Curling up in front of a fire makes for a comfortable, cozy winter pastime. But if you're not careful, the firewood itself can pose a risk to your home in the form of pests. Insects, rodents, and other creatures find wood piles to be appealing homes, and you don't want any of these pests to move into your own house through the firewood. Keep reading to learn more about the pests that live in firewood and how proper firewood storage can keep them at bay.
Pests That Live in Firewood
Homeowners often assume that only rotten, decaying firewood is a risk for pests, but this is not the case. Some pests may already be present in fresh firewood when you bring it onto your property, and others will happily live even in clean, fresh logs.
Termites live in the soil, and they may come up from the soil to feed on firewood after you stack it. As the colony feeds on firewood and grows, the bugs may begin attacking other wooden structures on your property. Thankfully, termite damage is rather easy to detect. If your logs have tunnels through them and you notice wood shavings around the edges of your woodpile, you likely have termites.
These big, wood-chewing ants are sneaker than termites. You can't always tell that they are feeding on your wood since they hollow it out from the inside. If you bring carpenter ants into your home on firewood, they may begin eating your wooden structures. They're tough to eradicate from inside a home and can cause substantial damage in attics and basements.
Rats and Mice
Wood piles offer the shelter that rats and mice are seeking in the winter months. Once these rodents have moved into your wood pile, they only have to travel a short distance to find their way into your home. Since rats and mice carry various diseases, infestations put your family at risk.
Tips for Storing Firewood
Always check your firewood for signs of termites and ants before you buy it. Do not accept firewood that shows evidence of pests. Once you ensure you have good wood and take the wood home, follow these storage tips to prevent issues with termites, carpenter ants, and rodents.
Store the Wood Outside
Your living room may seem like the most convenient place to store firewood, but if there are any preexisting hidden pests in the wood, storing it indoors puts you at risk. Keep the wood outside and at least 20 feet from your home. You can store it under an outbuilding overhang, but do not keep it in an enclosed shed or garage. Such shelter only makes the wood pile more inviting to rodents.
Bring firewood inside only as you need it. Burn the wood you bring inside immediately so you kill any termites or ants that may be present.
Keep Stacks Small
The smaller your stacks, the less appealing they will be to pests. The wood will also stay dryer in small stacks, and dry wood is less likely to attract termites and ants. Don't stack wood higher than four feet, and use a log rack or pallets to keep the wood off the ground.
Trim Weeds and Grass
Weeds and grass growing up against the wood pile trap moisture against the wood, making it more appealing to insects. They also make the wood pile a better hiding place for rodents. Weed whack around your wood pile each time you mow the lawn. Also, rake away any fallen leaves that blow up against the wood pile.
Enjoy your fires this winter, but do not let your firewood become a pest risk! If you have noticed any bugs or rodents in or around your home, contact Maple Lane Pest Control. We offer service throughout Macomb County, Oakland, and the surrounding areas.