Mulch can benefit your landscaping and garden in many ways. It can help your landscape appear neat and tidy, it reduces weeds and keeps moisture in order to help the plants grow. But can mulch attract bugs? Yes, it could.

The mulch isn’t the only thing that draws insects or other pests to your garden. But, it does provide the insects already living in the area with a warm and welcoming environment.

There are a myriad of reasons why insects love mulch. If your area is subject to regular rain or there’s an area you mulch that is often a reservoir of water and doesn’t completely dry out, you might see increased activity of insects within the mulch. If you are averse to applying mulch, it could become a place which holds a lot of water and allows insects to nest under.

Let’s examine the different kinds of insects and pests in Pittsburgh that are attracted by mulch, and what makes it so attractive and why. We’ll also discuss the different kinds of mulch that insects are drawn to and examine the different kinds of mulch that repel pests.


There’s a lot of confusion around termites and mulch. People mistakenly believe that mulch is a source of termites. Some people believe that it attracts them. There is a clear connection between termites and mulch however, this link is a source of confusion for many.

Does Mulch Attract Termites?

Yes. Termites don’t draw attention to the mulch but rather the cool, moist protection it offers. You’ll find them in similar amounts under the bark, gravel, wood and rubber mulch however, fresh wood chips may be an additional “food source” attraction.

Why Are Termites Attracted To Mulch?

The mulch used for landscaping keeps the area damp. This is an advantage of mulch because this moisture is ideal for growing trees, flowers, shrubs and grass.

However, termites can be attracted to this moist environment, as are different insects and bugs. This humid environment encourages termites to build thin tunnels in order to explore the area and search for food, i.e., wood. Mulch can provide Pennsylvania termites with a safe place to investigate.

What Types of Mulch Are Termites Attracted To?

Termites favor certain kinds of wood, whereas others repel them and could even be harmful to termites. The types of mulch they like include:

  • Loblolly pine Eastern termites from the subterranean tend to be fond of loblolly and slash pine.
  • White Birch: White birch makes an ideal diet for termites.
  • Slash pine Based on a variety of studies that slash pine is preferred by termites living in subterranean areas.


If you lay down wood mulch, the ants will not necessarily flock to it. They’re already in the soil, and when they see the mulch, they are attracted by it and decide to stay in the area.

Does Mulch Attract Ants?

Carpenter ants are quite adept at detecting decaying wood or wood mulch, based on certain scents, making wood mulch a popular area to be in.

Why Are Ants Attracted To Mulch?

Ants, specifically carpenter ants, are fond of wood. What amount of timber around your property could be a deterrent or a source of encouragement for the insects. An excellent example is the mulch. It doesn’t mean that you can’t make use of mulch. It’s just important to lay the mulch in a way that’s less enticing to insects. The less sloping your mulch the more beneficial. Ants love to make their homes in the wood so if the mulch bed isn’t deep enough the ants may seek out a better option.

What Types of Mulch Are Ants Attracted To?

The kinds of mulch that ants favor include:

  • Organic Organic mulches may provide benefits that other mulches do not, the same advantages could be negative because organic mulches can be a magnet for ants, and offer insects with a home.
  • Wood Ants don’t consume wood. They use decaying or solid wood to construct tunnels. The woodchip pile does not possess the proper structure that allows the ants to construct tunnels into.


There is no need to add mulch to the plants in order to help keep them warm. In fact, plants do not require mulch. The purpose of mulching plants is to give the soil’s surface at a stable temperature in winter months, which helps prevent the thawing and heating that can happen when you are going back and forth between temperatures and cold snaps. However, mulch can be an ideal habitat for mice.

Does Mulch Attract Mice?

Mice enjoy chewing away at the unnoticed delicious bark on the outside. Since the mulch is covered so that they aren’t seen by roaming animals that would like to eat them, such as cats, owls, hawks and foxes. If you plant or mulch your garden landscape, you’re “inviting” mice to sleep in a warm and cozy spot.

Why Are Mice Attracted To Mulch?

Mulch helps mice feel secure and build nests. Field mice, also called voles are known for their consuming root vegetables, tubers that are underground and bulbs for spring. They also gnaw on the bark of trees and other trees, especially during the winter months. If you apply mulch to the trees’ base they are attracting this kind of destruction because you’re providing the protection of predators.

What Types Of Mulch Are Mice Attracted To?

Mice love these types of mulches:

  • Organic mulch Although mulch can be effective in controlling weeds organic mulches can be perfect places where pests can live in, nest, and reproduce. If you plant organic mulch in close proximity to your home, it can provide mice with a way to gain entry into your home.
  • Wood mulch Wood mulch serves as habitat for all sorts of rodents.
  • The straw mulch or the fluffy one: Beware of using straw mulch or fluffy mulch for your garden because it creates nesting spots.


Certain types of organic mulch offer vital nutrients to soil and stop the evaporation of soil. Additionally mulches give plants sufficient time to soak up water before draining out of the area. However, certain kinds of organic mulches could cause problems with cockroaches since they are attracted by decaying materials. If you put mulch in close proximity to your home insects attracted by the mulch may invade your home in search of food and shelter.

Does Mulch Attract Roaches?

Mulch makes your lawn attractive and helps protect the soil from erosion and weeds. It also adds nutrients for your plants and provides insulation during winter. However, roaches take advantage of this by making their homes in the mulch as well as infesting your lawn and then slowly becoming a complete invasion of your home.

Why Are Cockroaches Attracted To Mulch?

Certain cockroaches are attracted to wood chips and shavings. They also enjoy the moistness, and mulch gives them good shelters.

What Types Of Mulch Are Cockroaches Attracted To?

Mulches that roaches love include:

  • Chips of bark:Bark chip and shavings are a magnet for roaches due to the fact that certain species of roaches are naturally wood-loving insects. Roaches are attracted by decaying wood. They are found in the mulch as bark chips give them an excellent shelter, water and sufficient space to reproduce.
  • Pine straw mulch Pine straw mulch is also a cockroach-friendly environment. It offers roaches what the bark mulch could provide. It absorbs moisture and offers shelter. It is particularly beneficial to roaches as it is made of light pine needles which cockroaches can cut through with ease. The Smokybrown Cockroach is a roach species that is fond of staying in the pine straw mulch.


Although mosquitoes are naturally able to reproduce and reside in certain areas, certain factors can increase the amount of mosquitoes within your yard.

Does Mulch Attract Mosquitoes?

There are several kinds of mosquitoes found in Pittsburgh which can be found in the mulch. They are attracted by moist and wet mulch. The mulch needs just some moisture to attract mosquitoes and mosquitoes are able to tell whether the mulch supplies enough water to lay their eggs.

Why Are Mosquitoes Attracted To Mulch?

They’re after moisture. Even after a light drizzle the moist mulch can draw mosquitoes. Although the scent from cedar deters mosquitoes when the oil begins to dry the mulch won’t work as a deterrent anymore.

What Types Of Mulch Are Mosquitoes Attracted To?

Mosquitoes are attracted by:

  • Wet-mould: Wet mulch holds enough moisture beneath the surface to attract mosquitoes. When mosquitoes locate an place that’s moist enough to lay their eggs, they’ll build nests there, and then other mosquitoes are likely to appear.


Since mulch is a great way to conserve moisture, it’s a popular place to nest for spiders and insects. If people mulch the foundation of their homes there is a good chance that insects that are nesting in the mulch will scurry around and make ways to get through the foundation, particularly when it’s wood chip mulch that is the one that holds the most moisture.

Does Mulch Attract Spiders?

In the vicinity of a home, decorative mulch is usually a great thing. Butunfortunately for spiders it’s also a beneficial thing.

Why Are Spiders Attracted To Mulch?

Spiders are attracted by wood dust. It also attracts insects that spiders feed on. Cedar mulch which repels other insects isn’t a problem for spiders. Spiders aren’t in fact insects, but Arachnids. They do not have the same metabolic processes that insects do, and what may repel certain insects doesn’t cause a problem to a spider.

In addition, moisture plays in this too. The majority of insects require moisture to ensure that their bodies won’t become dry. Spiders are no different. Mulch can also provide shelter, warmth and hiding spots.

What Types of Mulch Are Spiders Attracted To?

Spiders include:

  • The mulch of pine bark: This is added in the gardens of homes to deter the growth of weeds and to retain the moisture. Organic mulches decompose naturally and can be beneficial in their own right, they also draw insects that are looking for shelter, warmth and food. Insects consume this pine bark mulch, as well as the fungi and bacteria that are thriving within its damp, dark surroundings. Pests that aren’t actually insects, but are associated with the presence of spiders.
  • wood mulch It provides an ideal habitat for spiders in the winter. The majority of spiders are beneficial since they help are able to keep other pests out of the way however some are actually the actual pests. You’ll see a lots of spiders when you have wood mulch as opposed to without.

Types Of Pest-Resistant Mulch

If you are looking for mulch to meet your landscaping requirements there are numerous alternatives. All mulches offer advantages and drawbacks, some varieties are beneficial to your plants through keeping pests out. Let’s take a look at the top mulch to keep out termites and other insects.

Organic/Inorganic Mulch

It is possible to break down mulch into two types: organic and inorganic.

Organic mulch is a byproduct from natural resources like:

  • Bark
  • Grass
  • Nutshells
  • Leaves
  • Straw

Inorganic mulch typically consists of man-made materials such as:

  • Rubber
  • Plastic
  • Rocks

Organic mulch is wonderful for your lawn, however, it could draw in insects. When it is broken down and improves the soil’s chemistry, increasing the number of beneficial bugs, fungi and bacteria. Of obviously, some insects are appreciated, like spiders that keep populations of harmful insects that destroy plants from being a problem. Organic mulches, for instance compost, are a magnet for insects such as earwigs, pill bugs, or saw bugs.

Plastic Mulch

It is an inorganic material made of polyethylene. It is available in black, black, or aluminum-coated clear sheets. The clear and aluminum-coated plastics are the best for controlling insects because they reflect sunlight. In creating a reflection the plastic mulch blinds and confuses insects, causing them to avoid the garden and ornamental plants. Utilize mulch made of plastic to keep aphids, whiteflies and leafhoppers in check.

Cedar Or Cypress Mulch

Bark mulch, also known as chip, is made from cypress and cedar trees. It is effective in repelling bugs. Both cypress and pine contain natural oils and chemicals like thujone which repel insects. Cedar chips deter, inhibit the growth of insects such as:

  • Cockroaches
  • Termites
  • Certain insects
  • Carpet beetles
  • Cloth-eating moths

Termites feed on cypress sapwood however, they won’t consume heartwood from cypress because it may cause death. It’s safer when you put cypress heartwood mulch around your backyard.

Spread cedar or cypress mulch on your landscaping plants and gardens to keep pests out. The wood has a high resistance to decay which makes for it to remain longer in use than many other types of mulches.

Straw & Cocoa Bean Shells

Straw mulch can be effective in the garden, reducing the number of insects and keeping pests like cucumber beetles from your cucumber plants and squash. It also stops insects from laying eggs and spreading all over your garden. In addition, straw mulch shields plant plants from the fungus as well as other ailments that cause plant rot.

The cocoa bean shell mulch releases an aroma of chocolate in your garden that repels insects. It also helps keep termites and slugs out of your plants. Don’t apply this mulch when you have pets since it could cause dogs to become sick.

Call Pittsburgh Termite & Pest Control Today

Now you are aware of the different kinds of pests that may be hiding in your mulch, and what varieties of mulch will help keep them out. If you see termites, ants or any other insects in or in the vicinity of in your garden, Pittsburgh Termite & Pest Control will be able to help. We’re located in Pittsburgh and are among the top pest control companies within the area. We make use of safe products and you can be confident that we’ll finish the job.

For more information concerning how we can help you with our pest control services in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, and the surrounding areas , including commercial pest management, as well as the control of rodents contact us with us now!

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