Termites are one of the most feared insects. And this is with good reason. Home owners definitely should fear the damage that they do. But many people think that they are more powerful than they really are. As with any fear, knowledge tells us when we should have healthy fear, and when we are inhibited by our fear. So, can termites bite? Yes, termites can bite you, but it is rare. Soldier termites have large mandibles that they use to protect their colony from invasion.
Termites are social insects that live in colonies underground. These insects have many predators. Because of this, they must protect themselves. But because they live underground, and only seek to protect themselves, it is rare that someone is bitten by a termite. You would have to be either handling a soldier termite, or doing something to invade their colony.
As a social insect, termites have three castes. The reproductives are the king and queen of the colony, and then alates, or winged termites meant to go and start a new colony. The queen is tasked with laying all of the eggs. The next caste is the worker caste. These termites feed and take care of the young, dig and build mud tubes, and find and transport food back to the colony.
The final caste is the soldier termite. These termites have a very large head and pair of mandibles, compared to the other termites. The sole purpose of these termites is to protect the colony from invaders. Termites have many predators. Their most fought predator, though, are ants. Ants will overrun a termite colony with their numbers and take eggs and young for food.
Termites are actually very fragile. They require very humid conditions. Without added moisture in the air, they will dry out and die. This is why they stay underground and build tubes to maintain the humid underground air. This is one of the main reasons why people are rarely bitten by termites. If ants find and attack one of their tubes, they will send a soldier termite down the tube and then seal it off behind him.
The truth is that soldier termites don’t defeat incoming ant attacks, they simply slow it down. Their large heads block the pathway of the incoming onslaught. Their mandibles will slice through some of the ants, but the sheer numbers overtake the soldier termite. But hopefully for the termites, before the soldier is overtaken and moved, the termites have sealed off the tube.
So it is unlikely that most people would come into contact with a soldier termite, unless you are digging or stick your finger inside a tube. Even if you found one, they are very slow moving. Their heads are very large and heavy compared to their bodies, making them slow movers.
DO WINGED TERMITES BITE?
Often people will see swarmers in a field or outdoors somewhere. Sometimes they even see them in their house. They will often ask, Do they bite? The answer is no. Even soldier termites, with their larger mandibles have a hard time biting large creatures such as us. But winged termites, or alates, are not purposed to defend a colony, but to create another one.
The alates will leave the colony in late spring to swarm with other reproductives from other colonies. They will pair up, king and queen, and then land somewhere where they will burrow into the ground in order to start a new colony. At this point they lose their wings. After making an adequate chamber underground, they will mate and begin laying eggs. Other than flying, swarmers have no other defense against predators. Very few alates actually get to create a new colony because bird and other predators make quick work of them.
DANGERS OF TERMITES
Even though termites do not pose a biting or stinging threat, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have dangers involved with them. Termites eat wood. If you have them in your home, they could be eating major structural supports. This means that, over time, the could cause your floor or roof to collapse. This can be very dangerous.
If you are having issues with termites, don’t let this problem get worse. It’s time to contact an Oklahoma pest control company to assess the damage and give you an estimate on eliminating your infestation. There are many modern solutions to this problem that can safely remove them from your home. Call an Oklahoma exterminator, such as TermMax Pest Control, today.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BITTEN
If you do find yourself at the wrong end of a soldier bite, don’t panic. Often these bites are so small, that people don’t realize that they’ve been bitten. They are much like mosquito bites. A small welt may arise and it may itch for a few days. After a few days, it will subside. If the welt is large, or it does persist, you may have been bitten by something else, or you may be having an allergic reaction. Start by seeing a medical professional to make sure that everything is ok. After that, call a reputable Tulsa exterminator to identify and eliminate whatever pest you may have.
If you are having issues with any pest, it may be time to call a Tulsa pest control company. Here at TermMax Pest Control, we will be happy to provide a free estimate for you. We are here to help!