widespread e-mail warning about termite-ridden
mulch from New Orleans is nothing but
a hoax, according to experts from Louisiana.
The e-mail, which has been making
the rounds across North America, includes
a dire warning against buying cheap
mulch from garden centres in the U.S.
The e-mail says the mulch, made from
trees cleared from hurricane-ravaged
areas of Louisiana, is infested with
Formosan termites and could spread
the destructive insect into homes and
Bob Odom, commissioner of the Louisiana
Department of Agriculture and Forestry,
told CBC News he has no idea how the
rumour started, but there is no way
it could be true.
"We put in a restriction immediately
after the storm ... and that restriction
says that any trees or debris that
leave New Orleans has to go to a landfill,
or has to be certified by us to go
to another landfill," he said.
"The reason we put the restriction
in wasn't for the mulch. We had problems
with railroad ties and other things
leaving, that's why we put the restriction
in," he added.
"We didn't want somebody to buy a
beam or something to put in their house
and all of a sudden, it's infested
Odom said landfills in the area are
monitored by security staff to make
sure no unauthorized material leaves.
Labels on most bags of mulch or wood
chips have the product's place of origin.
If any insect is found in a bag of
mulch, gardening experts recommend
returning the bag to the store.