How To Look At A House

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Does wood chip mulch in the yard attract termites?

Monday, October 8, 2018

Contrary to what you may have heard, the answer is an emphatic “NO!” Termites are regularly found under wood mulch around Gainesville area homes, especially in yards with dense landscaping and a sprinkler system that keeps the soil moist. But there is no indication that it “attracts” or “causes” a termite infestation in your home.

    Research studies by both the University of Florida and the University of Maryland entomology departments found that, while termites will eat most  varieties of wood mulch sold at garden centers while in the process of underground foraging around a yard, it is not their favorite diet; and, the incidence of termites under areas of mulch was found to be no higher than under areas of bare soil or pea rock ground cover. In fact, the University of Maryland study found the most termite activity under pea rock.  

   Wood chip mulch contributes to a stable, moist soil environment that is good for trees and shrubs. So don’t stop using it. But, because mulch in contact with the base of your home can provide a concealed and protected route for their mud tubes to reach the wood framing lumber of the house, which is their favorite meal, it is recommended that you keep the mulch a couple of inches away from the house or, at least, below the level of any siding.

   To read the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) study report, which evaluated the survival rate of termites in a containers with different types of wood mulch in a controlled, humid lab environment, click on the link below:


    Also, see our blog post Do termites eat concrete? 

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To learn more about TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND OTHER PESTS see these blog posts:

Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim? 

Do carpenter ants cause structural damage to houses in Florida? 

How long before closing can you have a WDO (termite) inspection done?

How long does Bora-Care® last? 

Where are the most common places to find wood rot on a house?

 Why is it a mistake to store lumber in the crawl space under a house? 

Does the presence of carpenter ants in a house indicate that there are probably also termites? 

How do termites infest a house and remain hidden while doing major damage?

 Are homes in Florida required to have termite protection? 

If termite damage appears to be old, does that mean that termites may no longer be present?

What does roach poop (fecal pellets) look like? 

When do termites swarm in Florida? 

• Is wood rot found on a home inspection considered serious? 

    Visit our TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND PESTS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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