On a cold winter night, nothing beats curling up by the fireplace for a relaxing few hours of catching up on your favorite TV shows. For most of us, being able to do this requires maintaining a well-stocked pile of firewood. Unfortunately, firewood is the perfect Trojan horse for pests to invade your home!
Don’t let staying warm this winter open your gates to pests; use these tips to enjoy your fireplace without unwelcome guests.
- Keep your firewood at least 20 feet from your home. Mice, ants, and many other insects can make their nests in wood piles and easily gain access to your home if the pile is nearby.
- Keep your firewood off the ground. Firewood placed on the ground is easier for pests to access, and often makes the bottom layer less likely to be used. Concrete blocks, bricks, or firewood grates can be used to keep the wood from directly contacting the ground. This also helps with the next tip.
- Keep your firewood dry. In addition to burning more easily, dry wood is less attractive to most pests. Maintaining airflow beneath the pile helps reduce moisture problems which attract insects, and placing a tarp over your wood pile is a cheap way to prevent rain or snow from adding moisture.
- Practice "First In/First Out" Rule. 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 you are not allowing infestations to build up. And it will help keep anyone from carrying infested firewood into your home.
- Inspect your firewood before bringing it inside. A quick look over each log for obvious signs of pest infestation can save you a lot of trouble later on. Before bringing wood into the house to use in a fire, inspect every log: look them over, shake them, knock them together. Get rid of the pests that are on the surface or beginning to emerge.
- Burn firewood immediately when brought indoors. Few insects are active outdoors during the cold winter months; rather they will overwinter in sheltered spots – such as within or between firewood piles. If the wood is brought indoors and not burned immediately, the insects can crawl out from the wood into the warmth of your home.
- Spray your firewood with pesticides. This won’t kill pests that have burrowed into the wood and can release harmful chemicals inside your home when the wood is burned.
- Buy your firewood non-locally. Buying firewood locally can reduce the chance of introducing invasive species to new areas.
- Never store firewood indoors. Firewood should not be stored indoors in any area – in the home, basement, or garage. Insects can emerge to take up residence within the structure, and the firewood pile can also provide attractive harborage for rodents or other wildlife or insect pests.
If you experience problems with pests, whether they have been brought in on firewood or otherwise, don’t hesitate to call us at (262) 797-4170 or contact us online!
Example of proper firewood storage:
As you can see, the firewood is away from the house, off the ground, and covered by a tarp to keep it dry. With an inspection before the wood is brought into the house, this will make it very difficult for pests to sneak in.
Example of poor firewood storage:
Here the wood is placed directly against the house, exposed to the elements, and directly on the ground. You can imagine how easy it would be for insects or mice to get inside, especially with that door open!