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January 26, 2017

Firewood is a popular source of fuel in many homes today, particularly throughout the winter. Plus, there’s nothing nicer on a cold winter day than sitting in front of a roaring wood fire in the fireplace! Often firewood is cut from dying or storm-damaged trees both of which are attractive to many pests, especially wood borers. Since many insects feed on or find shelter in wood, you might be bringing a few hitchhiking critters in your when starting a fire. Although most firewood pests pose no direct threat to the home, its contents, or its residents, they can become annoying when they appear inside the home.

Some of the most popular pests that may appear in your firewood include:

  • Termites appearance in the wood is not usually noticed until the wood is moved during the late spring or summer
  • Carpenter Ants are more often to attack the wood when the firewood is stacked directly on the ground for a long period of time or not allowed to dry out sufficiently
  • Wood-boring Beetles include both long-horned beetles and flathead borers which are usually already in the wood when it is cut for firewood
  • Miscellaneous Pests such as spiders, small beetles, wood roaches, snowbugs, pillbugs, wasps, ants, and small flies may hide and/or overwinter in firewood

A few tips to keep your firewood and home free of these pests are:

  1. Keep the distance
    Firewood should be stacked at least 20 to 30 feet away from the exterior of the home. By keeping the firewood inside or close to your home is an open invitation and increases the threat of pests infesting your home. Insects and even rodents that hide in woodpiles are likely to enter through small cracks, holes, or other openings. If these pests, particularly termites or carpenter ants, reach your home some costly damage can result.
  2. Cover it up
    Keeping a cover over the firewood will not only keep it dry for easier burning, but dry wood is less enticing to most wood destroying pests. Usually moist and decaying wood is what subterranean termites and carpenter ants are after, so always be sure to use a durable cover. Or better yet, invest in a wood shed that is specifically denied to keep your wood dry and safe from pests.
  3. Keep it off the ground
    Firewood should not be touching the ground because it is harder for pests to access it when elevated. Plus, it is more difficult to keep firewood dry when it is lying directly on the ground.Use some sort of support of firewood holder, such as this structure that is specifically designed to hold firewood.
  4. Pull from the bottom
    If you always use the wood you place on top of the stack and refilling the pile before you reach the pieces on the bottom, the unused firewood could create a long-term safe harbor for pests. By rotating the pile and using all of the wood on a regular basis, you will lessen the risk of insects infesting the stack.
  5. Never treat with pesticides
    If you do happen to notice pests on your firewood, the worst thing you can do is treat the wood with pesticides. In short, do not spray a firewood pile with pesticides – ever. Applying pesticides could cause insects to burrow deeper into the wood, and when you do end up buying the wood, the pesticides will release harmful chemicals that could be a risk to your health.
  6. Make two trips
    Only bring in enough firewood for the current fire! Although it is a lot easier to bring a large stack of firewood inside, this is a great opportunity to gain free reign in your home. Plus, if the critters are wood-destroying pests, it could cause costly damage.

Before bringing in the next batch of wood for your fire, make sure you stay proactive to avoid the danger of wood-destroying pests like termites and carpenter ants, as well as avoiding the other creepy crawlers including spiders and beetles. Contact Black Diamond’s team of professionals if you do begin to notice signs of pest problems, including rodents and wild animals, in your home or business!