Can a termite bite me?

John e-mailed in this question:

"Good Day,

I recently purchased a home that I knew had some issue's with termites. The day I contracted my home inspector to do both the home and termite inspection, the exterminating company showed up to check the monitoring stations that were positioned outside the home.

This morning, my wife & I noticed hundreds of termites swarming in a room were we have seen damage.

My question is, besides the swarming all over part, we have two young kids. Do they pose any threat to kids? Do they bite, or do they only feed on wood??

Thanks"

Termites are not dangerous to people, so you don't have to worry about getting hurt by them.

With most species, the Soldier termites, which live inside the colony and attack invaders, could bite you.

Workers sometimes can as well. They can't sting, but they can bite.
 

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 Unlike fire ants, they don't have a venom in their bite that could harm you, so it would just be like a regular bug bite. And even then, the soldiers don't leave the colony. Unless you stick your hand into the colony itself, you're not going to get bitten.

The flying kind that are swarming around are reproductives - they don't bite, and will mainly just annoy you (and risk staring a new colony). You need to get rid of them, but you don't have to worry about them hurting your kids.

Sources and Useful Links:

http://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/aimg26.html

http://www.tigertermite.com/termite-picture.htm

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