Like many people, you might have a fireplace that you use for warmth or enjoyment. If you do, you’re probably excited to use it again this fall and winter. Wait just a minute before you carry in the firewood, however: you might bring in pests along with it!
Let’s talk about what pests you should look out for and how you can enjoy your fireplace pest-free this winter.
Pests Found on Firewood
Pests can be found on firewood for a number of reasons: some pests use trees to overwinter, and others infest trees.
Pests that Shelter in Trees
Spiders, praying mantids, and moths may use your firewood as shelter. When you bring this firewood indoors, the warmth of your home causes the pests to become active. However, the good news is that these pests generally do not last long indoors or start an infestation inside the home. They can usually be dealt with as they emerge.
Pests that Feed on Trees
The most common pests that attack trees are beetles (like roundheaded wood borers, flatheaded wood borers, and powderpost beetles). These beetles feed on and develop within the wood. Like the pests mentioned above, beetles are often easily dealt with. They are also harmless.
Unfortunately, there are a few other not-so-harmless pests that take up residence in firewood: carpenter ants and termites. Carpenter ants infest wood to create nest sites, and termites do so for food and shelter.
Carpenter ants and termites pose a serious problem for your home, so it’s important to take steps to ensure that your firewood isn’t attracting them. Keep reading to find out how!
How to Keep your Firewood Pest-Free
Firewood attracts pests—particularly carpenter ants and termites—but there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk of an infestation.
Our pest control experts recommend doing the following to keep pests out of your home:
- Do not store firewood or wood debris against the side of your home. Piles of firewood attract termites and carpenter ants and provide the perfect place from which to infest your home. Make sure to store firewood (as well as lumber, cardboard boxes, newspaper, etc.) a good distance away from your home.
- Do not stack firewood directly on the lawn. When wood is in direct contact with the ground, it allows moisture inside. Moisture-retaining wood is very attractive to termites. Instead, store firewood on a hard, dry surface (like the inside of your garage).
- Cover your firewood during seasons when it’s not in use. During the summer and early fall, consider covering your firewood with a tarp. This will help to keep it dry (see the previous point) and discourage pests from overwintering in the firewood.
- Clean firewood before bringing it inside. Shake and knock the wood to remove pests from the outside. Also brush off webbing and cocoons. This will help you avoid bringing pests indoors on the wood itself.
- Take in only as much firewood as you plan to burn. As we said above, the warmth of your home will cause overwintering pests inside your firewood to become active. Because of this, you don’t want to leave a pile of logs (potentially full of pests) sitting next to your fireplace. Instead, only take in a few logs that you plan to burn immediately.
- Make sure your firewood is first in, first out. Burn the oldest wood—which is most likely to have pests—before the newest wood. Also, try not to stack the new wood on top of the old wood.
One thing we do NOT recommend is treating your firewood with insecticides. While this may seem like a quick and easy way to prevent an infestation, it is extremely hazardous. Burning insecticides may give off fumes that cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. Over time, exposure to these fumes can cause significant harm to your health.
Need Help with an Infestation?
Does your home have an infestation of termites, carpenter ants, or another pest?
Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.