Black Mold Spores: Can They Hurt You?

Black mold in the corner of kitchen.

What do you think of when you see the words “black mold spore”? 

Do you think of:

A) a container of leftovers that has been stuck in the back of the fridge for too long? or; 

B) of the kind of mold that often grows in buildings that have been exposed to water?

Congratulations to those of you who went with option b: when you see a building with mold creeping up the sides, you’re likely looking at a building that has been infested with black mold spores. While we definitely recommend tossing out those moldy leftovers and thoroughly cleaning any containers or surfaces they may have touched, in this blog we’re going to be focusing on black mold, including how to spot it, ways to prevent it, and most importantly how to find a mold remediation expert so that it doesn’t hurt you or your family!

What Is A Black Mold Spore? 

What, exactly, is a black mold spore? Let’s break it down, starting with the “mold” part. There are many, many different types of molds (some might say a mold-titude of molds). They don’t all look exactly the same: they come in different colors— in shades of black, red, blue, and green. All molds are fungi— but not all fungi are molds. For example, the mushrooms on your pizza are a fungus, but they are not a mold!

It’s important to be mindful that while not all molds are inherently dangerous, they can be harmful to people, especially in indoor spaces or after prolonged exposure. Symptoms of mold exposure include: stuffy nose, itchy skin, itchy eyes, and wheezing. Unfortunately, mold can also provoke more harmful reactions in people with allergies, who have asthma, or who have compromised immune systems or chronic lung disease. In mold-allergic or sensitive individuals, the basic symptoms can present with more intensity. For asthmatics, the exposure can aggravate the condition, and people who have compromised immune systems or who are already dealing with ongoing lung issues can get infections from exposure to mold.  


Now, let’s take a closer look at the word “spores”. In some ways, spores are similar to the seeds of a plant: they are what allow molds to reproduce and spread— and spread they do! Many types of mold spores are small and light enough to be blown around and dispersed with the wind. Other types have specific characteristics that make it easier for them to get around in water. Many molds, whether optimized for air or water disbursement, can also get around by hitching a ride on clothing or fur, which can help them spread in dry, indoor spaces. 

In other words, it’s very easy for mold to spread. Molds are ubiquitous, and the best thing you can do to prevent the dangerous varieties of mold from becoming a problem that could hurt you or your family is to make your home as unfriendly to all molds as possible. Like most unwanted houseguests, it’s much harder to get rid of mold once it’s settled in. In order to prevent harmful molds from burrowing into the walls of your property, it’s important to keep the surfaces dry and the air as arid as possible. 

But what are BLACK mold spores? 

Finally, we come to the word “black,” which is not as self-explanatory as it may seem. The term “black mold” is not a scientific classification and may be used to refer to molds that are black in color, or molds that are considered especially harmful to humans. In particular, the term “black mold” is often used to refer to Stachybotrys chartarum which— just to make things more complicated— is actually greenish-black! 

So why is it often referred to as “black mold”?  It could be due to it’s dark hue, but it could also be because some varieties of Stachybotrys chartarum release mycotoxins— which nobody wants in their homes— and the term “black” is used to signal danger. While all molds can be dangerous, some people have extra concerns about the potential dangers of mycotoxins and what, if any level of exposure to them is toxic for people and animals. Currently there is no conclusive scientific evidence that molds that produce mycotoxins are more dangerous than molds that don’t. 

So, Can Black Mold Spores Harm You?

Yes! Regardless of whether you are dealing with black mold spores that are black in color, or  Stachybotrys chartarum, or some other type of mold, if you have it in your home or in your workplace, it CAN hurt you, accordingly, you want to get rid of it ASAP. 

You may be tempted to try and deal with the problem yourself, and if the infestation is very small and you know what you’re doing it might be possible to do so successfully. If you decide to try and tackle the problem yourself, you’ll have to be very careful in how you approach it. Since mold is such a common allergy trigger you’ll want to make sure you have appropriate protective gear on and that you take accurate precautions to prevent mold spores from getting into the air where other sensitive people might breathe them in and become ill. If you have any doubt about your ability to effectively remediate the problem while protecting your safety and the safety of others, contact TermiGuard. 

Protection and Prevention

We have decades of experience remediating areas that are actively contaminated by mold. Since mold can spread rapidly and burrow into the walls of your home, even into the foundational layers, it is important you act fast before harmful black mold spores— or spores of any type, have the opportunity to spread even further. Our technicians are trained in the proper safety protocols so you can be confident that you’re putting yourself or loved ones at risk by releasing spores into the air you breathe during the remediation process. 

Moreover, at TermiGuard we are committed to helping you protect your property against further mold problems. Our moisture control specialists are certified by NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors) and will make and implement recommendations to help keep your home mold-free in the future. Some of the moisture control systems we use include installing ventilation systems in attics and crawl spaces, strategic use of dehumidifiers, fixing plumbing leaks, and installing better drainage systems. 

When dealing with mold and mold spores (black or otherwise), it’s important to be mindful of the potential for harmful short and long term impacts. You want to be sure that in your efforts to get rid of the problem, you’re not accidentally creating additional dangers for yourself and your loved ones by releasing more spores into the air (which could also cause the mold to find a new spot to get comfortable!) Moreover, you want to be sure that you’re addressing the root of the problem and proactively guarding against future infestations with all the protective measures you can. At TermiGuard we take pride in our work because we know it’s an important part of keeping people safe in their homes. If you have questions or concerns about possible molds in your home or want to make sure you’re well protected, call TermiGuard today; we’ll be happy to make a plan to keep you safe from black mold spores as well as the harmful impacts of any reduction in your indoor air quality due to mold.