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  • Writer's pictureAll Things Pest Control

Does Wood Chip & Mulch Attract Termites?

The topic of Wood chip, Mulch and Termites often leads to confusion and concern among many. Some believe that mulch and wood chip contains termites which are then introduced to the yard and lead to a termite infestation and others believe it is the mulch & wood chip that attracts termites.

So, does mulch attract termites and is it possible to spread Termites via mulch? And if so, is there a way to address this issue?

In this discussion, we aim to shed light on how you can safeguard your home from potential termite infestations when applying mulch and wood chip to your gardens. As well as why seeking professional termite treatment may be necessary in some cases.

Termites in Store-Bought Mulch

There have been unfounded rumors suggesting that garden and landscaping stores have inadvertently spread termites through the sale of infested mulch.

While it is not impossible to encounter termites in a bag or trailer of freshly delivered mulch or wood chip, the likelihood of them surviving the processing and building a colony is minimal.

The chipping process significantly reduces the chances of termites surviving. Even if a bunch of termites managed to withstand this process, their chances of survival are further hampered by being separated from their colony. A link to their colony and Queen is vital to their survival.

Additionally, termites that feed wholly on mulch have a lower rate of survival compared to those feeding on solid wood. Therefore, the risk of your home being infested by termites from store-bought mulch remains low.

How To Tell The Difference Between Ants & Termites

There has been many times we have received calls from panicked clients who believe they've opened a bag of mulch to find termites crawling through it.

Ants come in a range of colours, and those that have been burrowing deep in mulch tend to be much lighter in colour as they are not exposed to sunlight (much like termites who spend their days in mud tunnels).

There is a much easier way to identify a termite. Their body shape!

A diagram of black ants and termites. Ants have 3 segments to their body, Termites have 2 and are much wider
Termites & Ants can be differentiated easily between their body shape.

Are you still not sure? Send our team a clear photo and we can identify for you.

Why Termites are Attracted to Mulch

Mulch and wood chips used in landscaping retains moisture, which is beneficial for promoting the growth of plants like shrubs and trees. However, this same moisture attracts a variety of beneficial insects as well as Termites. The damp environment created by mulch and wood chips lures termites to explore the area. They create mud tunnels, seeking out sources of food such a tree roots, landscaping timbers and your home.

The presence of mulch provides a convenient cover for these activities.

While termites may not feed directly on the mulch and wood chip itself, its presence can create optimal conditions for a termite colony to establish or expand.

It would be more accurate to view the issue as mulch and wood chip enhances a termite's survival potential if they are already in the vicinity of your home.

How Can I Minimise Termites In And Around My Home When Using Mulch & Wood Chip?

Mulch or Wood Chip should not be placed against the home, or against timber fences or other structures attached to the home.

Timber mulch built up against a brick wall covering weephole
Avoid covering weepholes with mulch as this provides easy, hidden access into your home by Termites.
Old tree stump in ground surrounded by woodchip and mulch
Remove stumps or timber debris from your garden which are a foodsource for Termites.

A native garden growing alongside a homes external wall.
Gardens alongside the home hide Termite activity.

Don't put gardens against the house.

If gardens against your home are unavoidable, consider trimming the plants back from the walls to leave a visual to the slab edge.

Having a clear visual to the slab edge makes regular inspecting much easier. It also acts as a deterrent for Termites looking for slab cracks and crevices to gain access into your home.

When Do I Seek Professional Help For Termites In My Garden?

It goes without saying, every homeowner should be having an annual termite inspection to their property. This keeps you one step ahead of Termites and the damage they can cause.

A regular termite inspection will pick up any conducive areas and termite activity in and around the home. If the termite activity is deemed an issue, a remedial treatment can be conducted to eradicate them.

If your home doesn't have a Termite Management System of some sort protecting the home (you can check your meterbox for a sticker). Then regular inspections are even more important.

A trench dug alongside a brick wall, filled with liquid
Termite Management Systems for existing homes are a chemical barrier that is placed around the external walls & provide 8 years protection against Termite attack.

Should I Use Woodchip and Mulch in my Garden?

Homeowners shouldn't be wary of utilising wood chip and mulch for their gardens out of fear of attracting Termites. Wood chips are organic matter that breaks down over time which add valuable nutrients to the soil as they do. It also helps to suppress weeds and keep the soil moist - two very important factors in having a healthy garden!

With a little forward planning and regular maintenance, Termites and woodchips need not be an issue. If you do have concerns, give our friendly team a call at All Things Pest Control!

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Awarded Mackay's best pest control since 2017!



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