Why Bugs in Your Mulch Could Be Beneficial

Bugs hiding in mulch

Mulch is beneficial to your garden in many ways, like making your landscape look tidy, retaining moisture for plant growth, and suppressing weeds.

But, while mulch itself does not attract bugs to your garden, it may provide a hospitable environment for insects that are already around. In years where there is frequent rain, or if an area tends to retain water and not dry out, the mulch may have increased insect activity.

Although many types of mulch may be the perfect environment for insects, these bugs don’t harm your garden. Some can even improve the soil, allowing your garden to thrive.

Mulch Environment and Increased Insect Activity

When the environment is right, insects will thrive in mulch. Overapplying mulch, 4 to 6 inches deep, can create an environment that retains too much moisture, inviting insects to live underneath.

However, using a coarse mulch and applying it 2 to 3 inches deep is the perfect mulch ratio for a happy, thriving garden without increased insect activity.

Types of Bugs That Live in Mulch

Centipedes, Earwigs, and Sowbugs

Centipedes, earwigs, and sowbugs are frequently found under mulch. These types of bugs are not normally a threat to your garden because they eat decaying plants and fungi. As these bugs eat, it aids in decomposition, which provides organic nutrients to the soil and is beneficial to your plants.


Ants can make their home underneath the mulch, but they are also not normally a pest to a garden. They feed on other nutrients, such as dead bugs in the soil, and can also help a garden grow. They can, however, find their way into a home if the garden is nearby.


Termites can sometimes be found in or under mulch, but they are usually not a threat. If termites are found under the mulch, it is because they were already living there. Termites are no more attracted to mulch than they are to other substances.

Combating Bugs in Your Home

While mulch and the bugs that live in it can prove beneficial to your foliage, some unwanted pests can crawl inside your home if the garden is already nearby. To prevent this, simply keep your garden a few feet away from your home when planting, instead of getting rid of beneficial mulch altogether.