Termites and Mulch – Separating Fact From Fiction

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CHARLOTTE – Many of our customers express concern that mulch may cause termite infestation. It is true that most mulch has some wood in it. Mulch can be a problem but not for the reasons most people think. Numerous studies prove that mulch produced from the debarking process at lumber mills or from wood chipping operations has very little nutritional value for termites. Mulch, just like soil, is not a good food source.

Mulch itself does not attract termites to an area. Termites feed on solid wood consuming timber from the inside out. Termites live underground and need moist areas to travel and even survive. Serious problems can occur when these pests get inside your home or any other type of structure through wood that is in direct contact with soil.

Where mulch (and even pea gravel and river rock) can present a problem is when ground cover exceeds 3” to 4” deep providing a suitable moist environment for the insects to travel and shelter from harsh weather. Also keep mulch from coming into direct contact with deck posts, crawl space doors and other solid wood structures because of the moisture pathway it creates.

Certain types of mulch such as Cypress and Cedar are decay resistant and produce natural chemicals that can actually deter termites.

Finally, it’s very rare to find termites delivered along with your bagged or bulk mulch products. Termites and all other insects cannot survive the heat generated from wood grinder or chipper processing.

Next week, playground mulch for homes, churches, schools and parks.

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