Termites Love Mulch, but Gardens Don’t Like Termites

Termites feast and thrive on wood, especially damp wood and any other substance that contains cellulose. Any homeowner or property owner fears termites because once they get into a house or other structure with wood and are left alone, they can destroy a structure. But what about those termites that are found in mulch piles? Is the mulch a cause of termites and can you treat the mulch to kill the termites without destroying the mulch?

On occasion, termites are found in mulch piles, but it isn’t the mulch that caused the termites. In fact, mulch piles are where they usually thrive. Termites prefer to exist deep underground where the environment is moist and then tunnel their way through the earth in search of wood products for food.

Mulch characteristically dries out and makes it less of an environment that is conducive to termites and their nest building. However, a mulch pile that is kept moist will attract and harbor termites. This can become a risk when the mulch is piled too high and against your home’s siding. It creates a bridge over your foundation that has been termite treated, and they make their way into your house.

Treating Termites in Mulch

The worst thing you can do, other than do nothing, is spray your mulch pile with insecticides. The decomposition process of mulch is an important piece of healthy plants, soil, and trees. When you spray insecticides on the mulch, you’ll kill all the organisms that are beneficial to the mulch and the soil.

You should set up a low mulch buffer area that measures six to twelve inches wide around your home’s perimeter, which will stop the bridges termites like to cross. Keep the area dry and never water directly around the perimeter zone of your house. Keep boards, railroad ties and other large wood logs away from your home’s foundation.