If you’re tired and frustrated about seeing termites in mulch, then this guide will help you overcome the challenge.
In this guide, you’ll get to know the three best mulch to avoid termites that are easy to get and use.
The best part? These mulches also last longer than an average mulch.
Before we begin, here’s a quick revelation – Mulch works only against subterranean termites.
The mulches that you’re about to know repel dampwood termites too. But mulches are meant to keep subterranean termites away.
It’s the subterranean termites that invade homes and gardens from underneath the ground.
Let’s jump in!
Best Mulch To Avoid Termites
Any garden or yard can be a dwelling place for subterranean termites.
Subterranean termites invade your homes from underground. And, likely, they’ll first attack your garden before infesting your home.
Apart from professional termite control, one of the most effective ways to control termites in your garden is using mulches or wood chips that are termite resistant.
Before we get into the whys and the hows of using mulch, let’s check out what type of mulch termites hate the most.
So, here are the 3 best mulch to avoid termites –Cedar Mulch, Cypress Heartwood Mulch, and Melaleuca Mulch.
All three mulches are hardwood mulches. Hardwood mulches are best against termites and insects in your yard or garden.
It’s because hardwood mulches contain resins that termites avoid, like the plague.
Let’s a good-to-know look at each of the three mulches.
Cedar mulch is the byproduct of the cedar tree. It has thujone, a natural chemical in it that keeps termites away.
It’s the most expensive mulch on our list. But given the fact that it lasts for 5-7 years and makes your garden look beautiful, cedar mulch is a real value for money.
Cypress heartwood mulch comes with termite repelling ant-fungal property. The antifungal property works wonders not only in keeping termites away but also many other bugs and insects.
It emits a soothing smell and has a distinctive color that gives your yard or gardens a unique look.
Being a hardwood mulch takes at least 3-4 years to breakdown, giving you enough protection against termites.
Melaleuca mulch is an excellent alternative to both cedar and cypress heartwood mulch if you’re under budget. It’s also hardwood mulch.
But there’s a smell that comes out from melaleuca mulch that some of you might not like.
The best part of melaleuca mulch is that it lasts for 2-3 years before it decays.
Melaleuca mulch comes from the melaleuca tree. It’s not native to the US, and it’s brought in from Australia.
Found all over in Florida swamps, melaleuca trees grow rampantly. That’s why it’s also known as Florimulch. The easy availability of Florimulch makes it cheaper.
But before you buy melaleuca mulch, make sure that it doesn’t contain any seeds and it’s adequately composted.
Else, you may have a tree in your yard that grows and spreads fast.
If you prefer softwood mulch, then you can go for redwood mulch. Even though it’s a softwood mulch, it has resins like hardwood mulches that repels termites.
Redwood mulch has a decent life span of 4 years before it starts to breakdown or rot.
Why Termites Avoid These Mulches?
All types of termites make tunnels in the soil or in the wood to commute.
Termites bore through the wood, eating it from inside. Termites are dependent on the moisture and cellulose in the wood that is their life source.
Hardwood mulches lack both moisture and cellulose, and given their chemical composition, hardwood mulches repel termites.
Also, mulches, being wood chips, don’t provide them enough space to make long tunnels to commute.
So, when you use hardwood mulch, it’s neither nutritious nor worth boring into it. That’s why termites avoid hardwood mulches.
Does Mulch Attract Termites?
If you use the wrong mulch, then it can attract termites.
This means that if you use firewood chips or pine wood chips as mulch, then you’re giving an open invitation to termites to invade your yard and home.
Firewood chips and pine wood chips have high levels of cellulose and moisture that termites eat.
But remember that termites can’t survive on mulch for long. They need a more significant source of nutrition to live and multiply.
So, if you’ve got the wrong mulch in your yard or garden, then it’s only a matter of time that termites will infest your homes.
One more important thing.
Keep at least a foot’s distance between your home’s foundation and the area where you’re spreading your mulch.
Because if it’s too close to your home, then the mulch will act as a bridge that they’ll use to crawl into your home, damage your home’s furniture and walls, and start spreading.
Savvy homeowners use termite granules around their home’s foundation.
Termite granules work by sinking a few inches into the ground and killing any termites living underneath.
So, avoid firewood mulch and pinewood mulch, especially loblolly and slash pine mulch. They’ll attract termites instead of repelling them.
How To Get Rid Of Termites From Mulch, Fast And Forever
As you know by now, if you don’t use hardwood mulches, then termites can infest mulches.
What if you haven’t been using hardwood mulch, and there are termites in the mulch that you’re presently using?
In this section, you’ll get to know how to get rid of termites in mulch before you replace it with hardwood mulch.
Generally, mulches are spread across a few inches (2-3 inches) deep in the soil, making them a perfect habitat for termites and other pests.
And termites in your yard or garden are just a few days away from your home unless you get rid of them.
Before we get into killing termites in mulch, let’s have a look at the signs of termites in the mulch. If you see these signs, then it’s for you to act fast.
- Live Termites In Mulch – Physical sightings of termites in mulch are a clear indication of their presence. Just scatter the mulch a bit, and if there are termites underneath the mulches’ layer, then you’ll see them crawling.
- Piles Of Mud In Mulch – Termites do make little mud hills on mulches. These mud hills can also be around a tree. The presence of mud hills is a clear sign of subterranean termites in your yard.
- Dead Termites – If you see dead termites in your yard or garden, then it’s a two-fold sign of both termite and ants’ presence. Ants eat termites, and there must be a battle going on between termites and ants in your yard.
- Mud Tubes – Subterranean termites build mud tubes using their saliva and soil on rigid structures like walls or timber to reach their food source. Mud tubes rising from the ground where you’ve kept the mulches are a significant sign of termite infestation.
Now that you know the signs of termites infestation in mulch, it’s time to get rid of them.
But while getting rid of them, you need to make sure that you’re not compromising the soils’ quality. If you have a garden, you sure wouldn’t want to do that.
So, don’t use chemical pesticides on the mulch to remove termites. It’ll strip the soil of its nutrients that your plants need to grow.
There are some natural ways to get rid of termites from mulch, and they work well too.
Here are the things that you can use to get rid of termites –
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth – Food grade diatomaceous earth works best when getting rid of termites and other bugs from the soil and mulch.
Diatomaceous earth pierces the skin of termites, soaks the moisture out, causing a rapid death in termites.
To make things worse for termites, diatomaceous earth sticks on termites’ bodies. And when a termite with diatomaceous earth goes back to its nest, it spread to other termites.
Food grade diatomaceous earth is safe for plants, you, your pets, and children.
Nematodes – Nematodes are tiny roundworms that enter the termites’ bodies and kill them.
Nematodes are natural insect and termite killers, and they don’t damage the quality of the soil.
They are readily available. All you’ve to do is sprinkle nematodes on the mulch area infested by termites and let it do its work.
Boric Acid – Boric acid is also an effective termite killer. Like the above two, it’s also easily available.
All you need to do is mix one teaspoon of boric acid with one cup of hot water.
If your yard or garden is big, then you’ll need more than one cup of water. It’d be best to keep the composition the same – one teaspoon for every cup of hot water.
Spray the mixture on the mulch with termites. Boric acid kills the termites by dehydrating them, and termites can’t survive the hot water.
Boric acid is also safe for the soil. It’s naturally found in the soil too.
But if you use an excessive amount of boric acid or borax in the mixture, then it can damage the soil.
So, it’d be best for the soil if you keep the recommended composition – one teaspoon for every cup of hot water.
To make this process effective, you’d need to spray the mixture of boric acid and hot water twice for three days in the mulch to kill the termites.
As an alternative, use can use borax, too, instead of boric acid.
Termites Baits – Termite baits are effective for getting rid of termites in the mulch.
Termite baits are poisonous to termites. They contain cellulose that termites eat. Termite baits also emit a smell that attracts termites.
Termite baits are sticky. When the termites step onto the termite baits, they get stuck.
Attracted by the smell and the cellulose in the bait, termites eat it only to die by being stuck on the baits.
But above all of the tips, a clean yard and garden without foliage and rotting wood go a long way to keep termites, roaches, and other types of bugs away from your home.
The best mulches to avoid termites in your yard or garden are cedar mulch, cypress heartwood mulch, and melaleuca mulch.
These mulches are hardwood mulches, and they last longer than any other mulches.
If you use firewood or pine wood chips as mulch, they attract termites instead of repelling them.
Both firewood and pine wood are rich in moisture and cellulose that termites feed on to survive.
Mulches kept close to your home act as a passage for termites to infest your home. So, it’s always best to spread mulches at least a foot away from your home.
To make your home’s foundational area termite resistant, use termite granules instead of mulches of any kind.
Termite granules kill termites hiding underneath the soil, waiting to invade your home.
In this post, we’ve also shared how to get rid of termites in mulches. The steps mentioned will kill the termites in mulches.
Termites are challenging pests to get rid of.
And in case if you’re facing a termite reinfestation despite using all the methods, then the source of termites runs deep into your home.
It’d be best if you hire a professional termite controller to get rid of termites from your home.
We’re Mark and Jim. We were serial pest killers for almost all of our lives. Through this blog we spread pest murdering tips to people like you who want to keep their homes pest free.