Can Mulch Attract Termites?

Can mulch attract termites? If not mulch, what does attract termites? How can you keep your home safe from this incredibly destructive pest?

We get these questions often from homeowners worried about termites, which is why we’re answering them today. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about termites and mulch, to keep your home safe.

Does Mulch Attract Termites?

The answer to this question is yes and no.

Mulch by itself doesn’t attract termites to your home. Most wood mulch is made of hardwood trees, like oak, ash, hickory, eucalyptus, etc. The framing wood used for houses, on the other hand, is typically soft wood like pine, fir, spruce, and white birch. Termites prefer soft wood over hardwood, so mulch isn’t very attractive to them.

That being said, mulch does make the area around your home more hospitable for termites. That’s because mulch protects against soil erosion and helps with moisture retention. Essentially, mulched areas make the soil below a more attractive home for termites. While termites won’t come to your yard specifically for the mulch, they will want to stick around if they wander in to find moist soil and food nearby.

What does this mean for your garden? Should you get rid of your mulch?

Fortunately, there’s good news for the avid home gardener: you can rest easy knowing that your flower beds aren’t a homing beacon for termites. You just need to take care with mulch placement. Make sure to keep mulch several inches away from the foundation of your house: you don’t want to encourage termites to wander close to your home. (You should also know that it’s basically impossible to get termites from mulch: they wouldn’t survive the wood chipper, and a lone termite in a mulch bag doesn’t pose the threat that whole colonies do.)

What Does Attract Termites?

If not mulch, then what does attract termites to your home? It’s important to know, so you can make your property as inhospitable to termites as possible.

The most common termites in the area—eastern subterranean termites—live underground in colonies. From their underground home, worker termites go out in search of food to bring back. For this reason, the presence of wood around your home—think decks, porches, steps, trims, door frames, supports, or fixtures—is like laying out a welcome mat.

That’s why we recommend that nothing wooden—including mulch, trellises, firewood, project lumber, old furniture or decaying tree parts (stumps, branches, logs) come in contact with your house.

We also highly recommend you take care of any drainage issues around your home, like standing water. As we mentioned above, termites like moist soil. Getting rid of drainage issues that overly saturate your soil can make your yard less hospitable to termites.

Need Help with Termites?

Termites aren’t a pest whose elimination you can DIY: you need the help of a trusted pest control company to remove this tenacious, destructive pest.

If you’ve noticed signs of termites in your home, we’re here to help. Our experienced technicians will inspect your property for termites and provide a customized treatment plan to get rid of any termites—for good.

We also offer preventative pest control solutions for the proactive homeowner who wants to head off potential future problems—including termites. We offer several treatment solutions—barrier treatment and bait treatment—to prevent termite problems. (You can read more about termite prevention in a previous blog post.)

Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.