A fireplace is used by a lot of individuals, either to enhance their existing heat supply or purely for leisure purposes. It is possible for insects and other arthropods to cause concern when they are transported into the home on firewood or other similar materials, but in most cases, this is unwarranted. Insects that live in firewood often fall into one of two categories:
- those organisms whose primary source of nutrition is wood and
- pests who are merely there for protection.
Insects That Can Cause Damage To Wood
Many insects will attack trees that have died or are on their way out. Their actions ensure that the materials contained in the wood are decomposed and repurposed in some way. For one method of repurposing wood, click here to see the methods of dying wood. The most common type of insect to be observed developing in firewood is the beetle. Boring insects like flatheaded wood borers, round headed wood borers, , and shothole borers, often known as powderpost beetles, are examples of these.
When logs are split, the stage of its first two types of larva that lack legs and are white in color can be found. Sawdust piles can be seen emerging from the smaller holes that powderpost beetles have created in logs. There is a very small chance that these insects will infest the structural timber in your home, if at all. The majority of the time, these borers will exclusively feed on particular types of trees, such as beech or oak. In most cases, the moisture level of the wood must also be significantly higher than what is typical for the wood used in the construction of residential structures.
After the logs have been brought inside, the adult will sometimes make their appearance. Borders with round heads are beetles that have long antennae and conspicuous markings on their bodies. Wood Borers are characterized by their long, flattened heads, which frequently have a rainbow luster. Powderpost beetles are itty-bitty insects that can range in color from brown to black. As they make their way toward the light, any of these things might be seen scurrying or flying around the room, or congregating around the windows or light fixtures.
These insects provide no health risk to humans. It is possible to find termites and carpenter ants (Carpenter Ants: How to Get Rid of Black Carpenter Ants (pestworld.org) in timber that has been damp for an extended period of time or that has been stored in the same location for a long period of time. Because termite colonies are located in the soil, the only termite species discovered in wood are the workers. The tunnels that termites create are made of mud, and this gunk can be discovered in the wood that is being eaten by termites.
The nesting chambers of carpenter ants are spotless, devoid of any muck or debris. Individuals that are brought into the home on logs won’t start an infestation, but there may be a colony in the old wood heaps outside the house.
A great number of insects look for places to spend the winter under loosened bark or even in hollow trees. There are numerous different kinds of insects, wood roaches, and even wasp or hornets queens that overwinter that could be a possibility. As part of such “fauna” which may be found in association with trees or logs that have fallen over, spider egg pouches, praying mantis eggs, and moth pods are examples.
After getting their bodies warmer inside, these animals will start to be active. As soon as you see one of these, you should swat it and then throw it away. These pests cannot endure the harsh conditions of an indoor environment for long periods of time. They will not procreate and will not be able to establish themselves in the house.
By adhering to these guidelines, it will be possible to limit the risk of insects entering homes via firewood:
- It is best to avoid piling the wood up on the ground directly. This will prevent the wood from being very moist and will lessen the likelihood of it being infested by insects like termites and ants.
- It is not a good idea to store firewood inside the house or against other structures for an extended period of time. Problems with termites or carpenter ants can deteriorate over time and lead to more significant issues. In addition, storing firewood against your home encourages the rodents who take up residence in firewood stacks to burrow under your home and start to chew through your walls, doors, eaves, and fascia to try to gain entry into your home. Once a great enough number of animals are trying to chew into your home, one is bound to gain entry.
- Utilize the wood that is the oldest first because it has the highest probability of becoming contaminated. Steer clear of the common practice of piling fresh wood onto top of seasoned wood.
- The wood should be covered during the summertime and the fall. This one will preserve it drier and will prevent some animals who are looking for wintering locations from using it. When Chompers Tree Service cuts and stores your wood, they will advise you of the need to ensure that your wood needs to be covered to avoid infestation.
- Before taking the wood inside, you should first give it a good shake, jar it, or knock it together forcefully to remove any insects, and then brush off any apparent structures, such as web or cocoons.
- Bring in manageable amounts of firewood, the kind that can be consumed in a day or so at the most, and stack it in a cool location (like a garage and porch) until it is used up. When the temperature of the wood rises, the animals that live on or in it will become even more active.
- It is not necessary to use insecticides on firewood. It is not essential, and doing so could put one in harm’s way due to the gasses that could be produced if the insecticides were burned.