picture of termites

Are Termites Attracted to Mulch?

Mulch Uses

What Is Mulch Used for?
In the world of gardening and landscaping, mulch helps create ideal conditions for growing plants.

Besides giving the flowerbed or garden a neat and tidy appearance, it:

  • Keeps the ground moist.
  • Deters the growth of weeds.
  • Regulates the temperature of the soil.

Attractions to Mulch
Unfortunately, the benefits mulch provides plants also create an attractive environment for pests. Termites in particular are attracted to the moisture contained in mulched soil and sometimes even feed on the mulch itself. Certain types of mulch, however, act as a natural termite repellent.

Natural Repellents

The cedar family of trees is known for producing mulch that keeps pests at bay. Cedar trees contain the chemical thujone, which naturally repels termites and other insects.

Cypress & Redwoods
Likewise, cypress and redwood mulches feature resins that make the wood less appealing to termites.

Mulch Placement

These natural repellents, however, eventually seep into the soil and lose their effectiveness.

Mulch therefore needs to be deposited on the ground in shallow enough layers that prevent the material from sustaining a consistent level of moisture and supporting termite infestations. A depth of 2 to 3 inches is generally ideal.

Similarly, keeping the mulch at least 6 inches from the foundation of the building can help prevent pest problems while making it easier to detect termite activity at ground level.

Melaleuca Mulch
Even though no organic material is completely resistant to termites, melaleuca mulch might come the closest.

Made from a type of tree native to Australia, the exotic variety of mulch performed the best in a research study where termites were exposed to different mulches and woods.

In fact, the termites in the study abstained from eating both the melaleuca wood and the melaleuca mulch. Despite such promising results, users of termite-resistant mulches should still keep up with the latest in home inspection and treatment methods.

Learn more about Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.

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