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When I started my first company (4-Evergreen, LLC.) back in 2001, mulching customers’ landscaped areas was a common service that we regularly performed. We thought it was great. Not only did it add a nice, fresh color to their existing beds but also helped so much in weed prevention and control. It was until September 2012 when my thoughts immediately changed about mulch. This was the time when 4-Evergreen acquired Okeena Termite and Pest Control. At that point, being in the termite business, we were hired to protect home from termites and other pest control related issues. As I did my own research on what attracted termites, I found when conducive conditions are present under or around a structure, it is not “if” you are going to get termites, it is only “when” you will get termites. Termites are similar to so many other living organisms (including humans) needing food, water, and shelter to survive. Conducive conditions (under or against a structure) for termites include moisture content over 20%, any wood to ground contact such as wooden post, excess wood debris under a home, and even firewood stacked against the outside foundation of the structure. Now the reason mulch is a concern is obvious. It has ground up wood (cellulose) that holds moisture and provides harborage that termites need to survive and better yet thrive. So, many of you reading this are thinking what am I suppose to do? Do I have to get rid of all my mulch? Not necessarily. Mulch is no different than any other wood debris that termites will consume. The main concern with mulch is when it is in contact with the foundation wall, it provides food, moisture, and shelter for termites. Also it provides easy access for termites to move from your mulch right up your foundation where termites can begin feeding on the structure. I understand first hand through my lawn care experience how important mulch is for homeowners to keep the maintenance of their landscaped areas at a reasonable level. So here are some possible solutions.

Use an alternative instead of wood mulch such as rubber mulch, crushed brick, lava rock, or white rock. Another solution and possibly the easiest and least expensive would be to pull your existing mulch 12”-18” off the foundation and add pea gravel or some type of  rock to replace it. (Okeena Termite and Pest Control can provide you with a FREE estimate on what needs to be done to ensure your landscaped areas are properly maintained to alleviate any concern from termites.) This stone barrier will prevent easy access and not allow a natural bridge for termites to enter the structure. Termites cannot survive in sunlight and without moisture, therefore they will not want expose themselves as they will dry up very fast and be susceptible to death rather quickly. To ensure your home or structure is protected from termites (even if you have a current contract in place) Remember this: Anytime you add mulch or alter or disturb the soil in any form around the foundation of structure or building, consult with your termite professional to retreat those areas as instructed by the termiticide label. If you have any further questions or concerns about your landscaped areas or termite protection in general, please call the office for a FREE consultation.







Scott Riley

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