Redwood Mulch and Termites

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Termites, termites, always termites. If you live in area that has traditional termite problem, you are already tired of hearing about them.

Seems like everyone is paranoid! Does this attract termites? Can that create perfect conditions for them?

Did I bring termites into the house with the new piece of furniture? Did they arrive in a fresh bag of mulch?

One thing that is largely discussed, is how the organic wood mulch in your landscape design adds to your chances to have an infestation. Let’s see, does red mulch attract termites?

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So, let’s take a close look into relationship between termites and redwood mulch. And answer the question: “does red mulch attract termites?”.

What is mulch?

Mulch is pretty much scraps of wood and bark, that people are using in their gardens. The wooden mulch has many alternatives, such as rock or rubber mulch, but the real nature lovers opt for the organic wood mulch.

What is the purpose of adding this element to your garden?

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  1. Moisture conservation.
  2. Enriched soil.
  3. Protection of the roots from heat or cold.
  4. Suppression of weed growth.

Mulch is usually used on the flowerbeds and around the trees. But it looks so good and feels so nice, that it also can be used as a playground or pathway filling.

The woodchip mulch comes in different colors and the colorful redwood mulch is one of the most attractive to combine with the plants and flowers.

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?

Is redwood mulch termite resistant?

Technically, yes. Termites are not interested in redwood as much as in other species, the same way as they don’t like cedar wood. So, being repellent for termites is one good quality of the redwood mulch in addition to its good looks. But…

Does it mean redwood mulch will keep the termites away from my garden? Not at all!

The only thing you know for sure, is that termites will not feed on the mulch itself. Actually almost any kind of wood mulch has such a little nutritional value for termites, that they hardly can feed only on it.

But the termites use the mulch in another way. To understand it you have to now a little about the termites’ habits.

This time we’re talking about one termite family – the subterranean termites. The name itself can tell you what they like – they like to live underground. These termites build their nests in soil, where they can get enough moisture which they need for life.

These creatures don’t like to be exposed to sunlight and dry ground, so they build the mud tubes to have a cover for their movements. The wet and shaded soil attracts this pests, because it creates perfect condition for their colony life.

Guess what, your mulch is doing exactly this. Its qualities to keep the moisture and protect the soil from direct sunlight makes it a perfect place for the subterranean termites to live and forage.

So, even if you are using redwood mulch, and you’re certain that termites don’t feed on it, it doesn’t mean that it’s not covering the nest.

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.

How did I get the termites?

Photo 3Now we come to the legends of pest operators evil plot to infest every household with termites.

You don’t know it? Well, the rumor says that there were termites found in bags of wood mulch bought from some common stores. Panic!

No, actually, don’t. Think about it – what are the chances of finding a living termites in the sealed plastic bag?

They are small. And, even if there’re, those would be some workers caught in action, while nibbling on the wood chips.

They will not last long being separated from their colony. And they cannot reproduce, there’s a whole special termite division for this in every colony – alates.

Workers cannot build the nest, they cannot become king and queen so, all you should feel, if you found termites in a bag of mulch, is pity for little bastards.

And you got termites in your garden just like everybody else: couple of winged reproductives came to your place and liked it. That’s all.

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.

Why bother about the nest?

Maybe you think that if termites don’t eat the mulch, then you don’t need to worry about them? Sorry, that’s not how it works. If they cannot feed where they live, they’ll start exploring the area in search of the cellulose to eat.

It can be anything and, of course, it can be your house. This is why you should pay attention to the signs of infestation and prevent the termite invasion.

What are the signs?

Photo 4Usually, house owners notice termites when they pull the weeds out from the flower beds or change the old mulch.

If you feel worried, go and dig the mulch in couple of places to see if there any insects under the ground.

If there’re, make sure it’s termites and not ants, so you don’t waste time on fighting a wrong enemy.

Another possibility is that you will notice the swarm. This is the moment when the colony has reached its full development and is ready to reproduce. So the winged termites are going up it the air to search for the new nesting places.

Usually, the swarm starts in the early morning in spring or summer, and all the alates emerge from underground simultaneously. If you were absent at the precise time of the swarm, you might see a lot of shed wings after, and, because the alates are poor flyers, they will not be far away from the origin place.

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?

What to do to avoid the house infestation?

The best way to fight the termites is not to let them to threaten your house on the first place. Prevention is a magic key to termite-free home. Let’s go from the start:

  1. If you build your own house from scratch, you should consider full under the slab protection. It can be a physical barrier, that will be installed under the house foundation or a chemical soil treatment with the repellent termiticides, that won’t allow termites to enter your building.
  2. If your house is already long time built you can also make a chemical soil treatment. The best way will be to call for the pest control operators, who are licensed for the use of some of the most effective insecticides, such as Termidor, for example.
  3. To monitor the termite activity, install a baiting system around the building. The monitors will let you know if the termites appeared in your area, and then you can let them take your bait and bring the poisoned material back to their nest, where they will share it, killing the whole colony.

Make sure you don’t create perfect conditions for the termites to like you house:

  • Fix the plumbing issues, so there’s no water accumulating under slab or at any other place.
  • Make sure the wood is not in contact with the soil, because subterranean termites can use it as an entry point.
  • Check all the cracks and crevices in walls and foundation, maybe apply some foam insecticide in them, to make sure they are not used by termites.
  • Don’t let the mulch come in contact with the house.
  • Make sure you don’t pour to much water on the mulch areas.

And finally, make a contract with your local pest control office, to make sure you have a guaranteed annual checkup by a professional.

Advice! Even if you have an entirely protected house, don’t ignore the infestation. They still can attack your fence, or electric pole, or any other piece of wood in your land. Treat them before they have a chance in destruction.

Useful articles

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

What if I have termites under the mulch already?

Photo 5The best course of action would be to remove the mulch and place the stakes or baites in this area, this way you’re offering the passing termites a place to forage and there’s a chance they will bring the poison to the nest, eliminating the colony in a matter of weeks.

Treating the soil under the mulch with the repellent insecticide might not do the trick.

First of all, there’s no guarantee there’s a nest right here, it might be feet away, so all you’ll achieve is for termites to search for a new place to forage, possibly even pushing them towards your house.

1 comment
  1. John

    Damn it. They sold us the redwood mulch as a “completely termite resistant”, just forgot to mention that it doesn’t mean what we thought it means! And I was thinking where the termites are coming from to our porch – now it’s obvious. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Seller

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