Home » Termites » Can You Live in a House With Termites?

Can You Live in a House With Termites?

If you have found termites in your home, you may start to wonder if it is even safe to live there anymore. 

Generally, it is safe to live in a house with termites until they have caused significant structural damage. Once they have severely affected a home, its occupants could face dangerous problems, such as weak flooring. Also, termites can cause allergy symptoms and worsen asthma. 

Can Termites Make a Home Unsafe to Live In? 

Close-up photo of termite's pathway on the wall.

Yes, termites can definitely make a house unsafe for those living there. 

However, if your termite infestation is relatively new, you are most likely fine living in the house. 

In general, it takes anywhere between 3 and 15 years for termites to do enough damage to make a home unsafe. 

This timeframe is so large because how long it takes termites to wreck a house depends on factors like the size of the colony and the home’s age. 

If termites have destroyed your home to the point of making it unsafe to live in, you will start to notice issues, such as: 

  • Peeling or bubbling paint that looks similar to water damage 
  • Small holes in the drywall 
  • Chew marks or unexplained damage to wooden structures 
  • Floors that sag or feel weak when you step on them 

If you notice any of these problems, you should call a pest expert immediately, and they will be able to give you guidance on whether your house is dangerous for you and your family. 

Typically, in a home with significant termite damage, the most likely danger you will face is the chance of falling through the floor or stairs. 

Thus, if you must enter a home with severe termite damage, be extra careful where you walk. 

Furthermore, many people don’t realize that certain types of termites have jaws strong enough to chew through electrical wires. 

And damaged wires are a significant hazard since they could cause a fire. 

So, if you believe that termites may be affecting your electrical wires, you should call an electrician and a pest expert as soon as possible to prevent a potential catastrophe. 

Can Termites Affect My Health? 

For most people, termites will not affect their health. 

However, you should be aware that termites can cause allergic reactions and worsen asthma symptoms

These issues arise because termites chew on wood and walk through isolated areas inside your home’s framework, which may be full of dust. 

Therefore, termites can cause small wood and dust particles to float through the air in your home, which will bother those with sensitivities to them. 

Additionally, termites can spread mold around your house. 

Since termites frequent moist areas where mold is most likely to be, they can easily get mold spores on them and then transfer them to other areas of your home. 

Can Mold Spread by Termites Affect My Health?

Yes, mold spread by termites can affect your health. 

In most people, mold will lead to symptoms such as: 

  • Runny nose and watery eyes 
  • Coughing 
  • Sneezing 
  • Headaches 
  • Fatigue 

In more severe cases, mold can cause difficulty breathing. 

Thus, if you think you have mold in your home, you should call an expert so that they can deal with the problem as quickly as possible. 

Can Termites Cause Sick Building Syndrome?

Yes, termites can cause “sick building syndrome.” 

Sick building syndrome (SBS) describes illnesses related to a specific building. 

It occurs when a person living in a building gets sick because of an issue with that structure. 

Termites could cause SBS because they kick up wood and dust that can circulate throughout the building. 

And if the building has inadequate air circulation technology, those living inside can start to suffer from SBS.

Often, people who suffer from SBS feel better after leaving the affected building, so if you are experiencing this illness, you should try to spend time elsewhere. 

Do Termites Bite People?

Close-up photo of a termite.

Termites very rarely bite people. 

Usually, termites will only bite people if they feel threatened by them. 

So, you don’t have to worry about termite bites as you do those from bed bugs or mosquitos. 

Also, remember that if a termite bites you, there’s no need to be alarmed. 

Termite bites are not poisonous, and termites do not spread disease. 

Typically, people bitten by termites will just feel an unpleasant sting and then have a small bump on the affected area for a few days. 

Is it Worse to Live in an Old Building With Termites?

In general, yes, it is worse to live in an old building with termites than in a new one. 

Old buildings are often not as structurally sound as new buildings because of general disrepair and outdated construction practices. 

Therefore, many older homes will probably deteriorate quicker than new buildings when they get termites, leading to significant structural issues appearing much faster. 

Additionally, older homes tend to have poorer air circulation systems, meaning that wood and dust particles will continue to move around in the air for longer. 

Thus, if you live in an older home, it is even more important to exterminate termites as quickly as possible. 

Is it Better to Live in a New Home With Termites?

A photo of a house with a garage.

Although most new homes will take longer to suffer extreme termite damage, you still shouldn’t think that termites won’t destroy your home just because it’s new.  

Termites do not care how old your home is. 

They just care about eating. 

So, even though old homes may fall apart faster due to older building materials and disrepair, new homes are not impervious to termite damage. 

You also shouldn’t count on having a perfect air circulation system in your new home. 

Yes, new homes are more likely to circulate air better, which can help with allergy and asthma symptoms. 

But, unless you know quite a bit about ventilation, you can never be entirely sure that your home’s system is better than those in older buildings. 

What Will Happen if I Ignore the Termites in My Home?

If you ignore the termites in your home, they will continue to eat away at it. 

A termite colony will not leave by itself until it has eaten all the wood in your house because termites won’t just walk away from an available meal. 

So, you must actively exterminate the termites if you want to save your home. 

How Can I Get Rid of Termites?

The easiest way to get rid of termites in your home is to hire a pest professional. 

Pest professionals will know what kind of termites you have, and they have the knowledge and experience to eliminate a colony. 

However, hiring a pest company can be pretty expensive. 

If you want to eliminate termites on your own, you should purchase termite pesticides and use them inside and outside your home. 

Also, it is best to know what kind of termites you have before buying and applying pesticides. 

So, if you find a termite, you should examine it so that you can figure out whether it is a drywood, dampwood, or subterranean bug. 

Furthermore, don’t forget that you should always carefully follow all safety instructions when using pesticides. 


You can safely live in a house with termites, but you need to assess the damage they’ve caused from time to time to be sure your home is safe.