Does Spreading Mulch Attract Termites?

Every year we see millions of homeowners emerge from the winter ready to do yard work on their homes. While preparing for those springtime barbeques and gatherings, we often spruce up the flower beds by adding fresh mulch. Mulch will help maintain moist soil conditions, reduce weeds, and provide nutrition for plant life. Unfortunately, it can also make conditions favorable for termites. 

Many people believe that mulch is a termite risk due to infested bags at the store. This is a myth! Instead, it is way more probable that existing colonies will be attracted by the moisture once the mulch is put down (it would be rare to survive the chipping process to make it into the bags). Termites may view cellulose-containing mulches as a food source, although it has low nutritional value for them and some studies have shown that gravel can be just as risky. After that, it’s very easy to use the moist pile as cover and make a very short crawl to your home’s foundation.

According to studies, the type of mulch you use can make a difference. So which mulches are the riskiest and what can you do to make sure your home stays protected? Find out more below!

Attractive Termite MulchesTermite Resistant Mulches
Loblolly Pine
Cypress Sapwood
Slash Pine
Pea Gravel
Cypress Heartwood
Redwood lumber
White Oak

What Can You Do?

  • When laying mulch, eliminate wood contact by making a 2-4 inch gap between the mulch and the house. 
  • Control the drainage around your home and inside the crawlspace by diverting water away from your foundation. Termites thrive in high moisture levels.
  • Make sure your home is covered under a decent termite warranty which comes with a free home inspection every year. 
  • Maintain your annual termite inspections to halt problems before they get too far.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with adding fresh mulch around the outside of your home. Just be aware of which species of wood it contains and have your home under coverage – just in case!

Comments are closed.