Termites In Mulch
Summary: Should you be concerned about termites in mulch? Quite a bit, actually. Fresh mulch spread all around our homes and offices creates a nice, fresh food source for wood eating pests and a warm blanket for bugs looking for shelter from the hot sun or early spring cold.
Okay, class! This is Mulch Spreading, 101. This lesson is required before you are permitted to purchase your next bag of mulch. And, by the way, it would not be a bad lesson to learn for a lot of so-called professional landscape services.
œWhat's this got to do with pest control? you might ask. Everything! Where do the majority of nuisance insects come from? They come from outside the house. And what are they attracted to? Moisture and a cool, shady spot. Are you beginning to put two and two together yet?
***image1***Let me explain. Most homeowners do not clear away last year's depleted layer of mulch. They simply dump the new stuff right over the old. The old mulch has compressed into a hard layer of somewhat-waterproof wood chips. Water soaks down through the new mulch layer, hits the hardened mulch layer, then runs off in one direction or another. If it runs off towards the foundation the water collects, resulting in either a damp basement or at very least, a damp environment next to the cool foundation wall to which insects will migrate by the tens of thousands.
So, here are three simple steps you can take to help prevent your home from become the local Motel 6 for every ant, pillbug and centipede within a quarter mile.
- Remove or, at least, break up the mulch from last season. Thoroughly rough it up with a steel rake. Leaf rakes will not work.
- Put out new mulch so that it slants away from the foundation of the house. This may require some serious grading, especially if you have allowed old mulch to build up into hills approximating the size of the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Remove any mulch that comes within six inches of the top of the foundation wall. Never, never, never (That's 3 œnevers) allow mulch to touch the brick or wood siding of the house. That's a sure way to invite termites and other little nasties into your home.
End of lesson! Seriously! That's all there is to it. Class dismissed. Go get your gardening tools and get to work.
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