There aren’t many more relaxing activities in fall and winter than lounging on your couch (or recliner) as you sip a hot beverage in front of a warm fireplace! But, with the fire comes firewood which can bring many types of living pests into your home. Most firewood pests will not harm people or animals, nor will they start infestations of wood within the home.
However, there are a few pests, like Black Widow spiders,that are of concern. Some types of wood boring beetle infestations occasionally begin by emerging from stored firewood. But most pests are harmless, yet annoying, insects like cockroaches, pill-bugs, centipedes, ground beetles, and sow-bugs that all like to hide over winter beneath bark, or in the cracks of firewood, becoming active within days after the firewood is brought into a warm home.
Here are a few tips to help control pests in your firewood:
1. Keep Your Distance
When the temperature drops and you’re set on relaxing by a warm fireplace, it’s temping to place the firewood pile close to your home — or even inside your home. Don’t do it. Pests love to hide out in wood piles, and keeping it close to your abode is an open invitation for pests to enter. Pests such as carpenter ants love to crawl inside firewood, and if these baddies reach your home, serious, costly damage can result.
2. Cover it Up
Protecting firewood from every element is going to help keep it dry. Wet firewood attracts insects, so it’s important to let wet wood dry out to keep the pests away. If you’re struggling to fight the elements, place a tarp or cover on your firewood.
3. Don’t Stay Grounded
It’s going to be difficult to keep firewood dry when it’s lying on the ground. Instead, place it on some sort of support or firewood holder. If you have some extra lumber or cinder blocks around your yard, you can easily transform the materials into a place to store your firewood. Or, you can buy a structure that’s specifically designed to hold firewood.
4. Don’t Play Favorites
If you’re always using the wood you place on the top of the stack and refilling the pile before you reach the pieces on the bottom, the aging, unused firewood could make a snazzy new home for pests. By rotating the pile and using all the wood on a regular basis, you’ll lessen the risk of pests infesting the stack. Also, bumping the logs together to shake off loose debris (and potential pests) is a good idea.
5. Avoid the Pesticides
Do not spray your firewood pile with pesticides — EVER! Even if pests are overtaking the pile, applying pesticides could cause them to burrow deeper into the wood. And if you do end up burning the wood, the pesticides will release harmful chemicals that could be a health risk.
6. Make Two Trips
It’s convenient to bring in extra wood for the fires you’re planning to light today and later this week. It’s also a great way to invite pests inside. Leaving wood lying around your home could result in a dozen ants crawling around your kitchen. Managing firewood pests is essentially a matter of keeping them outdoors instead of within your home. The shorter the time that firewood is inside, the lower the chance there will be for these pests to emerge and scatter.
Having a wood stove or fireplace adds a beautiful ambiance to your living space as well as a way to conserve on your heating costs. But don’t trade one cost for another. Simply follow some infestation avoidance tips and enjoy the beauty of your fire without worry.