Termites are far more common than you might imagine when it comes to home pests. Termites are present in around 70% of all countries in the world and they outnumber humans at least ten to one. Termites are so common in fact that nearly 20% of homes in the United States have reported that they have some sort of termite damage or active termite infestations.
Mulch is also very common in many homes, which begs the question, does mulch attract termites? Long story short, no, but it should be investigated further.
What Do Termites Eat?
Termites are what are considered detritivores, or eaters or detritus, or dead plant and tree matter. Termites eat the cellulose and organic fiber that is found in dead leaves, dead trees, and rotting wood. Though most termites eat wood and that is what we associate with termites, they do eat rotting plants and other plant matter.
Termites are not going to be attracted to fresh or treated lumber but are instead drawn to moisture in the wood. Since termites do eat wood and wood pulp, the wetter or softer the wood, the more likely termites are to eat the wood.
If the wood in your home and foundations is soft, wet and the area in which they are placed is dark, termites are going to be far more likely to live there and to start to eat the wood. Termites are opportunity feeders, they are going to eat what is the easiest to get to and the easiest to eat.
Does Mulch Attract Termites?
The mulch itself does not attract termites. If you do not already have termites or do not live in an area where termites are common, putting mulch in your flower beds is not going to draw hoards of termites that will then devour the foundations of your home. This does not mean however that if you do have termites, that they will not migrate to eat your mulch as well.
Mulch for the most part is treated to help it stay around longer and to stop its deterioration and to make sure that it is going to stay in your beds as long as possible. If you have a home where there are already termites, the mulch may give them another food source, especially if the bed that the mulch is in is not properly drained and the mulch stays wet.
Termites are very hard to get rid of and if your home is infested, you do need to get them taken care of before they cause extensive damage to the foundations of your home and other wood sources around your home. Taking the time to get the wood in your home or around your property. While mulch itself does not attract termites, it can provide a home for termites that are already on your property.
What Might Be Attracting Termites to Your Home?
While mulch itself does not attract termites, there may be some elements in your home or yard that do attract termites. Wood piles are a big draw for termites, especially if the woodpile does not move often or if it is not being used and the wood is allowed to get wet and eventually rot. These wood piles are a great source of food for termites and also offer a great place for termites to live and to breed more termites.
Termites are also like old tree stumps. When the stumps start to rot and start to get soft, they are the perfect food for termites. As with the wood piles, they also provide a great place to live and a great place to breed. The insides of stumps that are rotting are soft and supple and provide an excellent place for termites to go inside, breed, and have a constant source of food.
Mulch, In Some Conditions
Most mulch is not going to attract termites. If you have mulch that is natural and untreated or that is wet, it may provide termites with a place to live and a place to feed. Mulch that is laid in a very thick layer is more likely to provide food and a place to live for termites. Very thick layers of mulch or mulch that are mixed with dead leaves or dead plants are going to be more likely to be a good home for termites.
Standing Water or Wet Conditions
Wet yards or wet wood is going to be the biggest draw for termites. They need water to help soften the wood and help rot the cellulose so that it can be easily eaten and digested. When you have standing water, when you have wood and plant matter that has rotted, or when you have very damp, warm spaces, termites are going to be more at home and more likely to start infesting the area.
Getting Rid of Termites
You are likely not going to be able to get rid of a termite infestation on your own. The best method for removal is to contact an exterminator and to get them to take care of the active infestation. You can, of course, remove the things that are attracting the termites and take away any place where they might be living.
Get rid of standing water, remove woodpiles and rotten plant matter, and clean up the area so that it is less likely that termites will be able to find a food source and find a place to live and procreate. An exterminator is going to be able to get rid of live termites, help treat the area so that it is not going to be habitable for reinfestation and they can even kill the eggs as well.
Wrapping it up
Termites are common, but that does not mean that they have to be present in your home or that they have to damage your property. Exterminators can help kill current termites that are living in your home and they can also spray to help deter new termites and help keep your home safe and free of pests in the future.