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Does Mulch Attract Bugs and Pests? (Plus Simple Tips to Keep Them Away)

Does Mulch Attract Bugs and Pests? (Plus Simple Tips to Keep Them Away)

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Spending time outdoors tending to your garden will help you to feel a sense of inner peace. There’s something about taking care of plants that makes you feel really good about life.

It’s also fantastic to know that you’re making your property look the best that it can. If you want to put a lot of effort into your landscaping, then that’s really going to improve the aesthetic appeal of your property.

Of course, many people choose to add mulch to their garden beds. This can make the garden beds look more attractive, and it’s also a good way to control weeds.

However, you might have heard that mulch can make things worse in certain ways. If someone told you that mulch attracts bugs and pests, then you’re probably wondering if that’s true or not.

Continue reading to learn everything that you need to know about mulch. You’ll be able to learn more about whether mulch will make issues with bugs and other pests worse or if that’s not something that you need to be concerned with.

Mulch Does Attract Bugs

Sadly, mulch does indeed attract bugs to the area. This doesn’t mean that using mulch can’t be a good thing, though.

There are many different types of mulch on the market that you can choose from. The most popular types of mulch are made out of wood chips.

Wood chip mulch looks gorgeous and it can certainly help to stave off issues with weeds. For this reason alone, it might be worthwhile for you to get some mulch for your garden beds.

It’s also going to help to make the garden area look that much nicer. You can pick out the perfect mulch that will look good alongside your plants.

That being said, wood chip mulch is going to attract various bugs and pests. Many different bugs such as roaches, termites, carpenter ants, and earwigs like to hide in the mulch.

As you might suspect, carpenter ants and termites could end up being a major problem. In fact, these bugs could wind up damaging your home significantly.

In some cases, people have had these bugs cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to their homes. It’s unfortunate, but you might not wish to place wood mulch too close to your home.

It likely won’t matter quite so much if the garden beds in question are further out in the yard. Regardless, some people don’t like the idea of using mulch that has the potential to attract bugs and pests.

Do you have other options when it comes to mulch? Can you protect your garden beds with mulch without having to worry about bugs?

Not All Wood Mulch Is Bad

Firstly, it should be said that not all wood mulch is bad. Wood mulch wouldn’t be so popular if it was detrimental to your property.

There are types of wood mulch that are pretty good at repelling various types of insects. For example, cedar and cypress mulch will be useful for those who want to keep many types of bugs at bay.

The reason why these types of mulch can repel bugs has to do with what they do to the soil. They add natural oils and chemicals to the soil, and this will repel bugs.

Some of the most worrisome bugs can be repelled by using cedar or cypress mulch. Cockroaches, termites, and many types of ants will be inhibited or killed by these two mulch types.

If you’re going to use wood mulch in a garden bed that is close to your home, then choosing cedar or cypress mulch makes sense. These two types of mulch look fantastic, and they do an admirable job of repelling bugs.

It’s also worth noting that these mulch types can attract beneficial insects. The beneficial insects will eat the bad bugs that you don’t want in your garden.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with cypress mulch or cedar mulch. You can find these types of mulch at local department stores and hardware stores.

Inorganic Mulch Types

This might seem weird at first, but there are inorganic types of mulch that you can turn to. Many of these mulch types will keep bugs away since the bugs will want nothing to do with the inorganic materials.

You can find plastic mulch types being sold in various stores. Aluminum-coated plastic seems to be the best when it comes to controlling bugs.

The plastic will reflect the sunlight, and this confuses the bugs. It will blind them and make them want to stay away from your plants.

If you’re looking for a solid type of mulch that will protect plants from insects, then this will be a solid choice. You can easily protect plants against pests such as aphids, leafhoppers, and whiteflies using inorganic mulch.

The problem with this mulch is that it can only work in certain garden beds. If you crowd your gardens with plants, then too much of the soil’s surface will be covered.

You won’t be able to utilize the plastic mulch in a garden that has too many plants in it. When the leaves of the plants completely shade the surface of the soil, it’s just not going to work to repel bugs.

Also, plastic mulch has the potential to soak up thermal energy. It’ll get very hot when placed in direct sunlight during the summer.

Touching the mulch could be very unpleasant when it’s heated such as this. It could also scorch your plants if you aren’t careful.

For this reason, many people don’t like using inorganic mulch types. They’re good in some situations, but they might not be so great in others.

They also don’t provide your garden area with a pleasant aroma. Wood chip mulch smells fantastic, and it looks really nice as well.

The inorganic mulch might look okay, but it’s hard to compare the two when it comes to aesthetic quality. If you’re looking for nice mulch for your garden, then you might wish to look elsewhere.

Straw Mulch Can Work

Wood chip mulch won’t be your only option when looking at organic mulch types. You can also buy straw mulch if you’d like to.

Straw mulch isn’t very heavy, and sometimes it might blow away if you don’t pack it tight. However, it’s great for getting rid of bugs in your garden beds.

People often use straw mulch in garden beds when they’re trying to grow squash plants or cucumbers. The straw mulch is superb for keeping cucumber beetles away from such plants.

It’s also notable that straw mulch keeps the bugs from being able to lay eggs. You should be able to reduce the number of insects quite a bit if you decide to go with straw mulch.

Another benefit to consider involves protecting your plants from rot. Straw mulch is good when you’re worried about potential fungal issues.

It’ll keep fungus from spreading in the garden bed quite so easily. You should be less likely to have the plants deal with root rot as well since the straw mulch won’t capture as much moisture as wood chip mulch.

Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch

One sort of obscure type of mulch that you should try out is called cocoa bean shell mulch. This mulch can make your garden area smell like chocolate.

It might make you a little bit hungry, but it’s also going to be great for repelling bugs. This is a mulch that some people use when they’re trying to keep slugs and termites at bay.

You’ll also be impressed with the overall look of cocoa bean shell mulch. It’s dark brown and it looks really sharp in garden beds.

There could be a reason to avoid using this mulch, though. You see, dogs can easily get sick if they eat the cocoa bean shell mulch.

Dogs will often make bad choices, and they’ll eat the mulch even though it’s going to be harmful to them. If you have pets, then you might want to stick with cedar or cypress mulch.

It’s also generally recommended to avoid this mulch when you have small children. You wouldn’t want young kids that don’t know any better to eat the mulch and get sick.

Even if you just care about stray animals, it might be better to avoid this mulch. It’s a cool type of mulch that can repel bugs, but it’s not without its drawbacks.

Some Plants Can Repel Insects

Have you thought about trying to repel insects another way? You could choose what you plant in your gardens very carefully.

There are plants that will attract bugs and there are plants that will repel them. You could try to plant some plants in your yard that will keep bugs away from your home.

Marigolds are a popular option that you can plant around the perimeter of your home. These pretty flowers are capable of repelling pesky insects such as mosquitoes and aphids.

They can also keep rabbits from wanting to go near your garden area. If you have local rabbits that are eating your crops, then planting marigolds might prove to be useful.

Chrysanthemums are fantastic when you have problems with cockroaches in your area. Roaches seem to hate chrysanthemums because they produce pyrethrin.

Pyrethrin is safe for animals and humans, but it is extremely toxic to insects. You should be able to keep ants, fleas, and ticks away from your gardens if you plant some chrysanthemums in strategic locations.

Lavender plants have often been used in garden areas to repel mosquitoes. These pretty plants will also do a good job of keeping flies and fleas away from your property.

For this reason, lavender is another top contender when you’re looking for a plant to go around the perimeter of your home. It also smells very nice.

Geraniums can be used to repel mosquitoes too. They’re also great for getting rid of leafhoppers and Japanese beetles.

Basil is another option that you should know about. These herbs repel mosquitoes and flies quite well.

People grow basil in herb gardens pretty often. You can harvest the basil to utilize it as an ingredient in your cooking.

Rosemary is another herb that you can use for cooking. Planting it in a garden bed will help you to repel various harmful insects such as mosquitoes.

These are good container plants that you can place on your porch or patio. They can be placed in the ground to protect garden beds, too.

Final Thoughts

Mulch can attract bugs and pests, but not all mulch will do so. There are various types of wood mulch that will attract bugs.

You’re going to want to be careful which types of wood chip mulch you decide to go with. Some mulch types might wind up attracting troublesome pests such as termites and carpenter ants.

Thankfully, there are types of wood chip mulch that can keep those bugs at bay. If you choose to buy either cypress mulch or cedar mulch, then you won’t have to worry about termites or ants.

These mulch types produce natural chemicals that will repel bugs. They look amazing in garden beds, and they’ll do a good job of protecting your plants.

Of course, there are other options to consider when looking for mulch types that repel bugs. You could choose to go with straw mulch.

In some ways, straw mulch might be better than wood chip mulch. It just depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Straw mulch makes it less likely that your plants will deal with fungal issues. This mulch is also great when you’re trying to protect plants from cucumber beetles.

Inorganic mulch is something that won’t attract bugs either. It has some problems, but it’s really good at keeping bugs away from your garden beds.

The best kind to use is the aluminum-coated plastic mulch that reflects sunlight. It confuses the bugs and blinds them.

Bugs generally won’t come near this type of plastic mulch. However, the mulch absorbs heat, and it can become so hot that it will scorch your plants.

This means that you need to be careful how you use inorganic mulch. It’s still a decent option when you’re trying to avoid attracting bugs to the area, though.

Finally, you could simply choose to plant things that will repel bugs. You could plant marigolds, chrysanthemums, rosemary, basil, or lavender.

There are many great options that should keep your garden area free of annoying bugs. Don’t try to get rid of beneficial insects since they will help to keep your garden safe.


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