It’s springtime, and here at Haluch’s we have mulch on our minds. Not only mulch this time, but also termites. We find that there are a lot of myths and fears relating to the subject of termites in mulch and we’d like clear things up to the best of our ability.
Moist, uncompressed soil is the perfect habitat for termites. Unfortunately those are the exact conditions that are ideal for plants, and mulch is used to achieve them. It doesn’t matter what type of mulch you use in your garden bed – if it keeps moisture in the soil and provides shelter, then termites can survive in it. So, contrary to what you may hear, choosing stone or rubber mulch instead of bark or wood chips will not save you from termites. This is why it’s important to keep all mulches at least 6 inches away from foundations. This way if a termite colony does appear in your garden bed it can be easily eliminated without moving into the house.
The other concern homeowners have is buying mulch that is already infested with termites. While this isn’t completely impossible, it’s very unlikely. The first part being that the chipping process that wood goes through in order to become mulch is very destructive to insects. If any of them manage to survive it, it won’t be enough to start a colony. The possibility of termite colonies starting in piles of mulch in your retailer’s yard is also very unlikely. The mulch by itself is too dry and loose to maintain enough moisture for termites. Also it moves through the yard far too quickly for insects to establish a habitat.