that I am not well acquainted with from other parts of our planet that could bite as well. If you know of any please let the rest of us know in the comments below.
If you think you got bitten by a termite you may want to do a double look and make sure it is not actually an ant.
If I’m not being bitten by termites, what is biting me?
Some other possibilities are lice, mites, fleas, or bedbugs. Sometimes these tiny pests can infest your home are remain mostly unseen, but if they start biting you, you are going to notice!
They are, however, a whole different issue than termites, and should be treated with methods designed specifically for controlling them.
Do termites bite people often?
No, it is uncommon for termites to bite humans. Some people do report termite bites happening, although this is more often than not a misidentification of pests.
So, at the end of the day, if you find termites in your home, you don’t need to worry much about them munching on you or your pets.
What you should be concerned about is the damage that they can do to your home.
If you find these little “white ants” in or near your home, shed, wooden fence, etc. don’t hesitate to contact a pest control professional to conduct an inspection. If you have termites in or near your home, you’ll want professional advice about your options are for eliminating these bugs.
Don’t let them go on unchecked, because they will end up costing you thousands of dollars. The average price for termite treatment and repair of damages is over $8,000.
You can answer a few questions below and get several free termite control quotes
Frequently Asked Questions About Termite Bites
Are termite bites dangerous?
Termite bites are not known for being dangerous to either humans or animals. At most, they will typically leave a small red bump and feel like a little pinch. Some soldier termites can even pierce your skin. They may also itch for a few days although this is rare.
If your symptoms are worse than this you were most likely bitten by some other insect. In this case, it would be a good idea to see a doctor to to rule out anything dangerous.
What do termite bites look like?
Usually, a bite from a termite will just leave a small red bump. Rarely the bump may swell a bit in people with sensitive skin. This skin may itch slightly although usually not and the bump should subside within 1 – 3 days.
Do termites sting? What about flying termites?
No, neither regular termites nor flying termites sting. They do not have the anatomical capability to sting you however they have powerful (for an insect) mandibles that they can pinch you with. Particularly, the soldier termites that defend their colonies have the strongest jaws and can pinch the strongest.
If you’re human, don’t worry about termites hurting you (just your house). It’s not impossible for termites to bite humans, but termites mostly avoid people.
More resources on termite bites
- Wound treatment and selective help in a termite-hunting ant – NIH
- Do Termites Eat Mulch? – NeverPest
- Downregulation of Orco and 5-HTT Alters Nestmate Discrimination in the Subterranean Termite Odontotermes formosanus (Shiraki) – NIH
- Do Termites Eat Concrete? – NeverPest