Does Mulch Attract Bugs?

Many of us may choose to have mulch in our backyard. After all, it can be fantastic for your garden in a multitude of ways.

It keeps weeds at bay, locks in moisture to keep your plants well watered and aids their growth, and even just cleans up the general landscape by keeping it looking nice and tidy.

However, there is one major drawback to mulch for the bug-fearing. It really can attract them in numbers aplenty. Something not everyone will be super thrilled about.

However, it’s important to remember that mulch doesn’t actually attract or draw in creepy crawlies from far and wide.

Rather, the mulch just provides the bugs and critters within the vicinity with the optimum hospitable environment.

You see, mulch retains water, and bugs and the like enjoy coming to the area for this reason.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the bugs that are attracted to mulch, why they are attracted to it, and which mulch they prefer. Ready to learn more? Then keep on reading.

Bugs, Critters, And Creepy Crawlies Attracted To Mulch

1. Termites


You’ll often find termites living in mulch, in fact, this happens so frequently that many actually believe that mulch automatically contains them, though this isn’t the case.

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that termites aren’t necessarily drawn to the mulch itself. It’s more than mulch and cool and moist protection are basically synonymous.

And it’s the cool and moist habitat that the termites are so fond of.As I mentioned above, termites are very attracted to mulch because of its moisture.

Once in contact with the mulch, they will often begin to dig thin tunnels throughout it to look for a source of food and just to generally explore their new habitat.

A termite’s favorite kind of mulch is usually Loblolly Pine, White Birch, and Slash Pine.

2. Ants


You will often find ants in your mulch. However, they aren’t necessarily that interested in it that they would make the effort to migrate to the area.

It’s more that they’re already in the ground and once they come across it, they like it enough to stick around. 

Ants adore wood as a general rule, and carpenter ants love it even more. So, the more wood that you make available to them, the more likely you are to see them.

They are often attracted to thicker beds of mulch because they prefer to build their nests in it. If you want to discourage ants from your mulch then you’ll need to make sure that it’s shallow. 

Wood and organic mulch are by far the most preferred mulch types for ants. 

3. Cockroaches


When it comes to organic mulch, you might want to try and keep it as far away from your house as possible.

Why? Because it can invite cockroaches not only into your mulch but into your home too.

You see, mulch is so much more appealing to cockroaches than, say, just the general soil.

It has more protection from weeds and erosion and such and also provides them with tons of nutrients and insulation during the winter months.

Therefore, they are likely to nest in the mulch which can then cause an infestation.

And if it’s nearby the access to your home, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll explore the inside of your home too in the hopes of extra food and sustenance.

Pine Straw Mulch and Bark Shavings are particularly appealing varieties of mulch for these creepy crawlies.

4. Spiders


Spiders really enjoy mulch due to its ability to conserve moisture. They really enjoy nesting in mulch and when the mulch is relatively close to the home they will often go exploring and make their way inside your home through the foundations.

These creepy crawlies are really fond of wood dust which attracts them, not only this but mulch also attracts many of their favorite meals, so it’s the perfect place for them.

The moisture also means that they can stop their bodies from drying out, and the mulch provides shelter, warmth, and hiding spots. So, for these arachnids, there’s no better place to call home.

Spiders are most fond of Pine Bark Mulch and Wood Mulch.

Can You Stop Pests From Living In Mulch?

As with all things, there are many advantages and disadvantages to using mulch. One of the main disadvantages being that it seems to be the perfect home for a variety of different bugs and critters.

It is unlikely that you will ever be able to rid your mulch of all animals, bugs, and pests completely, however, there are options out there that can help you to avoid them where possible.

Let’s take a closer look at them now.

  • Plastic Mulch – Plastic mulch is an inorganic product that is made up of polyethylene which is usually coated in aluminum, black, or clear sheets. The purpose of them is to reflect the sunlight and blind and disorientate the pests to deter them.
  • Cedar/Cypress Mulch – Both of these contain natural chemicals or oils that deter, repel, inhibit, or kill insects.
  • Straw Mulch – Straw mulch is known for decreasing insect population and deterring insects from laying eggs around your garden. Not only this but it protects the plants from fungus too.

Final Thoughts

Yes, mulch can attract insects, bugs, and animals. And in fact, the animals listed in this article only begin to skim the surface.

This can be pretty off-putting for some gardeners but luckily there are options available that can help to prevent the number of pests that will set up camp in your mulch. 

One tip that I would always suggest is to ensure that your mulch is never directly closeby to your actual home.

If it’s near the windows, doors, or foundations of the building, there’s a good chance that you may find some exploring critters in your home. And that’s something that nobody wants. 

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