Does cypress mulch attract bugs

Does Mulch Attract Termites?

The connection between termites and mulch

There’s a lot of confusion about mulch and termites. Some people believe mulch contains termites. Some think it attracts them. What’s clear is that there is a definitive link between termites and mulch – but what that link is remains confusing for many. Does mulch attract termites? And if so, is there anything you can do about it? Here’s what you need to know about protecting your home.

Termites in mulch from stores

There have been rumors that large chain stores have spread termites by selling infested mulch. This is unfounded and unlikely. It’s not impossible to find termites in a bag of mulch, but it’s not likely they would survive for long or even be alive once the bag is opened.
A termite has a slim chance of surviving the chipping process that is used to create bagged mulch. Even if a few termites were to survive the wood chipper, they wouldn’t last very long since they’re separated from their colony. As if that wasn’t enough, termites that feed on mulch have a lower rate of survival when compared to a termite that feeds on solid wood. The bottom line – the chances of your home becoming infested from the mulch you buy in a store are slim.

Why termites like mulch

Your real concern should be what happens once you place the mulch around your home. There is evidence to support the link between termites and mulch as it pertains to attraction. This is because mulch used for landscaping keeps the environment moist. This is one of the benefits of mulch, as this moisture is great for growing shrubs, flowers, trees, etc. But termites also love this moisture, as do a variety of other bugs and insects. The moist environment encourages termites to explore the area by digging thin tunnels and looking for food (i.e., wood). The mulch provides cover for this exploration.
So while the termites might not actually feed on the mulch, the presence of it certainly can provide better conditions for a termite colony to start, or continue to develop. A better way to look at the attraction issue would be to conclude that mulch increases a termite’s ability to survive around your home if they are already present. Mulch doesn’t necessarily attract termites, but can serve as an invite for them to feast on your house.

Termite-resistant mulch

Some types of wood are preferred by termites, while others can act as a deterrent or even be toxic to these wood-eaters. Cypress sapwood, loblolly pine and slash pine are favored by termites. Cypress heartwood, melaleuca, eucalyptus, southern tidewater red cypress and California redwood decrease a termite’s chance of survival when compared to a standard food source, such as white birch.
Cypress heartwood has been rated as termite-resistant, with one study showing that extracts from this wood actually repel termites. Similarly, if you lay cedar mulch, termites won’t be very happy. Organic, wood-based mulches aren’t going to provide termites with a source for heavy feeding. Still, the presence of mulch in your yard can create an environment which is conducive to colonization in and around your home.

Avoiding termites in mulch

There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk associated with termites and mulch:
The presence of mulch in your yard might not mean you’re going to get termites, but it does mean that you’re increasing your risk. The best way to decrease the risk of termites in mulch is to maintain long-term termite prevention and control with a pest management professional.

Mulch: A Beautiful Way To Attract Pests To Your Yard

July 7, 2017

Homeowners looking to dress up their yard and give the landscaping a clean, tidy appearance often put down a new layer of mulch to kick off the summer months. Mulch will take an average-looking landscape and create one that looks like something out of a gardening magazine! You can define flower beds, create interesting shapes and lines, and hide weeds that pop up near your flowers with a healthy layer of mulch. Not only does it look nice, but mulch offers improved soil conditions for your plants by locking in moisture, insulating trees and shrubs, and breaking down into the soil like compost over time.

But, the benefits of mulch for your yard are also benefits for the living conditions of pests. As you use mulch to create a beautiful outdoor space, you’re also creating the perfect living conditions for cockroaches, ants, millipedes, and termites.

Why Does Mulch Attract Pests?

Insects and other pests seek out areas that offer them key resources. All living things need food, water, and shelter. If you’re a creepy-crawly insect, taking up residence in a big pile of mulch is like living in the fanciest neighborhood in a gorgeous mansion with butlers! Mulch creates a humid habitat because it traps moisture. It offers limitless places to hide from predators. Mulch offers temperature relief from the hot sun. Many types of mulch, whether you use wood chips, pine straw, or bark, can also serve as a source of food for a variety of insects as the matter decomposes in the soil. All of these ideal living conditions attract pests and encourage breeding.

How To Use Mulch Without Increasing The Pest Population

If you love the look of mulch in your yard but don’t want to create an oasis for pests, consider the following tips:

  • Use less mulch. People have a tendency to really pile on the mulch when a two-inch layer of fresh mulch over your gardens will hold moisture for plants without attracting large numbers of breeding pests. It will look just as beautiful as a landscape with larger amounts of mulch.

  • Remove old mulch. Before adding a new layer of mulch to your landscaping, remove the previous year’s mulch.

  • Keep mulch away from foundation. When laying mulch near the house, keep at least six inches of exposed soil between the foundation and the mulch to create a drier environment against the home and make it less attractive to pests.

Managing the Pests in Your Home

Whether you choose to use mulch or not, you may have pests in or around your home. If ants, cockroaches, millipedes, termites, or other pests have made your yard or house their home, you don’t have to live with the unwanted guests! Give Thomas Pest Control a call for customized pest control solutions that meet your needs.

Tags: home pest control | yard care | mulching tips

Apply That Mulch With Insects in Mind

By Chris Williams on April 4, 2013.

Insects love mulch. Burrowing under mulch provides wonderful protection from the elements and from predators. Mulch retains moisture, vital for most insects, and remains cool in summer and warm in winter. Many insects feed on decaying vegetation, and that’s basically what decomposing mulch is. If you’re a predatory insect, the mulch environment provides easy food in the form of insect prey.

Gardeners and landscapers love mulch, too. It holds moisture for plants, subdues weeds, provides nutrients, and let’s face it—it looks nice. Gardeners prefer organic mulches like shredded hardwood, pine bark chips, straw, pine needles, and grass clippings. When these plant-based mulches decompose, they add nutrients to the soil that benefit plants.

The Pests In Your Mulch

Outdoor insects and other arthropods that become indoor pests are usually those that live around the foundation of our homes. These pests are in the mulch under the groundcover, and around the flowers and shrubs that we plant close to the walls of our homes. They like the protection and the warmth of the house, and they really love the five inches of mulch that you’ve provided. Pests that are commonly found in mulch around the foundation of a home are millipedes, centipedes, earwigs, sowbugs, pillbugs, ground beetles, cockroaches, crickets, spiders, ants, and many others. When their protective mulch becomes too dry, or sometimes too wet, these pests migrate and often find their way inside.

You can find termites in mulch, too. When wood mulch is piled around a building’s foundation, it can provide a route for termites to enter your home. The moisture in mulch allows termites to travel above ground, avoiding any insecticide termite treatment in the soil. They can move from mulch through a weep hole in the brick, a crack in the block, or through a conduit.

Mulching properly can help reduce the number of insects around the perimeter of your home, and consequently the number than can end up inside. How can you do what’s right for your plants and keep your yard looking good without creating a pest problem?

There Are Other Options – One solution to the mulch-pest dilemma: use organic mulches in your garden and around plants that are away from the foundation. But use inorganic mulches against the foundation. Inorganic mulches are nonplant materials that are not so attractive to insects and other pests. Consider inorganics like gravel, pebbles, rock chips crushed stone, plastic film, and even woven landscaping fabrics.

Another option is to leave a dry, mulch-free strip directly against the exterior wall of your home. Leave a 1-2 foot wide strip of bare ground all the way around your house, or place crushed stone or pebbles over landscaping fabric as a border. Begin your mulching on the other side of this protective barrier.

If you must mulch, don’t over do it. Most of us pile it on too thick. Mulch that is too dense remains wet too long, speeding up rotting. Shredded wood and bark mulches should be no deeper than 2 to 3 inches after settling. Coarser mulches like pine bark nuggets that have spaces allowing air circulation can be deeper, up to 4 inches.

If all fails and you have a problem with foundation pests, give Colonial a call. We have a preventive maintenance program designed specifically to keep crawling insects out. Our technicians deliver two seasonal exterior treatments each year, and you don’t even have to be home.

Photo credit: Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Eucalyptus Mulch 75dm

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“Substrate” is another word for bedding, and tegus are burrowing lizards, which means that they like to have a lot of it! 12-24” (30-60 cm) of it, in fact — or at least on one side of the enclosure. Tegus with regular opportunities to burrow tend to be more physically fit, demonstrate more natural behaviors, and keep claws filed down without human interference.

Substrate Options:

  • DIY naturalistic mix – Roughly 40% organic topsoil, 30% sphagnum moss, 15% play sand, and 15% peat moss. Layer with leaf litter for best results. Holds humidity and burrows very well when kept damp. This is arguably the best substrate for tegus.
  • Bio Dude Terra Firma — Bioactive-ready substrate that holds humidity and burrows very well.
  • Reptichip — Mulched coconut shell. Holds humidity well, less dusty than coconut fiber.
  • Cypress mulch (not blend) —Holds humidity well, especially when layered on top of soil/sand mix.
  • Eucalyptus mulch — Holds humidity well, but don’t use if you plan to use live plants in your enclosure. More popular outside of the US.

By Tomfriedel (Own work) , via Wikimedia Commons

Whatever you choose, substrate should be replaced at least quarterly and spot cleaned as needed.

Avoid these substrates:

  • Potting soil — Full of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals that are harmful to reptiles.
  • Sand — Dry and dusty.
  • Aspen shavings — Doesn’t hold humidity well and molds easily.
  • Pine/fir bark or shavings — Contains oils that cause neurological damage and even death in reptiles.

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Keep reading:

  1. Introduction to Tegus
  2. Shopping List
  3. List of Tegu Species
  4. Terrarium Sizing for Hatchlings, Juveniles & Adults
  5. Temperature & Humidity Requirements
  6. Substrate Options
  7. Decorating Your Tegu’s Enclosure
  8. Feeding Your Tegu
  9. Handling Tips
  10. Benefits of Free-Roaming
  11. Common Problems & Questions About Tegu Health
  12. Additional Resources

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