Cypress Mulch Termites

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Subterranean termite is a hidden vermin that is very difficult to identify. Termites lead an extremely secret way of life, slightly but surely destroying houses, furniture and other wooden structures.

Most of the people neglect the crucial signs of termites’ infestation for a long time, that is why sometimes the damage becomes irretrievable.

But if termites can spoil belongings inside a house what about outdoors? Are there some of these nasty insects? Are there some termites living under the mulch on your favorite flowerbeds and rockeries?

Today we will try to answer all these questions and give you some necessary information concerning termites in a garden.

Contents

Are Termites Attracted by Cypress Mulch?

Photo 2Landscape mulches contribute to a stable moist environment that is good for our trees and shrubs: it can protect and inhibit weed growth and help soil retain water.

Wood mulch (as well as cypress) is very popular choice for many gardeners: it is cheap, lightweight, organic and easily accessible.

Such organic mulch as cypress make your flowerbeds look natural. But the thing is: does this mulch attract subterranean termites? Let’s have a look at this problem.

It is rather well known, that the soil itself is full of various insects: centipedes, millipedes, earwigs and also termites. Some of these insects are not the thing to worry about: earthworms, for example, enrich the soil with oxygen, loose it and make it more fertile.

However, termites are another matter, since they may use the favorable environment in the mulch to gain access to your home.

There is a widespread myth, that subterranean termites build their nests under the sawdust and other cheap types of mulch only. It is not exactly so.

Learn more about subterranean termites: signs of their activity; best methods of treatment and DIY methods. Eastern subterranean termites and their tunnels and tubes with photo.

In fact, termites are attracted by moisture, coolness and darkness that any type of mulch provides: and the thicker the mulch, the more insects you’re likely to find. You can find foraging termites either under wood mulch, or under crushed granite on your flowerbed.

However, there is mulch, more or less resistant to subterranean termites, for example, cypress mulch. Cypress mulch is comprised of the bark of the bald cypress It sometimes also contains pond cypress.

Often crushed or left in large nugget sizes, this aromatic material is sold in a variety of colors and is sometimes dyed red. Depending on the processor, cypress leaves are also sometimes can be found along with the bark.

Some homeowners believe, that cypress mulch has some repellant properties and is able to prevent termite infestation from around the home and so they spread it deliberately around the garden and along the house.

To say the truth, this statement is a mere superstition: cypress does not repel insects and may actually contribute to termite problems, rather than discourage them.

Photo 3Yes, today cypress heartwood is considered to be an extremely resistant mulch to nasty termites but only in comparison with other types of mulch – it decays very slowly, and termites feed minimally on the wood itself.

Cypress heartwood contains resins similar to those found in cedar that are detrimental and hurtful to termites.

However, there are also things to worry about – cypress heartwood can be scarce, and mulch may be harvested from cypress sapwood.

Gardeners should avoid using cypress sapwood, as it does not possess termite-resilient properties. Also, cypress mulch dries more slowly in comparison with pine bark or sawdust.

Advice: an effective alternative to cypress with repellant properties is using eucalyptus as mulch. An extremely potent odor of shredded eucalyptus leaves and bark actually does repel most of the nasty insects. In addition, it does not retain moisture as long as cypress, discouraging insects to build their nests.

We have just sorted it out that wood mulch as well as cypress mulch can cause the appearance of termites: any type of mulch can be a reason for termites to concentrate under the ground level of your flowerbed or rockery.

Cypress mulch is more or less resistant to subterranean termites but not entirely: every gardener should not neglect basic principles of mulch treatment, otherwise, even cypress mulch can be a cause of subterranean termites’ infestation.

Learn more about drywood termites: signs of their activity; best methods of treatment: spot treatment and DIY methods; how to get rid of them in furniture?

Recommendation: there is no need to avoid cypress as mulch for your flowerbeds or path believing it will lead to infestation in any case – just apply it carefully and keep an eye out for invading insects in your home. There are also some basic rules that will help to avoid infestation: replace cypress mulch every 2-3 years; aerate it with pitchfork; avoid excessive watering of your flowerbed.

How to Discover Termites Under Cypress Mulch On Your Flowerbed and Other Garden Structures?

Photo 4To find out whether the soil under the cypress mulch layer is full with foraging termites is not a problem and doesn’t need some special knowledge or tools: you just have to turn up the much in the dampest areas that you have to water rather frequently (around bushes, trees and flowers).

There you can easily find the signs of termites’ infestation: rotten wood pieces with typical smell. If you don’t find such evidence, you can dig the ground in wet areas (10-25 cm depth).

If there is a sound termites’ activity you will find workers running hither and thither in search of new food sources. As a rule, most of the homeowners discover infestation during a daily work in a garden rather accidentally.

Warning! While checking your garden for traces of subterranean termites do not forget about some basic safety measures: if you toss the mulch on your flowerbed do not forget to use garden protective gloves – just a slight contact with termites in some cases can cause allergic reactions and contact dermatitis. After you have dig the soil in search of termites, do not forget to disinfect your spade and other tools in order not to spread termites further.

Here you can learn more information about termite bait systems: Advance, Green, CSIRO, Nemesis, Exterra, Firstline, Terminate. Also find out how to make baits by yourself and how to refill them?

How to Get Rid of Subterranean Termites in Cypress Mulch? Step-By-Step Instruction

  1. After you have found that the flowerbed or other garden structure has a sound termites’ activity you have to understand, that it can possibly spread to your house. It means, that some of preventive measures have been neglected. You’d better to check the other flowerbeds and rockeries for termites. Also, pay a close attention to your house and the soil near it.
  2. The next step for you is to take away the mulch. You can put it away for some time to make necessary treatment actions with the soil itself. But the best option is to replace mulch with a new one.
  3. Make a barrier around a flowerbed. You can dig some hard non-wooden material into the soil (roofing slate, tin plates).
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  5. Dig all of the soil of the infested flowerbed to a depth of 20-25 cm. This measure will help you to dry the soil and make it not so attractive for termites.
  6. Find a right chemical to fight these nasty pests. Since your flowerbed is full with plants you have to choose the safest way to kill termites without killing your plants. The best choice for your flowerbed is a killing stake.
  7. Dry the mulch on the sun for 1-2 weeks. Spread it with a thin layer on some concrete foundation. It will be a nice idea to turn it over every 2-3 days.
  8. Dig all of the soil of the infested flowerbed to a depth of 20-25 cm one more time avoiding roots and killing stakes. Put the mulch back to your flowerbed.

Here you can learn more information about effective termite control remedies: Bora-Care, Boric acid, Borate, Fipronil, Chlorpyrifos, Chlordane, Borax, Timbor, Termidor, Terminator, Phantom, Lorsban, Biflex, Terro. You can choose different forms, such as – foam, liquid, powder.

Be careful! Before treating a flowerbed with any termite-killing chemical you are better to get a consultation with a professional in this field.

Useful articles

If you interested in more information of termites we recommend you to read the following articles:

Conclusion

Any kind of mulch can be a way for termites to spread: there is no mulch that is entirely safe and gives a gardener a reason to forget about it for years.

If some basic rules of mulch treatment are neglected, termites’ colony can spread to a house and cause a serious damage. Do not forget about preventive measures in order not to get an irretrievable situation with termites in your area.

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