Termites in Mulch
Mulch can provide a beneficial environment for termites. This is not because the termites use it as a main food source. In fact, research has shown that termites fed solely on organic based wood mulch have lower survivorship than other termites. The reason mulch creates a good habitat for a termite is because the soil beneath mulch is warm and moist. Termites dry out easily, so they prefer to dig their tunnels in wet soil. A common fear when buying mulch is that of introducing new termites to one’s yard along with the mulch. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if the mulch has been shredded recently. Most termites will be killed in a mulch shredder, and those that survive are rarely able to start a new colony.
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Mulch that is incorrectly placed around a home can encourage termite infestations. Mulch provides a moist highway between a termite’s underground colony and an entrance to a home. Termites feed on wood and are able to penetrate into the structure of a home. If improper placement of mulch is ignored, a costly termite infestation can occur.
When spreading mulch near a home, it is suggested that the layer be thin or non-existent within a foot from the foundation. This allows the soil near the home to naturally dry out and discourages termite tunneling. Avoid watering in this foot perimeter. The shallow layer of mulch also allows you to notice any termite tubes that may be built between the soil and the siding of the home. Termites use these mud tubes to maintain their moist environment as they travel from the soil up into the siding of the home. If termites are found in mulch near your home, seek help from a qualified professional termite exterminator. It is difficult to see the extent of an infestation, and eradicating termite colonies is very difficult. However, do not panic. Termites cause damage very slowly. This allows time to shop around different pest control companies and find the most economical and effective plan.