Termite Rumor

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You may have received the e-mail warning you to beware of Formosan termites lurking in bagged mulch. The e-mail says the mulch was made from termite-infested trees knocked down during Hurricane Katrina.

Bill Lindenmier with University of Illinois Extension says it's just a rumor.

"I know there's some concern that all the debris being shredded for mulch, concern it will be moved up this way, but all the mulch that's being created is being quarantined, and there are inspectors looking at it, so according to Dr. Nixon, it shouldn't be a problem," says Lindenmier.

In addition, experts say the chipping process used to create mulch would likely kill any termite colonies, and the Formosan termite is a subtropical termite that wouldn't survive a winter north of Memphis.

"There's other insects we want to be careful of when we're dealing with mulch, but nothing as serious as a termite," says Lindenmier.

"I have never seen an issue in the Midwest of termites being involved with mulch. Where I've run into more issues currently in this area would be earwigs," says Meridian nursery owner Robb Firch.

Firch says you can always find out where the mulch you purchased originated.

"You should be able to ask your independent garden center, and he or she should know exactly where they're processing their material from," says Firch.

So rest assured we won't be seeing a widespread infestation of termites in our mulch, just another rumor to add to the list.

Lindenmier says one insect we want to be careful of is the emerald ash borer. It's a beetle that's devastating ash trees in Michigan, so we don't want to transport firewood across state lines.