While natural mulches are revered in the green industry for their multiple benefits in the lawn and landscape, one cannot help but wonder if by nature mulches don’t actually attract pests and entertain their thriving. The question has a foundation in science: organic mulches, due to their natural moisture and their decomposing features make, in theory, the best environments for moist-loving insects to take residence and multiply. Since Oklahoma is home for hundreds of species of dangerous pests, the answer to this question becomes even more pressing. What if by naturally fertilizing the soil we actually offer pests the perfect conditions to thrive? In order to tackle this issue, our pest control Broken Arrow OK specialists are here today to offer their know-how and expertise.

Mulch Decomposition

Just like any organic material, mulch also decomposes as an effect of mixed climacteric conditions and insect activity. Natural mulch is usually made of grass clippings, straw, shredded leaves, seaweed, or shredded bark – it is only normal to decompose with the help of decomposing insects breaking down the vegetal debris and aiding with the soil fertilization. From this point of view, once you apply a layer of mulch you will also see some insect activity in those planting areas. Sow bugs, millipedes, earwigs and centipedes may show up in larger numbers than normal, especially if it rains for prolonged periods of time. However, our pest control Broken Arrow OK specialists say that organic mulch doesn’t normally entertain the thriving of such pests when the weather is hot and dry.

What About Termites?

Oklahoma is, unfortunately, a very good place for many pests to thrive and termites are one of the most dreaded ones. These invaders are able to cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and put down entire properties and houses. Termites live underground and need moisture to thrive. They feed on wood and wooden materials – this is why their relationship with vegetal mulch needs a closer look. If organic mulch is the perfect environment for termites to grow in numbers you need to know a few things before panicking or giving up on the use of moist mulch as fertilizer. Our pest control Broken Arrow, OK specialists say that in order for termites to infest a property starting from the mulch layer, a particular set of conditions need to be met in the same time:
  • Plenty of water, moist and humidity need to persist for very long periods of time to entertain termites in relationship to mulch. Fortunately, our living area seldom witnesses such climacteric conditions.
  • The mulch layer has to be very thick (more than three inches deep) and severely compacted. As a responsible homeowner, you probably eliminate such condition from the start, as you know how to install mulch and to rake it occasionally to allow air flow.
  • The garden and landscape aren’t checked for pest activity and you don’t perform any lawn maintenance activity – which, again, seems unlikely.
To answer the termite question, yes, if all these conditions are simultaneously met, you do indeed risk a termite infestation on your property with mulch as primary source. But, if you respect the mulch installation rules and you have your property maintained and checked by your local pest control Broken Arrow, OK specialists, you should not worry about termites.