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Does Mulch Attract or Repel Bugs?

Spreading mulch around your landscape is incredibly beneficial for your yard. Mulch beds reduce weed growth around other plants, hold moisture in the soil and let water penetrate the ground more effectively. Evenly spread, colorful mulch also makes a yard appear more organized and maintained. However, different types of mulch have a tendency to attract unwanted pests.

Organic Mulches

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Any organic mulch, whether it’s derived from leaves, grass clippings, compost, wheat straw, or peat moss, has the most tendency to attract bugs and unwanted pests. Organic mulches can be beneficial for your soil chemistry as they also have a tendency to decompose faster than normal mulches, but this decomposition will also attract insects that would like to help clean up the mess. Furthermore, organic wood chips with large, intact chunks of wood help give a steady supply of food to one of the nastiest pests – the termite.

Cocoa Bean Mulch

Much like the cedar or cypress blends of mulch, cocoa bean mulch emits a powerful aroma that most bugs find unpleasant. While it does repel most bugs, there have been instances where some garden pests actually prefer to lay their eggs inside of the cocoa mulch. Many gardeners and landscapers choose to layer their cocoa bean mulch with straw or mix with a wood mulch to prevent this. Cocoa bean mulch is also potentially dangerous for small pets if ingested, so take this into consideration when spreading.

Cedar or Cypress Blends

Mulches made from cedar or cypress wood are a good choice for those who are looking for a type of mulch that will look nice and repel unwanted insects. The natural oils contained in cypress and cedar blends of mulch give off a strong odor that will deter most bugs from coming near. Although the color of the mulch may wear off after a couple weeks (even sooner if there is heavy rainfall), the wood itself holds up longer than most natural mulches.


Has your yard become over run with pests? Call Pearson! We’ll come out for a free estimate and even come up with a bug maintenance plan to rid your home of unwanted guests for good. Ask about our new ultimate pest control protection plan.

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