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Can Termites Consume A Tree’s Bark?

November 16th, 2017

Can Termites Consume A Tree’s Bark?

In the past this blog has mentioned how mulch can attract termites. But what about mulch that consists entirely of tree bark? Do some types of bark attract termites more than other types? Which bark mulch should be used for landscaping if termites are a concern? There are some rumors that have been going around for years telling about the attraction that termites have to bark mulch. There are even some rumors involving termites already being present in bags of store bought bark mulch. But how much truth is there to these rumors? If termites were attracted to bark, then wouldn’t more termites be found infesting the bark of healthy trees?

Most gardeners will use mulch for decorative purposes and/or to prevent the growth of unwanted plants near their gardens, such as weeds. Gardeners can choose from a variety of different types of bark mulch. Some types last longer than other types. However, no matter which type of bark mulch you use in your garden, there is little chance that termites will infest the bark. First of all, termites cannot survive in a sealed bag, so there is no truth at all to the rumor claiming that termites have been found alive in store bought bags of bark mulch, or any type of mulch. Even if you buy bark mulch that is not bagged, termites cannot survive being separated from their colonies for very long. In rare cases when live termites are found within unbagged mulch, worker termites cannot start their own colonies. So no matter what the circumstances, bark mulch will not result in a termite infestation. But can bark mulch attract nearby termites after it is applied to the ground?

Regular kinds of mulch that are not made from a tree’s bark have low nutritional value, but bark mulch has even less. This is probably why termites do not feed on bark that is located on trees. It has already been proven that termites cannot survive on a diet of bark alone. After thirteen days, every termite in a colony will die as a result of consuming nothing but tree bark. Termites can survive for longer periods of time when feeding on mulch that is not made from tree bark. This is why mulch that is made from tree bark is the best choice for gardeners.

If you use mulch for landscaping, do you buy bark mulch? If you do buy bark mulch is your choice based on termite infestation prevention?

 

 

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