Homeowners are often concerned about termites (Isoptera). Mulch applied near a foundation can attract termites. This is a concern that raises many questions and often leads to the need to hire termite treatment services. Unfortunately, experts do not agree with all the answers. If you are not sure how to go about using mulch around your foundation, here is the short answer:
For safety, make sure to leave a 1-foot wide strip of mulch-free ground along your foundation. Also, ensure that the mulch doesn’t come in contact with any window frames or doors. Keep the ground as dry as possible.
You can apply mulch outside of the mulch-free zone. This is what people do to control weeds in foundation plantings. However, it should be limited to a few inches deep. It’s also important to check for termites diligently.
Let’s now get to the bottom of this problem.
Termite Treatment, Drainage (Moisture), and Your Foundation
When it comes to termite treatment, there are different opinions regarding the degree of caution that you need to follow when applying mulch near your home. There are many opinions on this topic. Mulch is not a good food source for termites. Mulch is actually not a preferred food source for termites. Mulch provides termites with conditions they prefer. It retains moisture which is what they love and insulates them against extreme temperatures. It is extremely rare to find termites in bagged mulch purchased from large-scale retailers or commercial businesses. This is because termites can’t live through the wood shredding process. Termites prefer to live in the soil and then search for food sources. Mulch provides the conditions for termites to thrive. But when you’re mulching foundation plantings, there are a few things you need to be aware of.
- Termites can be a problem in your locality.
- You have experienced termite infestations in your own home.
Termites can cause serious damage to your foundation so it’s best to be safe than sorry when mulching around your home.
Good drainage around a foundation is crucial when it comes to residential pest control as termites love moisture. It is easy to ensure adequate drainage. Grade the ground so it slopes away from your house by about 5 percent. This will channel water away the foundation. Install splash blocks and downspouts to divert water from the foundation.
Drawing Termites and Mulching around Foundations
Take into account the sub-questions that are implied in the larger question about whether mulching around foundations can cause termite problems.
- Will you allow the mulch to contact the foundation?
- If so, how thick should the mulch layer be?
- Is there a better mulch type for pest control than others? Is it possible for termites to be attracted to wood mulch in order to find food?
Each one of these termite control questions requires individual treatment.
Mulch should not be allowed to contact your foundation directly. There are a few opinions. Experts advise against mulch contact with your foundation. However, you should avoid it if termiticides were applied to the soil near the foundation during construction. This is the best way to ensure you are free from termites.
If you’re less concerned about mulch coming into contact with your foundation cement, limit the mulch layer to two inches. (In fact, even though the mulch should be kept farther away from the house and not more than that, the mulch layer in a foundation base bed shouldn’t be deeper than four inches.
There is a common misconception about the best mulch for pest control in Myrtle Beach. People believe that termites only eat wood mulches, which is a misconception. This is a myth. The question is whether mulch actually attracts termites to your land technically.
It is not about termites being lured to your property by the promise that they will eat a wood mulch, but termites already living in the soil, who use the mulch as a cover and launchpad to invade your home. All mulches offer moisture to termites. Mulch that retains moisture well is one of their best features. This quality is not only beneficial for your plants, but also for termites. Remember that even mulches with less moisture (such stone mulches), still provide pests with a safe place to hide.
There are many types of wood mulch that termites will not like.
- Cedar mulch
- Mulch made from the heartwood cypress
- Southern tidewater red cypress
- California redwood
It is much more accurate to say termites eat cellulose than to say they eat wood. Cellulose is found in the cell walls and cells of plants you plant in your garden. Termites can cause damage to your landscape plants, which is why they are not recommended.
Keep your eyes peeled for the right things and stay vigilant
It can help you save a lot of money by being vigilant and quick to respond when you see termites. First, learn about termites and their appearance. Although they may look similar to ants, termites can be quite different in size.
Termites are social insects that are divided by castes within their colonies. There are many species. Termites are not all alike. The termites are widespread; they can be found on every continent, except Antarctica.
To check for termites in mulch, inspect it regularly. If termites are found, immediately contact a professional exterminator.