Are Termites Harmful to People and Pets?

If you are a fan of the television show, “House, MD” you may remember a first season episode called, “Detox.”  In this episode, the disease-of-the-week (spoiler alert) turns out to be acute naphthalene toxicity from termites.

While it makes for a great story, and it was (Hugh Laurie was nominated for an Emmy for best actor for that episode), the chances of a person getting naphthalene toxicity from termites is incredibly low. 

Naphthalene is the ingredient in mothballs that gives them a distinctive smell and its effectiveness.  Certain termites have learned that the use of this odorous and poisonous chemical keeps predators, like ants, away from their colonies.

Considering that it is the Formosan Termite that uses naphthalene, the chances of seeing this issue in Sacramento is, well, zero.  Formosan Termites are subterranean, but they are more common in the South, and the only times they have been seen in California, it was around San Diego.

Unlike other pests, termites are not vectors for any known diseases.  They are also not known for biting.  As a matter of fact, in most cases, termites cannot bite.  The only termites that can bite are the soldiers. 

If you decided to handle termites you found without protection or gloves, the soldier termites could bite.   Termite bites can be painful and unpleasant. You may develop some red spots or a rash, but again, unless you are going out of your way to find and hold them, the chances of termites biting people or pets are extremely low.   A good rule of thumb is not to disturb a termite colony.  Call us, and we’ll take care of it.

Even though termites do not carry any known diseases and do not bite, termites can cause health issues.

Termites like damp environments.  A home with damp environments is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Termite activity can release that mold and mildew into the air, and the spores can aggravate allergies in some people and trigger severe asthma attacks in others.

When you call Pinnacle Pest Control for a termite inspection, we will look at all the places where there may be termite activity.  Since these are the same places where mold would be, our inspection would find the mold before termites had a chance to disturb it, causing the spores to travel throughout the house.

While termites are not a direct threat to your health, their activity can cause secondary issues, leading to serious health issues.  Not to mention that the damage that termites can cause to your home can be extreme if left untreated for long enough.

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