Do you have a wood burning stove or fireplace and are concerned about the pests in your firewood pile? Since we often field calls from our clients about problems with pests in firewood stacks and those that hitch a ride indoors during the winter season, we thought this would be a good time to remind all of our readers about the steps you can take to protect your home from firewood pests this year.
Your firewood stack is a perfect pest hotel. Inside the stack, smaller rodents and insects are safe from predators and the pile is usually warm and protective. Common pests that can find harborage in a firewood stack include:
- Carpenter ants
- Longhorned beetles
- Wood-boring beetles
- Bark beetles
- Mice and Rats
While it would be impossible to prevent insects from hanging out in your woodpile, it is possible to stop them from using your wood as a way to enter the interior of your home. Here are some prevention tips to follow:
- Keep your woodpile 10-20 feet away from your home to stop insects from infesting a stack placed right up next to your structure.
- Leave the firewood outside until it is to be burned. Bring in only what you need for the day/night. Burn the wood immediately. The reason for this is that insects in firewood stored outdoors generally require several days to warm up in your home before they become active.
- Bang or knock the wood before you bring the pieces inside. Many a mouse has been known to cling to wood while being carried inside!
- Keep the wood off of the ground and stack it loosely to improve airflow and speed drying.
- Use the rule of first in, first out when choosing wood to burn.
- Buy local wood to keep from introducing non-native species.
Have a firewood pest problem? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll-Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.
Most of us consider sitting in front of a crackling fire as a cherished part of the winter months. However, even the joy of a warm, cozy fire can be ruined by uninvited pests! Last week we discussed the potential pest situations when it comes to your fireplace. This week we want to take a closer look at the firewood that is piled in your yard. This area can be a serious pest hideout and haven. Here are a few suggestions to ensure that you are doing everything possible to control the pests that may be attracted to your firewood stack so they don’t find a way inside your home.
- Location of Firewood Stack – Pest experts suggest keeping a firewood pile away from structures such as your home, garage, or shed. Keep wood away from buildings to stop pests from tunneling directly from the wood pile into the structure. We also suggest not putting your wood pile under trees that may harbor pests such as beetles that could easily find their way into your wood. Finally, keep wood off the ground to keep it from getting wet. Moisture encourages pests. Try putting the wood up on concrete blocks or pallets to allow for airflow below the stack.
- Practice First in First Out – Use the oldest wood first, restacking the pile periodically. This will help to keep pests at a minimum as you are not allowing infestations to build up.
- Check for Surface Pests – Before bringing any wood inside your home, check for any visible surface pests. Brush them off or bang them against the ground to shake them free. While you may not be able to see any pests that have burrowed inside the wood, at least take care of any that you can see.
- Only take in the amount of wood you will need. Bringing heavy wood into a home is no fun chore, so some homeowners consider hauling in a large load once and using when needed. We suggest only bringing in what you will burn for the night to keep out any pests that could emerge with the heat of your home.
- Use only local firewood. This will help avoid bringing non-native pests into our region.
Do you have questions about how to control the pests in and around your firewood stack? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.
As winter draws near, most of us begin to take our entertaining indoors. Gone are the carefree summer nights of BBQs and fire pits. However, if you still long for the sight, smell, and comfort of a crackling fire, your living room fireplace will have to suffice during the winter season. There are some caveats when dealing with fireplaces, and the large potential for pests. Let’s look at some of the facets of winter homeowners should be aware of in regard to avoid pests in and around fireplaces.
If you think a fireplace is a comfy place to gather around, especially during the depths of winter, you are not wrong. But guess who else thinks so – wildlife and pests! Fireplaces and chimneys can harbor numerous pests, from wildlife that find refuge in the dark cavern, to pests who find a ride inside on firewood. Here are some suggestions of steps to avoid pests of all sizes and shapes around your fireplace.
- Firewood – Check all firewood coming into your house. In other words, give it not only a visual inspection when you take it off the wood pile but also give it a few good bangs to be sure there is not an infestation of any variety of pest that you may be bringing inside. Check for scratches and gnaw marks that may be indicative of rodents living in your wood pile. Check that there are no active infestations. Use the wood in a timely manner. The longer it sits in your yard, the more likely pests have found a way to live and hide inside.
- Check the Flue – Rodents, birds, squirrels, racoons, and other wildlife have been known to build nests inside chimneys that are accessible from the roof. Shut the flue when you are not using the fireplace to be sure these pests do not have access to the interior of your home. But be sure to open each time you use the fireplace.
- Fireplaces should also have a cover or seal that can keep pests from getting inside your home. Many homeowners like the safety aspect of a fireplace screen to keep children and pets from getting too close to the flames. It can serve two purposes – to keep pests out and protect your family from the heat of the flames.
Fireplaces can be a haven for pests of many different varieties. If you find that you have pests living in your firewood stack, talk to the pest specialists at Pro-Tech. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, and visit our website.
No home is immune to attracting pests. However, with regular maintenance and thorough inspections to the most pest-prone areas, homeowners can avoid pest catastrophes such as infestations and damage to the home’s structure. There are some areas of a typical home that tend to be forgotten and sometimes even neglected that pests find and take up refuge. Let’s examine some of these pest haven areas, and see how you can prevent a pest problem in the future.
Gutters – The gutters attached to your home have many benefits: to keep the water from eroding the soil around your foundation, protect the basement from flooding, stop your roof from leaking, and safeguard the foundation from water damage. Unfortunately, gutters collect water runoff and piles of leaves from one season to the next. This water and natural debris is the perfect breeding and nesting ground for a slew of pests including: squirrels, ants, rats, and mice. Gutters are easy to ignore unless they are causing a problem. We suggest having them cleaned at least twice a year to avoid accidentally creating a pest haven.
Decks and Sheds – While many homeowners enjoy entertaining on their deck and storing their fun yard equipment in a handy shed, most forget that the underside of these two structures can be a perfect place for pests to find a home, breed, and make an utter mess. Every spring and again in the fall, clear out the underneath of these two hard-to-access areas. The dark, moist area can be a haven for a wide range of wildlife that you do not want to encourage to nest in your yard.
Firewood Stacks – We all enjoy a good fire in the winter and fire pit entertaining in the warmer weather. Don’t forget to use the oldest wood first, store away from your home and check the wood before bringing it into your home. Wood is a great place for wood loving insects to hide.
Do you have a pest problem in a forgotten or not often cared for area? Call us at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733 and visit our website. We can identify the pest and create a solution that works for you and your family.
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.