Get The Facts On Termite Warnings

Pine bark mulch is in area nurseries just in time for the spring planting season. The wood material is excellent for gardens. It's also a potential, and we emphasize potential home for termites. Texas Extension Service agent Crispin Skinner said, "If you see a little old small whitish maggot in there with a little orangish or tannish, a maybe a yellow looking head on it, that right there would be a termite, will be an infant termite."

The most destructive is the Formosan termite. They're attracted to damaged trees like those caused by the hurricanes. Since bark mulch comes from trees this leads to a concern about the transport of wood mulch. Manufacturers ship truckloads of mulch everyday. Termite stowaways rarely occur because few survive the mulching process. Brad Bailey, of Bailey Bark Materials explained, "We run it through a grinder, pulverize it. Also have shakers that, stuff like that, where you can shake it down and it goes through heat which should kill the termites."

Formosan termites have been known to be shipped in bark mulch at least once. Formasans were seen in Angelina county in 1998. It's one of 25 counties in Texas where Formosans have been found.

Concern grows when mulch is made from trees in Louisiana infested areas. Keep in mind most composting businesses establish suppliers close by. Bailey Bark Materials receives most of its wood product from Norboard, just a few miles from their mulch yard. In Louisiana there is a supply problem after a quarantine was issued on the movement of wood products in some parishes.

It's unlikely a reputable business would be importing mulch from an infested area. Bottom line advice to homeowners is that you can use mulch to make your flowers grow, but purchase it from worthy retailers.