Watch Out! Dangers & Health Risks of Termites

Have you noticed small piles of sawdust mysteriously appearing on your floors and window sills? Or maybe you’re seeing drooping or discolored sections of drywall. 

If so, you may have a termite problem. 

You may wonder, “can termites cause a lot of damage?” 

The short answer is: yes. Every year in the United States, about 600,000 homes are damaged by termites. In total, they cause $5 billion in repair costs for homeowners. And that’s not including more than $40 billion in damage done to lumbers and agricultural industries. 

What’s more, termites can pose significant health risks to humans.

It’s essential to inform yourself of the dangers of termites. Read on to learn about the harmful effects of termites and what to do if you suspect you have a termite infestation. 

Can Termites Cause a Lot of Damage?

Termites are wildly considered to be the most destructive pest to have in your home. And for a good reason. 

Termites can cost an individual homeowner tens of thousands of dollars in repairs or even destroy a home. They can make a home unsafe to live in by eating through wooden support beams, making it dangerous to be inside.

Moreover, many homeowners’ insurance policies won’t cover damage done by termites. This is because it is viewed as preventable by the homeowner through routine maintenance. 

But most people don’t realize they have a termite infestation until the damage is already extreme. Termites often come up through damp wood near your foundation. Once inside, they tend to stay inside the walls and out of sight.

By the time they’ve chewed through to the interior of your home, they’ve likely already done severe damage to your foundation and structural components. 

Where do termites do the most damage? Termites can be found throughout the entire continental United States. While they prefer warmer, humid climates, homes as far north as Massachusetts and Oregon are considered high risk. 

Effects of Termites on Humans

Can termites harm the human body?

While termites don’t technically “bite,” they do have strong pincers that they use to break up wood before ingesting it. This helps them with their digestive process. Good news for them, bad news for you, as it makes it even easier for them to destroy the wood in your home.

They can use those pincers to pinch you. That pinch can be very painful, similar to a bee sting, and result in itching, swelling, and burning. 

Can you get sick from termites in your house? 

While it’s rare that termites directly transmit diseases to humans, they do pose indirect health risks. 

Termite feces can also be a problem. Referred to as “frass,” termite feces looks like tiny clumps of sawdust. Frass can cause sneezing, coughing, and flu-like symptoms if inhaled. It can also cause hives and rashes if it comes in contact with human skin.  

In addition, because they are attracted to damp and moist areas, termites also spread mold and mildew. As they eat through wood affected by mold and mildew, they will spread the spores throughout your home. 

This is bad for your home of course, because it hastens damage due to mold. But in addition, mold spores can negatively affect your respiratory system, especially for sensitive individuals or those with compromised immune systems.  

How to Prevent Termites

Preventative measures are the best way to protect you and your family from the dangers of termites. The worst termite danger can be avoided with careful vigilance and early action. 

Here are steps you can take to prevent a termite infestation. 

1. Eliminate Wood Contact With Soil

Any place where wood is in direct contact with soil invites subterranean termites to come up and feast. Prevent this by maintaining a 1-inch gap between wood structures and the soil. 

2. Avoid Water Accumulation Near Your Foundation

Water damage near your foundation encourages mold and mildew growth. It also creates damp, humid environments. Both of these are significant attractants for termites. Prevent this by creating adequate drainage and ventilation underneath your home and in crawl spaces 

3. Don’t Keep Excess Wood Near The House

Wood that is stored near or underneath the house will attract termites to your home. In addition, decorative mulch and wood chips should be used sparingly. If you do use mulch or wood chips, choose a naturally pest-resistant wood, like redwood or cedar. 

4. Look Out for Signs of Infestation

Catching an infestation early can save you thousands of dollars in damages to your home. At least once a year, look out for the common signs of termite infestation around your home. 

A good time to do this is after early spring. This is when termites will “swarm” to establish new colonies and when most new infestations occur. 

5. Contact a Termite Control Company at the First Sign of Termites

Termites are rarely found alone. If you’re seeing one, you likely already have an infestation. Contact a pest control company as soon as possible once you’re detected any sign of a termite problem.  

Though it may be tempting to try inexpensive home remedies, going with trained experts will save you money in damages in the long run. 

A professional can thoroughly examine your home to diagnose the problem. They’ll also be able to ensure that eggs and larvae are entirely destroyed. This will prevent a colony from establishing itself after initial extermination efforts. 

Get Rid of Termites & Eliminate The Dangers

The answer to “Can termites cause a lot of damage?” is an indisputable yes. Termites cost homeowners thousands of dollars in property damages. Not to mention the dangers and health risks they pose to your and your loved ones. 

Have you noticed the signs of a termite problem in your home? Don’t wait to get it inspected by a professional.

At NJ Pest Control, our team of experts can handle all your pest-control needs fast and effectively. Call today to schedule a walk-through and get a plan and a quote to get rid of termites once and for all.