How to Detect and Manage Firewood Pests
December 12, 2016
Most homeowners use fireplaces as supplementary heat supply which involves burning firewood. Pests (including insects and other arthropods) can be brought into a home through firewood as most of these creatures feed on and live in wood. This article addresses what to watch out for when trying to detect these pests and how to manage the situation.
How to Detect the Common Firewood Pests
Firewood pests belong to two main groups namely those that feed actively on wood and those who infest wood for shelter only.
Many insects seek shelter under loose bark or hollow trees during the winter period. Some of them include the different types of beetles, overwintering wasp and wood cockroaches. Spider egg sacks and moth cocoons are also part of them. These creatures become active after they warm up indoors. They can be discarded as they appear and cannot survive for long periods indoors. They won't infest your home or cause harm to you or your home. You just need to remove them.
Pests That Eat And Dig Through Wood
There are, two types of pests that can cause problems if firewood is stacked against your home they include carpenter ants and termites. If you stack wood on the ground directly they may be infested by termites. While their main nest, which accommodates their queen is below the ground, termite workers can build a tunnel into firewood. Termites that come into your home through firewood cannot make a new nest and won't damage your home. However, having a woodpile stacked against your house can be a means for termites to multiple in the structure.
Carpenter ants are much different from termites because they do not feed on wood. They merely dig out nests in the wood. These nests will appear smooth and move in line with the grain of wood. When infested firewood is introduced into a house, these pests may become warm and move out. Although this can be a nuisance, however, the chances of these creatures infesting your property are very slim.
How To Manage The Situation
Do Not Stack Firewood In Or Against Your Home
Do not stack firewood in your house or against it for extended periods. Termite or carpenter ants can infest the wood and cause serious problems in your home. Wood should never be stored against other buildings too. This is because wood-boring and eating pests can easily set up a tunnel that leads into the structure from the wood. It is recommended that stack firewood at least 3 feet away from a structure.
Store Firewood At A Safe Distance From Trees
Don't pile up wood close to living trees because pest from the firewood pile, including bark beetles, could move to the live tree, and then tunnel beneath its bark causing severe damage in the process.
Stack Firewood Off The Ground
Avoid stacking firewood directly on the ground. The reason is because the wood could get wet (if stored on the ground) and become a thriving environment for termites and carpenter ants. Bricks, concrete blocks, or firewood grates should be used to keep firewood from contacting the ground directly. Maintaining airflow under the pile will also help to reduce moisture which usually attracts pests.
Cover Firewood During Summer And Fall Seasons
Covering firewood during the summer and fall seasons will keep it drier thereby preventing some creatures from seeking overwintering sites. Note that freshly cut wood during the summer should only be piled in sunny areas and covered. Doing this will help kill off any pests that may infest the wood. To minimize new infestations, cut the wood in late summer or late fall.
Use Only The Oldest Wood First
Use the oldest wood first as it is most likely infested already. Avoid the stacking up new wood on old wood. By restacking the firewood pile periodically it becomes easier to access older logs of wood. Additionally, this will also help keep pests at bay as you are preventing infestations from building up. It will also help keep anyone from bringing infested wood into your home.
Make Use Of Only Local Firewood
On some occasions when untreated wood is moved from one area to another, it may come with non-native insects in it. If piled outdoors, these insects could crawl out from the firewood to infest and breed in fresh areas. If you have wood that isn't from a local source, make sure you burn it as soon as possible so as to kill any insects in the wood.
Try To Eliminate Surface Pests If Any
Before bringing firewood into your house, inspect each log. Thoroughly check them for signs of infestation. Shake them, and knock them together to remove the pests if any. If you are using a carrier that has been set to the ground, make sure you check the bottom for any signs of pests that might be clinging there.
Burn Wood Immediately After Bringing It Indoors
Bring in only small amounts of wood that will be used up at once in one day and make sure it is stacked in a cool place (garage or porch) till it is burned. When the firewood warms up, these creatures or pests in it will become active. So if the wood that is brought indoors is not burned immediately, these insects can crawl from the wood into your home. So, make sure you always bring in wood that you will use immediately or bring in only few pieces of wood.
Alliance Pest Services provides pest control, termite control and wildlife removal services throughout New Jersey and the five boroughs of New York.