View Full Version : Homeowner "Mulch" Warning

Anita Dunham-Potter
03-08-2006, 06:57 PM
Hello Everyone,

Normally, I don't post things like this; however, I feel this one is important. If you put mulch around your home read the follow

Subject: Avoid New Orleans Mulch

If you use mulch around your house be very careful about buying mulch this

year. After the Hurricane in New Orleans many trees were blown over. These

trees were then turned into mulch and the state is trying to get rid of tons

and tons of this mulch to any state or company who will come and haul it

away. So it will be showing up in Home Depot and Lowes at dirt cheap prices

with one huge problem; Formosan Termites will be the bonus in many of those

bags. New Orleans is one of the few areas in the country were the Formosan

Termites has gotten a strong hold and most of the trees blown down were

already badly infested with those termites. Now we may have the worst case

of transporting a problem to all parts of the country that we have ever had.

These termites can eat a house in no time at all and we have no good control

aga inst them, so tell your friends that own homes to avoid cheap mulch and

know were it came from.

Michael T. Mengak

Associate Professor-Wildlife Specialist

D. B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
Phone: 706.583.8096
Fax: 706.542.8356
Email: [email protected]

Warnell School of Forest Resources
100 Years of Academic Excellence: Practical Training for Successful Careers
in Forestry and Natural Resource Management
Beth Connell
DSM Chemicals
Phone: (706) 849-6395
Fax: (706) 849-6487

03-08-2006, 09:23 PM

I had heard about this too.....so I had to look it up. This article says termites could not survive the mulching process. Many mulches are dyed too so I don't think the termite could live through that.

I will have to check snopes.com too.

03-08-2006, 09:27 PM

Urban Legend. I thought I had seen it recently!!

Anita Dunham-Potter
03-09-2006, 12:25 PM
LOL! Now you see why I don't pass stuff around. I am going to stick to my old ways! Thanks for the laugh!


03-09-2006, 08:22 PM
I love looking around at the Snopes site....it is simply amazing what passes for truth in cyberland.

04-27-2006, 10:53 AM
Originally posted by susanliber@Mar 8 2006, 10:23 PM

I had heard about this too.....so I had to look it up.* This article says termites could not survive the mulching process.* Many mulches are dyed too so I don't think the termite could live through that.*

I will have to check snopes.com too.

Not to mention that after mulch gets chopped it gets bagged and stored at like 150F to keep it fresh. The fact is the conditions are so extreme nothing could live inside a bag of mulch.


04-27-2006, 04:46 PM
Even Consumer Reports has an article about this issue and the fake email floating around about it.

Consumer Reports consulted entomologists and mulch manufacturing experts.

Consumer Reports said, "Fortunately, the e-mail has proved false. After the hurricane, quarantines of 12 Louisiana parishes were issued for woody debris, which couldn't be moved from the ravaged areas without the submission of a treatment plan to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Bob Odom, Louisiana commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, had his department's invasive pest expert contact the stores mentioned in the e-mail and found no validity to the claims.

Still, what is the likelihood of a Formosan termite or any other termite species surviving the mulch-grinding process? It's highly unlikely that these soft-bodied insects could withstand the destructive environment during this process or the high temperatures (130 F to 160 F) of mulch packages and pallet stacks, according to entomologists. If a few termites did survive the process, they would die quickly because of the lack of the social system that is present in the colony system they maintain and that is so vital to termite survival, says Gary Bennett, director of the Center for Urban Pest Management at Purdue University."

Of course, termites are a real world problem, and so Consumer Reports also lists some tips from the National Pest Management Association for termite prevention which I've listed below.


The National Pest Management Association, a national trade association for the professional pest control industry, says one of the best defenses against termites is to keep all wood mulch away from a home's foundation. Here are some other tips to avoid attracting termites:

Avoid water buildup near your home's foundation. Most termites are drawn to moisture, so divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks.

Repair leaky roofs or windows right away. Termites can thrive in this moist environment.

Don't bury wood scraps or waster lumber in the yard, especially near the home. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the home.

Eliminate any wood contact with soil. Maintaining at least an 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the home is ideal.

Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation.

Don't cover vents. Prevent shrubs, vines, and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents by trimming them regularly.

Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termite damage. These include swarming of winged forms in the fall and spring; evidence of mud burrowing in, over, and under wood structures; and damaged wood that's extremely thin and easy to puncture."