While mulch may not seem like an obvious way to keep termites at bay, some organic mulches may deter termites from rooting around in your garden. How does this work and which mulches are best?
Termites and Mulch
Termites generally like mulch and the environment it creates. While they may eat some mulches, this isn't the main reason they venture into mulched areas. When you scatter organic matter in your garden, you create a moisture-trapping layer. Termites like to live in damp places. So, they may be drawn to mulch because it is moist, and they may happily tunnel around in it to find the damp spots they need.
This doesn't happen with every kind of organic mulch, however. Termites, like people, have likes and dislikes. So, if you want to lay down mulch that will make your garden less attractive to termites, then pick your product carefully.
Mulches That Termites Don't Like
While you can buy some mulches that have been treated against termites, other products do this naturally. Termites don't like certain smells enough to hang around them; some smells also repel them more vigorously. Some mulches are toxic to termites, and they'll typically avoid these products.
For example, termites will avoid mulches made from cypress heartwood or cedar chips. If any termites do decide to get in these mulches, then the resins in the wood may kill them. Tea tree mulch is also a good bet. Tea tree has a strong smell which repels termites effectively. It can also be harmful to them.
While choosing the right mulch may help you keep termites out of parts of your garden, this needs careful management. For example, the smell and effects of a mulch degrade over time as it breaks down. This could make a barrier less effective. You'll need to change or top up your mulch to see ongoing benefits.
Plus, you should take care where you mulch. It's not a good idea to lay mulch close to your home's walls. Even if a mulch repels termites initially, they may be attracted to if it loses some of its deterrent strength. This could give them access to your home.
If you are worried about termites coming into your garden or have already spotted some, then mulch may help. For a really effective solution, call in a local termite control company to check your garden and home out. They can help you decide if mulching is a good idea or not and can advise on other termite prevention solutions.