This is a common question that we get from homeowners, “Can I get termites by spreading mulch around my house?”. The answer is two part. First, yes it is possible to scoop up termites with mulch and spread them around your home. Second, it really doesn’t matter because the termites that you would bring 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 (Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and the rest of Hampton Roads) are subterranean termites. Subterranean termites live in the ground and are all around our homes. The number of termites already around a home, would dwarf the number of termites you could pick up at the lawn and garden center by 1000 times or more. So they are a much bigger concern than the termites that happen to be found in the mulch.
Mulching your flower beds will hold moisture in the soil adjacent to the home. This makes it more suitable for a termite infestation and will increase your risk for termites. So mulch can increase your risk for termites but not because termites are living in the mulch. Getting a yearly termite inspection and keeping your property under a termite policy are the best ways to ensure you are termite free.
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