Firewood is a relatively inexpensive source of fuel for home heating during the cooler months. Many homeowners also enjoy burning firewood because of the unique ambience and scent that it adds to their home. However, several different types of pests may inhabit firewood and be unintentionally brought into the home.
Types of Firewood Pests
Beetles often infest and lay eggs underneath tree bark, which can emerge up to two years after the wood has been cut and processed. Beetles are attracted to freshly cut wood and live trees. Carpenter bees and wasps are attracted to dry wood, and may lay eggs and create nests inside of the wood. Firewood that has become wet or that has been left in contact with the ground may attract insects such as millipedes, centipedes, carpenter ants, and termites.
Dangers of Firewood Pests
Firewood pests may bite or sting homeowners and residents after emerging from wood. If firewood is stored inside or in an outdoor structure, termites and carpenter ants may infest the wood of the structure and cause damage. If firewood is stored outside, beetles may infest and destroy the trees in the yard.
Preventing Firewood Pest Dangers
To prevent insects from infesting the home or outdoor structures and causing damage, firewood should be stored outside at a considerable distance from these structures. Firewood should be brought into the home in small quantities, as needed, to avoid bringing pests in. When pests are spotted in small amounts of firewood shortly before use, removal is much easier.
Minimizing Pests in Firewood
Drying out firewood well will help to prevent many insects from inhabiting the wood. Wood should be stored elevated from the ground on a cast iron or metal structure for best results. The wood should be stacked in a way that will allow air flow so that the wood can dry quickly. Cutting wood in winter months when pests are less active will also help to minimize the number of pests in wood.
Firewood should not be moved far from where it is cut, as there is the potential to cause new infestations in areas where insects are not native. It is recommended that firewood never be transported more than 50 miles from where it was cut. Cutting or purchasing wood locally will help to prevent infestations of unfamiliar insects.
Pesticides should never be used to treat firewood. While insects may become a nuisance, pesticides can cause dangerous chemical reactions that can injure home owners and residents when the firewood is burning. Pesticides may also be ineffective on insects that burrow deep into the wood.