Since mulch has some wood in it, homeowners may be concerned as to whether it causes termite infestations. However, studies have shown that when mulch is produced in the debarking process, it does not provide a lot of nutritional value for the insects. It is similar to soil in that way.
Mulch itself is not the main attraction for termites. They prefer to eat wood and travel through moist areas. Mulch only becomes an issue when the ground cover is over 4 inches deep, creating a moist environment where termites can travel and find shelter. If the mulch also comes into contact with any wooden structure of the home, you then have a real problem. However, there are certain types of mulch such as Cedar or Cypress which are decay resistant and which produce natural chemicals that are actually deterrents to termites.
However, in most situations, mulch will be too dry to be a suitable nesting site for termites. The best way to avoid any issues with your mulch is to not set it up against the wooden structures of your home. For example, do not have mulch too high up against your siding, because it may act as a bridge allowing termites easy access.
If, for whatever reason, you notice or you suspect that there are termites in the mulch on your property, you should not spray the mulch with insecticides. Mulch decomposes and provides many nutrients to the soil and vegetation surrounding it, and insecticides can kill all the beneficial organisms in both the soil and mulch. Your best bet is to relocate the mulch and create a perimeter of six to twelve inches around your house. At the very least, this perimeter should be two inches. Make sure that the mulch is as dry as possible, and that you do not water this perimeter around the house.
Despite your best efforts, you may still have problems with termites however. In this situation, your best bet is to contact a pest control specialist. A specialist can remove the existing infestation and pest-proof your home for the future. There are several treatment options that you can choose from, with some being more expensive and more effective than others. We’ve covered many of these options on our blog if you want to know more, or you can get in touch with us directly with any questions you may have.