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Does Mulch Attract Flies or Repel? (Explained)

Mulch is used as a covering throughout the surface. There are different types of mulch used to cover the ground. The main reason to cover the ground is to regulate the surface temperature, hold the moisture, and keep the weeds away. Can it attract flies? Let’s find out.

Does mulch attract flies or repel?

When the surface soil gets regulated temperature and moisture, the soil will be plentiful with nutrients for the plants. This healthy condition for soil can open many gates for insects to dive in and have food. That’s how mulch attracts flies. Though cedar mulch keeps the insects away.

Let’s walk through this section to know if the following mulches attract or repel flies –

Rubber mulch:

Rubber mulch is made from rubber products such as old tires. Rubber mulch comes in different color varieties. Rubber mulch can hold nutrients and water for the plants. But it doesn’t attract any insects such as flies.

Wood mulch:

Pine bark mulch:

Pine bark mulch is natural and organic. Organic mulch helps the surface retain all the good things for the plants and sometimes for insects. Pine bark mulch acts as a shelter to different types of insects along with spiders, flies, etc.

Cedar mulch:

Cedar mulch is one of the best organic repellents for insects like flies, termites, etc. Cedar mulch releases such oils that deter insects. 

As it is organic, it can contain the surface moisture intact and helps the nutrients for the plant to stay good.

Cypress mulch:

Cypress mulch can facilitate water retention, gathering nutrients, keep weeds away and keep insects such as flies away. Cypress mulch is also an organic mulch.

Red mulch:

The red mulch is dyed with red color. This mulch is a mixture of both organic and synthetic essences. Red dyed mulch might contaminate the surface with some strong chemicals. Red mulch may not attract any insects, but it will work as a shelter to them.

Black mulch:

Black mulch is loved by insects. It is made of organic and synthetic materials. The black color is darker, and it is a good place for the insects to hide and take shelter.

Sugar cane mulch:

Sugar cane mulch can be used as a fertilizer. Sugar cane mulch dissolves with the soil faster and incentivizes the surface organisms to reenergize the land. This mulch can attract insects as they are highly dissolvable.

Leaf mulch:

Leaf mulch is also an organic essence. This mulch can retain water and keep the surface suitable for plants, insects, and other animals for the winter season. This mulch works as a safe vicinity for insects.

Fresh mulch:

Like other organic mulch, fresh mulch plays a good role in sheltering insects. But some fresh mulch has some harmful chemicals to the surface that can be bad for the plants.

Do flies breed in mulch?

The filthy things that might not be loved by you can be a loveable site for flies to breed. They love places with humidity, proper food, and water supply. If the mulch in your area is not replaced properly, this mulch may start to rot. 

Basically, flies look for moisty, trashy, and feces along with any sort of organic materials to lay their eggs.

Rotting mulch is a swarming place for flies as they get enough humidity, temperature, and nutrition from there. However, flies fly around to these places, often filthy, take shelter food, and sometimes lay their generations. Almost all the mulch helps insects to take shelter.

Why are flies attracted to mulch?

Flies can get attracted to mulch because of the following reasons –


Flies can live a minimum of 15 days to a maximum of 30 days. They fly around and search for food all the places. 

Flies’ life cycle consists of four stages; the first one is the egg, the second one is the larva, the third one is the pupa, and the last one is the adult phase. Before becoming an adult, a fly muststay safe. That’s why they take shelter in mulch.


Almost all types of mulch can retain water, keep the temperature healthy, and keep the soil surface from direct contamination of any bad chemicals. Organic mulches themselves are filled with nutrients to nurture the soil and organisms. 

As organic mulch after a period decays.

Insects can easily live there without any difficulty. Moreover, these mulches fertilize the surface, which indirectly creates different types of food sources. 

Here is one thing to mention: mulches don’t necessarily attract or deter flies or other insects. Instead, mulches provide the one-stop service for all the insects to have shelter get food, and enough water.

Moisty Place:

Different types of organic mulches can hold water into the soil, making the soil moist. Wood Chips mulch, straw mulch, and compost are nutritious and vastly a moisture holders. Moisty lands are suitable places for flies to lay eggs. 

And eggs get enough nutrition to complete all the phases before they become adults.

How to get rid of flies in mulch?

The following steps will surely help you to get rid of flies from your mulch –

Proper Preventive Mechanism:

Before applying mulch, you need to know some things. First, buy the mulch, which is preventive to the insects. Secondly, spread this mulch throughout the yard. Finally, the preventative technique will help you stay out of flies beforehand.

Limit the Egg Laying Place:

Flies generally look for a moist place to lay eggs. It will be better if there is not enough place for flies to lay eggs. If you put cedar and cypress mulch, the flies will not be around the site. 

On the other hand, if you spread synthetic mulch such as rubber and plastic mulch, it also helps the insects not to come.

Changing the Mulch:

After six months to one year, if the mulch doesn’t start to rot, then change it immediately. Change the existing mulch with a different type of mulch, like if you have pine bark mulch, then change it with cedar mulch.

Changing with a different type of mulch will be better as the insects will need time to adapt. Changing mulch after a period will help you break all the insects’ and rodents’ hideouts.

Proper Monitoring:

You put mulch to monitor and restrict the growth of weeds. If you monitor your mulch condition whenever you are working in your yard or garden, will help you to reduce the number of bugs and other damaging animals from your yard.

What kind of mulch does not attract bugs?

The following mulches do not attract bugs –

Synthetic Mulches:

Synthetic mulches generally never decompose and generate food for insects or bugs. Synthetic mulches are not a part of any organic elements; instead, they are factory-made or made of nonliving components.

Generally, organic essences create good food sources for bugs. But synthetic mulch doesn’t bother to make any food source for the bugs. Mulches made with rubber, stone, plastic, and metal such as aluminum and silver decrease a lot of insects’ invasions.

Moreover, synthetic mulches increase the aesthetics of the surface.

Organic Mulches:

Cypress and Cedar’s mulch is known notably for its bug-repelling ability. Moreover, straw and cocoa bean shells are also mulch, widely used to repel bugs from the yard. The chemicals and oils inside these organic essences help deter insects.

Does mulch repel & keep flies away?

Mulch is a suitable place for flies to swarm. Different types of mulch are present here. Primarily, mulches are of two kinds, as discussed. The synthetic one will not be going to become food for the insects. 

On the other hand, most of the organic mulches will, after a particular time, dissolve or become food for insects or shelter for them. Even mulches sometimes are swarmed with larvae of different insects.

Mulch except Cedar and cypress helps flies to stay and lay eggs. One thing to note, mulch doesn’t necessarily keep or repel flies. But the indirect advantages for an insect to get from mulch are high. 

There is enough food, a suitable habitat, and a better place to lay eggs. Everything is in a single place.

Mulch such as pine bark mulch, sugar cane mulch, and leaf mulch helps these small insects to take shelter and stay safe.

Final Thoughts

There are several variants of mulch. Some of them are kin to flies; some are not. On the other hand, mulches don’t necessarily attract any flies. Still, some mulches, such as Cedar and cypress, repel them. Mulch plays a safe shelter to have food and other necessities for flies and other insects.