Two of the world’s most destructive termite species are swarming Florida, and the fact that they are cross breeding could pose serious environmental and ecological consequences. Although we make a business out of removing termites from homes and businesses, we believe that everyone should have information available to them that can limit termite activity around their home before they have to call us. In this series of articles, we will explore the latest scientific research regarding termites in our area, and how to best protect your home from infestation with a preventative maintenance strategy.
A common question that we get from homeowners is “Can I get termites by spreading mulch around my house?” This is an interesting inquiry because the answer is twofold. Simply stated, yes it is possible to scoop up termites with mulch and spread them around your home. The second part of the answer is that it is not a major emergency because the termites that you would introduce have no reproductive abilities, and would be so few in number that they would have no chance of causing any real damage. Once removed from their original colony, they will likely die within a few days or weeks.
The termites that plague homes in our area are subterranean termites that live in the ground and are all around our neighborhoods. Amazingly, the number of termites already existing around a residence would dwarf the number of termites you could pick up in a bag of mulch from a lawn and garden center by 1000 times or more. Relatively speaking, they are a much bigger concern than the termites that happen to be found in commercially available mulch.
Since mulching your flower beds will hold moisture in the soil adjacent to the home, the conditions are naturally more suitable for a termite infestation and will increase your percentage of risk for termites. We are not suggesting that you should choose a different landscaping material, just that the method of application should follow some guidelines. Of course it is a wise idea to have a yearly termite inspection and keeping your property under a termite policy are the best ways to ensure you are termite free by one of our courteous and friendly professional technicians.
* Situate gutters and slope your landscape beds so water drains away from your house.
* Keep mulch in beds adjacent to the house about 12 inches from the foundation.
* Do not add fill dirt or garden soil around the foundation or under porches or steps without contacting us for retreatment.
* Do not disturb the chemical barrier at the base of the slab or around pilings by digging into it during bed preparation.
* Promptly remove all scrap wood and wooden debris from the property.
* Pine straw appears to be the mulch that is least attractive to termites. Avoid using wood chips to mulch beds adjacent to the house or other structures.
* Use metal edging, decorative bricks or border plants to edge your beds. Avoid landscape timbers, railroad ties or other wooden materials that may serve as food for termites.
* When watering, avoid spraying water against the foundation of your house.
* Build decks and other structures on concrete pads and treat around the pads and posts.
* Do not allow clinging vines, such as English ivy or creeping fig, to grow on the wall of your house.