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The Truth About Termites In Mulch


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Research Trianble Park, N.C.--

A widely reported rumor that termite-infested mulch being processed in southern states ravaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita is winding up on the shelves of nationwide home centers is completely false, according to Dr. Bob Davis, a market development expert for BASF, the manufacturer of leading termite defense products Termidor® and Phantom® termiticides/insectides.

In recent weeks, an unsubstantiated message has been circling the Internet claiming that trees downed by hurricane winds in states with large infestations of the ultra-destructive Formosan termite are being shredded into mulch that is then sold at extremely low prices to various home centers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot. Numerous entomologists and other experts have gone on-record debunking the theory, including Davis.

“The mulching process itself will kill most termites in the wood,â€

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It is obvious Mr Davis wants to sell his product. The following has no bearing on the recent huricanes affects on mulch. The problem has been around for a long time.

Mulch CAN contain termites, ants, molds and bacterial elements. There is little if any treatment of mulch before shipment from the processing area.

A blight in some newly placed mulch killed one of my silver maple trees. The death came from a fungus that was in the mulch. It is not uncommon for mulch to contain ants or ant larve.

Termites are a different matter. Some sub. termites must live in the ground away from sunlight so they need a circumstance where the mulch has little contact with the ground. You won't find that anywhere.

Dry bagged mulch made from cedar or redwood is probably the best available since they are supposed to be termite resistant woods. Ants and mold/fungi can still be present.

Wet pine mulch mixed with dirt is probably the worse. That just invites termites to a meal.

I would not buy any mulch produced in Texas, Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia or Florida. All those states have heavy termite and ant problems. You might try Canadian peat instead.

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  • 4 weeks later...

True...to the above above. I believe the quarantine began back in 2005. Plus will all green waste either being burned, buried locally or treated for termites, there is really no reason for people to stress about stores selling infested prodects. Especially stores like the Home Depot and Lowes. No worries… happy gardening.

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  • 3 months later...

A side note. Watch out for fire wood that it appears to be weak in structure possibly due to termite damage. Be especially careful with firewood that has bark in place. The termites might be under it. Once you have seen the damage caused by termites you can easily understand that they can travel form firewood, and mulch if you are not selectice about the source and pest removal actions.

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