On cold winter nights, there is really nothing better than a warm, crackling fire with a glass of your favorite beverage and your family and friends gathered all around. Not much can ruin this idyllic vision of winter happiness, unless of course the firewood that you brought in had some unwanted visitors! Be aware that mice, rats, termites, beetles, ants, and spiders commonly find haven in and around firewood stacks. While it is pretty normal for pests to find their way onto items stored outside, what is not expected is bringing those critters into your living areas. Here are our top 5 suggestions on how to avoid firewood pests while still being able to enjoy your fireplace or wood burning stove this winter.
- Firewood Stacks – Keep firewood stacks away from your home. Ideally more than 20 feet is suggested as you won’t be inviting mice, rats, and other critters to nest near your house or invite pests to enter your dwelling. It is also suggested that stacks of wood be elevated off the ground to maintain airflow beneath the pile. This helps reduce moisture problems which attract insects.
- First-In First-Out Rule – Most homeowners know this rule when dealing with firewood stack outside the home but it is worth a quick reminder. Use the oldest wood first, restacking the pile periodically if it makes it easier to access the older logs. This will help to keep pests at a minimum as it will prevent infestations from building up.
- Inspect Before Bringing In – It may seem like a simple idea, but always tap the wood on the ground to shake out any pests that may have decided to make a home in or around the wood. Inspect the wood to make sure there are no pests still attached.
- Use Local Wood – Using wood from outside your local area means that you may be harboring non-native pests. If those pests are transferred to your property you may have a new worry next spring as they can “set up shop,” so to speak, in your yard.
- Never Stack Indoors – It may seem more convenient to stack your wood in the basement, garage, or on a porch for easy access during the winter – don’t do it! Insects can emerge to take up residence within your home’s structure. In addition, the firewood pile can also provide attractive places for rodents or other wildlife to nest.
Have questions about pests that found a way into your home via firewood? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733.
Cuddling up on your favorite chair in front of a crackling fireplace or wood burning stove can be a relaxing and comforting addition to any winter afternoon or evening. Firewood can make your home pleasingly warm and the smell of burning wood can really set an “Norman Rockwell-type” scene for your family this season. Unfortunately, sometimes unwanted guests can crash the party via the firewood you have brought into your house!
Wood-boring and invasive insects can hitch a ride on or in your firewood and emerge up to 18 months after the wood was brought inside your home. Popular Mechanics Science Edition reports that in a recent study, “Scientists bought firewood from convenience shops and grocery stores only to watch as dozens of species emerged from nearly half of the bundles.” Much of the wood had traveled across state lines, meaning retail firewood could be spreading these pests. So how can you avoid having this happen to your home, with your firewood? Here are some suggestions to avoid inviting pests into your cozy home via firewood this winter.
- Proper Firewood Storage – Keep chopped wood away from buildings such as the outside of your home. Doing so literally invites wood-boring pests to take up residence in the structure. It is recommended that firewood be stored at least 10-20 feet from a structure. Insects and even rodents that hide in woodpiles are likely to enter small cracks, holes, or other openings when too close to the home. In addition to stacking firewood well away from the house, it is best to keep firewood up off the ground so that it is harder for pests to access it. Finally, never stack firewood indoors. Insects can emerge to take up residence within the structure, and the firewood pile can also provide attractive shelter for rodents or other wildlife or insect pests.
- Use Local Wood and Wood Usage Policy– When untreated wood is transferred from one area to another pests can emerge from the wood and begin infesting in new areas. Once you bring the wood into your home burn it immediately, which means that you should only bring in as much as you will use each time. Pests that are overwintering in the wood may come out with the warmth of your home and could set up shop in your house. Another good rule to follow is to follow “First In First Out” policy. This means using the oldest wood first, re-stacking the pile periodically if it makes it easier to access the older logs.
- Inspect Wood Before Bringing it Indoors – Look at each log, shake it, even pound it on the ground to get rid of any pests that may be attached. Spraying wood is not recommended as this could cause harmful vapors when the wood is burned.