Everything You Need To Know About Termites And Mulch!

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You’ve wanted to get your yard mulched for a while now, and yet, you have some confusion regarding the relationship between mulch and termites. Obviously, you don’t want to be inviting termites into your house under any circumstances.

So what is there to know and understand about termites and mulch. Well, this article will tell you everything you need to know about termites and mulch!

What is mulch exactly?


Mulch is a natural material that is spread on the surface of the ground to improve the appearance of an area, suppress weed growth, and conserve moisture.

It is often made from organic materials such as leaves, bark, compost, or wood chips. While mulch can provide many benefits to a landscape, it can also attract termites.

Do termites come into your garden through store-bought mulch?

There is no evidence that large chain stores have spread termites by selling infested mulch. Termites are a common problem and can be found in many different environments, including gardens.

However, there is no evidence to support the claim that store-bought mulch is responsible for spreading termites.

Termites usually come into your garden through contact with the soil. However, if you purchase bagged mulch from a store, the termites have a slim chance of surviving the chipping process.

Even if a few do survive, they won’t last very long since they’re separated from their colony and don’t have access to food or water.

Agreed, termites are a common problem throughout the United States, but that doesn’t mean you have to worry about them coming into your home through the store-bought mulch.

If you’re still concerned, you can always use mulch that is made from recycled materials or choose a different landscaping material altogether.

Termites And Mulch: Are termites attracted to mulch?


Though subterranean termites are the most destructive type of termite, they are also the most common. They nest underground and feed on wood, tunneling into lumber that rests on soil. 

Termites can travel up to one hundred yards from their nests in search of food, so it’s important to be aware of how they’re attracted to certain materials.

Mulch is a favorite among these pests because it’s made of organic matter and provides a lot of moisture—two key elements for termite survival.

Why are termites attracted to mulch?

Termites are attracted to mulch because it provides them with two things they need- moisture and shelter. Mulch is an excellent way to keep the ground around your home moist, which termites love.

Additionally, mulch can provide cover and protection from the elements, which is why termites are often found near piles of mulch. However, not all mulches are created equal.

Mulches made from hardwood trees contain resins that termites avoid. So, if you are looking to prevent termites from invading your home, using a hardwood mulch may be the solution for you.

Cedar mulch, for example, is especially harmful to termites and can help protect your property from an infestation.

Further, the tunnels they create in the mulch help them move around undetected and reach their target faster. Mulch can also act as an insulation layer for the termite nest and protect it from exposure to weather elements.

What mulches do termites avoid?

Termites avoid cedar mulch among a few others.

There are actually quite a few mulches that termites avoid in general. Therefore, if you are concerned about introducing mulch to your garden because it will attract termites, you might have a solution in these mulches.

Cedar mulch repels termites.

Cedar mulch is a type of mulch that is made from the byproducts of cedar trees. Cedar mulch has natural chemicals that keep termites away. This makes it a popular choice for people who are looking to protect their homes from termites.

Cedar mulch is a popular choice for gardeners and homeowners alike because it has many benefits. For one, cedar mulch lasts anywhere from 5 to 7 years before needing to be replaced.

It also makes your yard or garden look beautiful, as the color contrasts well with green plants. Additionally, cedar mulch can improve the quality of your soil.

There is a popular belief that cedar mulch repels termites, but the University of Missouri conducted a study that found this to be false. Cedar mulch actually helps the soil retain nitrogen, and it is a more environmentally-friendly option than other types of mulch.

Cypress hardwood mulch repels termites.

Cypress mulch is a popular type of mulch that is often used in gardens and landscaping. It is known for its ability to retain water and for its natural color. However, cypress mulch, by itself, also contains sapwood which termites love.

This means that if you have a problem with termites, using cypress mulch in your garden or around your home could make the problem worse.

Therefore, the way to repel them is by using cypress heartwood mulch. Cypress heartwood mulch is a great choice because it has natural termite-repelling properties, and it also helps to retain moisture in the soil.

The cypress hardwood mulch takes at least four years to break down, giving your house long-term home protection against these pests.

Melaleuca mulch repels termites.

Cedar and cypress heartwood mulch has been traditionally used as a way to deter termites, but they can be expensive. Melaleuca mulch is an excellent alternative that is much more affordable and has been shown to be just as effective at repelling termites.

That said, this mulch has been known to stink a little bit. While that may be an impediment to your using it, research has shown that the mulch made from the bark of the melaleuca tree is an effective deterrent against termites.

The mulch will last for 2-3 years before it begins to decompose.

Further, as I said, melaleuca mulch is a more cost-effective option than the first two options! Although it is cheaper than other types of wood mulch, it is important to check the ingredients first to make sure that the melaleuca has been properly composted.

Otherwise, you may end up attracting termites instead of repelling them.

Why do termites avoid the abovementioned mulches?

Termites are attracted to moisture and cellulose, two things that are found in large quantities in wood. Mulches that are made of materials like stone do not have these qualities, and thus termites avoid them.

Interestingly, termites also avoid mulches that are made from natural chemicals such as trees. This is because the chemical in the mulch repels them. Conversely, man-made or synthetic mulches do not have this repelling quality and often attract termites.

Further, termites are often attracted to mulches that allow them to tunnel their way through in order to commute. These mulches are made of hardwood chips.

Therefore, in addition to lacking moisture and cellulose and having natural repelling chemicals in them, the abovementioned hardwood mulches are also quite limited in terms of space for the termites to tunnel through!

How can you lay mulch around your home’s foundation in a way that repels or avoids termites?

Mulching your home's foundation is quite easy.

Mulching, in general, is an effective way to protect your home’s foundation from termites. By using the right type of mulch, you can deter these pests and keep them away from your home.

There are a variety of different types of mulch that you can use, so it is quite important that you do your research before selecting the right one for your needs.

In order to lay mulch around your home’s foundation in a way that will repel or avoid termites, you will need to dig a ditch around the foundation and scatter termite granules in it before watering it.

Another way is to use termite granules, which remain active for at least 6-9 months, making it impossible for the termites to make nests near the foundation or in the yard.

What are the characteristic signs of mulch being infested by termites?

There are a few physical signs that can indicate mulch is being infested by termites. One sign is the presence of live termites crawling on or near the mulch. Another sign is piles of mud, which termites create as they tunnel through the mulch.

Mulch is often a favorite food for subterranean termites. If you start to see mud hills and dead termites around your property, it’s likely that you have an infestation.

Along with piles of mud, mud tubes rising from the ground are one of the most common signs of an infestation by termites. If you see these, it is important to take action right away, as termites can cause a lot of damage to your property.

Everything you need to know about treating termites in mulch.

Termites are a common pest that can often be found in mulch. Mulches provide the perfect environment for termites, as they are dark, moist, and have plenty of food.

If you have mulch around your home, it is important to take steps to prevent termites from infesting your property.

Termites are a big problem when it comes to mulch, as they can quickly and easily strip the soil of its nutrients- something that is essential for healthy plant growth.

However, there are some natural ways to get rid of termites from mulch, such as using nematodes or applying diatomaceous earth.

If you’re looking for a long-term or permanent solution to keep termites away, you can use a chemical or insecticide to treat the termites in mulch.

Food grade diatomaceous earth will kill termites in the mulch.

Food grade diatomaceous earth is a powder made of the fossilized remains of aquatic organisms called diatoms. It is perfectly safe to use around plants, pets, and children. It can be used to kill termites in mulch by sprinkling it on top of the mulch.

Food grade diatomaceous earth is effective in controlling termites. When the food-grade diatomaceous earth is sprinkled on the mulch, it will kill the termites.

However, boric acid is also an effective termite killer. It is safe for soil and can be used in large quantities without damaging the environment.

Nematodes will also kill termites in the mulch.

Nematodes are tiny roundworms that kill termites. They are a natural predator of termites and can be used to get rid of them in the soil. Nematodes can also be used in mulch to help control termite populations.

In addition, nematodes are a biological control agent that will kill termites in the mulch without negatively affecting your soil. They are readily available, and all you have to do is sprinkle them on the infested area.

Moreover, nematodes are beneficial in controlling other pests that may be residing in the mulch. For example, they will kill termites in the mulch. This will help to reduce the amount of damage done by these pests and keep your garden healthy.

How do termites enter the mulch in the first place?

Termites can enter the mulch in your garden through small openings in the soil. This is often how they gain access to buildings, as they travel through the soil looking for food.

It is important to take steps to prevent termites from entering your property by using a barrier treatment and keeping your mulch clean.

Termites are attracted to areas where there is a lack of insulation or protection from cold weather. So, if you have mulch near your house, it provides the perfect environment for termites to thrive.

It is during the colder months, when temperatures drop below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, that termites start to move into people’s gardens and set up their colonies. They will look for a dark, moist environment in which to live and will build their nests in the mulch.


Termites love wood. And mulch not only gives them access to wood, but also cellulose, moisture, and shelter. Therefore, it is quite natural for them to infest mulch. That said, that’s not something you want.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.