I plan on using mulch for the first time starting next year so I've been looking up you tube videos regarding the topic to get me started. So far, wood chips is what tops the list of all the people that I've watched. However, there was this one comment that left me with alot of questions . Somebody wrote down that "over here in Australia, using wood chips as mulch is like creating a feasting ground for termites. Best to stay away from it." I wanted to know why that was the case so i left a comment of my own but the individual won't reply back. what could be the reason? Are termites just part of the deal when using wood chips or does it have something to do with the soil or just Australia in general?
What you use for mulch often depends more on what is available then what is best for an area or region you live. Any ground cover you put down, no matter what it is will help hold moisture into the ground. It often cuts down on weeds as well, since weeds seeds need soil or some kind of grow medium to germinate and grow.
Go with what is most easily available in your area that is natural. Avoid synthetic materials like recycled rubber tires. Those will just release toxins into your soil. You want something that will naturally break down like bark mulch or something that does not break down like gravel.
Termites like to live under any mulch, not just wood chips or bark.Thought I'd include a quote from Terminix, a termite-removal company:
...mulch used for landscaping keeps the environment moist. This is one of the benefits of mulch, as this moisture is great for growing shrubs, flowers, trees, etc. But termites also love this moisture, as do a variety of other bugs and insects. The moist environment encourages termites to explore the area by digging thin tunnels and looking for food (i.e., wood). The mulch provides cover for this exploration. So while the termites might not actually feed on the mulch, the presence of it certainly can provide better conditions for a termite colony to start, or continue to develop. A better way to look at the attraction issue would be to conclude that mulch increases a termite's ability to survive around your home if they are already present.
This author is including landscape fabric as well as anything you put on landscape factor, along with wood and bark chips, as potential termite homes. You can basically find this same sentiment from a ton of other sources. Essentially, termites act like centipedes under mulch unless/until they find a wall to climb.
A couple of sources I've seen recommend keeping a 12" or so bare strip of soil next to the foundation as a "dead zone". The idea is to try very hard to not water this strip if you water your garden so that it stays as dry as possible. Not only does this dryness help suppress weeds, but it also deters termites from exploring closer to your home. Even with this barrier, though, you should also periodically look for mud tunnels up the side of your foundation, as this is how termites will enter your house.