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Does Cedar Mulch Repel Bugs? How Effective Is It?

Finding bugs in your garden can be the start of an ugly infestation. Do you want to get ahead of the oncoming swarm of pests around your property but don't know where to start? Can you use cedar mulch to repel such bugs? We will dive into these questions below. Let's dive in!

Yes, it is known that cedar mulch can help prevent bugs like termites, certain ants, moths, mosquitoes, and cockroaches. Of course, laying down fresh mulch every year or so won't be the only way to prevent and eliminate pests, but it is a good start.

On top of mulch, we recommend using a targeted insecticide throughout your yard to ensure it remains undamaged and critter-free.

As we begin, we will cover all things cedar mulch and discuss whether it prevents bugs in your garden. Whether you're just now noticing an infestation or want to get ahead of it, we're here to help. With that said, let's jump right into this topic!

Red Cedar mulch used as fertilizer, Does Cedar Mulch Repel Bugs? How Effective Is It?

Will Using Cedar Mulch Repel Bugs?

Cedar mulch can be beneficial if you want to try a natural alternative for repelling bugs in your yard. For ages, gardeners have used this mulch around their gardens to keep pests at bay.

One of the main reasons cedar works well for pests is that it contains a chemical called "thujone." This natural ingredient inhibits bugs like termites, certain ants, moths, mosquitoes, and cockroaches.

Furthermore, the active chemical thujone found in cedar mulch works against cloth-eating moths and even carpet beetles.

Top photo of red cedar mulch

For that reason, many people use cedar inside the house too. On top of inside usage, cedar mulch is also great for repelling weeds. So overall, it packs plenty of beneficial punches.

However, if the bugs are persistent, you may need to do more than lay down cedar mulch. For example, if even after putting down mulch, you still notice pests, that is when using an insecticide is the best option.

If you prefer a natural, chemical-free route, plenty of products are still effective, all without such a high environmental impact.

Does Cedar Mulch Work For All Bugs?

In general, no bugs will enjoy the smell of cedar. As we mentioned above, the chemical thujone acts as a natural repellant for most bug species, hence why this is a popular pest control alternative.

With that said, you may still have problems in areas of your garden that don't have cedar mulch. Considering that most yards have grass, sections with rocks, a patio/deck, and even a pool, you aren't able to cover everything in mulch.

Ideally, you want to lay your cedar around plants that sit low to the ground. That includes flowers, shrubs, fruits, vegetables, etc.

You can also lay your cedar down at the base of your trees to keep bugs from making them into a major epicenter. Of course, this isn't always easy, so you may want to consult a pest control specialist.

Most often, it's best to use cedar mulch around your house, plants, and anything else important, and then have a professional spray the existing, uncovered areas.

Additionally, cedar mulch will repel most bugs, but it doesn't kill them.

Do Spiders Avoid Cedar Mulch?

Collecting a bucket full of wood shavings

For those of you struggling with spiders, cedar mulch can help prevent them. Typically, all spider species will hate the scent of cedar oil, so you can double down by applying the liquid to any affected plants.

On top of spiders, cedar oil and mulch will also repel pests like lice, gnats, and even fleas. That can be especially helpful for the inside of your house, as we all know the smaller the bug, the harder it is to kill.

Besides being a natural spider and bug repellant, cedar has a soft, enjoyable smell. Even if you have a sensitive nose, using cedar oil and mulch around your home and property shouldn't irritate you.

Again, you may want to do more than spray oils and lay down mulch to tackle an infestation, but it's a good place to start.

Regardless of your bug(s), working quickly is the key to preventing and getting rid of them. The longer a group of pests stay in one place, the more likely they are to reproduce, which can be a mess.

Do Any Bugs Eat Cedar?

Although cedar mulch is universally repelling to insects, that's not to say it always works. For example, bugs like cedar and cypress bark beetles, cypress bark moths, and pine weevils will make your mulch into a snack.

However, it's not as common for these critters to stick around, so you shouldn't have to worry. However, bark beetles tend to be the biggest nuisance in the group.

That is because they tunnel into twigs and lay eggs in tree trunks. We recommend talking with a pest specialist and forming a game plan if you run into this problem.

Although using chemicals throughout your garden shouldn't be the first idea, it can be helpful when all else fails. As we said, mulch is one of the more effective options, so fingers crossed.

Does Cedar Mulch Repel Bed Bugs?

A bedbug photographed up close

There's good news for anyone dealing with bed bugs: cedar mulch repels them! With that said, this natural repellant isn't strong enough to kill bed bugs, so it won't get rid of them entirely.

Like most natural alternatives to insecticide, cedar can only prevent pests from living and breeding nearby. That means its scent can only travel so far within your yard before becoming ineffective.

For example, if you lay down cedar mulch along the side of your house where flowers and other shrubs are, that section should remain pest-free.

However, that mulched region won't keep bugs from migrating to another un-mulched one. So, you either have to mulch everything in sight or use an insecticide routinely around your property.

Remember, bed bugs are incredibly tiny and persistent, so you'll need a ton of mulch.

Does All Mulch Keep Bugs Away?

No, not all mulch is made equally when repelling bugs. Specifically, cedar and cypress mulches are the only two that do a good job of getting rid of pests naturally.

If you lay down regular mulch, it will not likely attract critters, but it won't repel them either. Generally, regular, non-cedar, or cypress mulch can shelter smaller bugs, which in turn can become their home.

Therefore, you want to be very careful when choosing your product to ensure you aren't worsening the infestation at hand. Imagine spending money on fresh mulch only to have it exacerbate the pest problem in your yard.

On top of that, not all mulch can prevent weeds as effectively, which can be detrimental for many reasons.

Cedarcide Insect Repelling Cedar Mulch Granules

This bag of cedar mulch repels insects, is 100% organic, doesn't contain harmful chemicals, treats up to 3,500 square feet, and comes in an eight-pound bag.

Check out this cedar mulch on Amazon.

Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding

This bag is 100% natural cypress mulch, weighs nine pounds, can be used inside and outdoors, and comes in a 24-quart package.

Follow this link to see it on Amazon.

How Often Should I Lay Down Cedar Mulch?

Wooden shavings used for fertilizer

If you're ready to use cedar mulch, you won't need to re-apply it often. In general, this type of mulch will last for many years, meaning you don't have to spend hundreds replenishing it every few seasons.

With that said, if you start to notice your mulch losing its strength, that is when buying more to lay over it can be helpful. As we covered, cedar has a natural chemical and scent that will repel critters but can weaken with time.

Furthermore, if you experience storms or natural disasters, it's likely that a good amount of your mulch to blow/wash away. If that happens to your garden, buy another bag or mulch and apply it over the existing area.

Just because you once had tons of cedar somewhere doesn't mean it is always protected against invaders.

Is It Worth It To Use Cedar Mulch In My Yard?

Gardener holding a handful of cedar mulch

Overall, we would agree that using cedar mulch in a yard can be beneficial. Besides being a toxin-free alternative to traditional insecticides, it also doesn't negatively affect the ecosystem around it.

Instead, cedar works naturally to repel bugs, like termites, certain ants, moths, mosquitoes, and cockroaches. Additionally, cedar oil can be useful for spiders, so it covers a lot of species.

On top of that, cedar mulch doesn't have an unpleasant smell. Even if you have a more sensitive nose, cedar shouldn't irritate you.

That can also be good for indoor use, hence why so many people use it. Of course, that's not to say cedar mulch is always 100% effective. As we said, your mulch will only repel insects nearby, which isn't always the most sustainable move.

If you have a larger property, it might not be financially sound to use mulch everywhere, but rather call a pest specialist.

To Finish Up

Red Cedar mulch used as fertilizer

Whether you have tried everything to keep bugs out of your garden or want to get ahead, it's vital to understand how cedar mulch works. From what we found, cedar mulch will repel most, if not all, bug species.

That is due to a chemical naturally found in cedar, thujone. Additionally, the smell of cedar oil, although pleasant to humans, is very irritating to critters.

Regardless, make sure to assess your garden before laying down mulch, and don't be afraid to use an insecticide alongside your cedar if issues persist.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related posts below!

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