Recently I have spoken with a number people who are concerned about spreading wood mulch over their garden, in fear it will attract termites to their house. So here are some facts on mulch & termites and the garden.
1. Mulch creates a moist cool area on top of the soil, plants love this as it protects their roots and keeps them moist. Insects also love this environment and tend to thrive in a moist cool area, among these insects are many which are beneficial for the garden, however termites also enjoy this cool moist environment.
2. Mulch does NOT attract insects (including termites) like a magnet. They do NOT hear it, or see it or smell it and come running. Rather the insects which are already present in your soil wander into the mulch on their travels and like the moist cool environment and so decide to stay there.
3. All forms or mulch (or anything for that matter) which covers the surface of your soil and so provides a moist cool environment will have many insects living there. This means when it comes to termites it wouldn’t make a difference between wood mulch, or gravel, or pebbles, or rubber. It is NOT the wood in the mulch which is attracting the termites to live there, but rather the moist cool environment created by the mulch.
4. So in light of this my recommendations are as follows: It is fine to have wood mulch on your gardens in your yard, and by doing this you are not attracting termites to your house. However, mulch of any kind should not be spread against the side of your house, as this may increase the chances of termites entering your home. And so it is a good idea to leave a buffer zone of about 1 foot around the perimeter of your home free from mulch or any materiel which will create the moist cool environment for insects.
There are some facts about mulch and termites and your garden. I hope they helps bust some myths and keep your home termite free.