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Handling Firewood Improperly Can Cause Pest Problems

Heating your Houston home with firewood is cozy, romantic, and environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, if your wood isn’t handled and stored correctly, it can harbor unwanted pests. These insects pose no serious threat to your home in most cases, but a few species could be problematic.

A variety of insects infest wood. The list includes bark lice, millipedes, centipedes, pill bugs, sowbugs, springtails, termites, beetles, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and wasps. Termites are the biggest threat to your home’s structure, but they’re not usually a problem unless you bring firewood into a moist environment and store the logs against your home. If you find live termites in a wood pile, move the wood as far away from your home as possible.

Wood-boring beetles can be a nuisance if they create noise or wood dust. Bark beetles live inside a tree’s bark or between the bark and heartwood. If infested wood is stacked against living trees, bark beetles could threaten all trees on your property. To prevent bark beetle problems, strip the bark from firewood or expose the wood to high temperatures during summer.

Keeping firewood dry and well-ventilated discourages infestation. Never stack wood piles against your house. Always keep wood outdoors until you are ready to burn it. Once it’s indoors, use it immediately to ensure that moist, moldy, or infested wood doesn’t stay in your environment. Cut wood into small logs—wood cures quickly when you expose more of its surface to air. Raise woodpiles a few inches off the ground to increase air circulation and cover them to keep out dampness. If possible, use only locally harvested firewood.

Don’t keep firewood in a damp basement or garage—if termites are present, they might attract moisture to the home’s structural wood. If an extensive termite infestation develops, you may have a severe problem that only professional Houston exterminators can solve. Besides preventing infestations, proper storage and drying practices also help to reduce creosote buildup and dangerous flue fires, and they help your wood burn more efficiently.

Although winter decreases the population of some insects, you may still need effective pest control when Houston temperatures drop. For wood-boring insects and other winter pests, trust your qualified ABC Houston Pest specialists.

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