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Beware of the Wood Pile (Part 1)

woodpile_questpestWith the approaching cold weather, pests as well as people begin searching for ways to stay warm. It is the time of year when people begin heating their homes with wood-burning stoves or fireplaces and therefore need to bring their firewood indoors. As nice as a stack of firewood looks next to a blazing fireplace, these pieces of firewood may be causing more harm than good. The firewood brought from the outdoors can carry many household pests and may give the creatures the direct route they need to a warmer environment. Once inside the home, these creatures will have the opportunity to find other spots to hide and survive through the cold winter.

There are several precautions that can be taken so a homeowner can use firewood without worrying that they are bringing pests inside:

  1. Store firewood away from buildings and trees and off of the ground
    It is important that wood is not stored up against the outside of your home: this gives pests a direct route into the house. Similarly, stacking wood off of the ground (on top of concrete blocks, etc.) will allow air to flow under the pile. This will reduce moisture, which tends to attract pests. It is also important to keep wood away from trees, as animals such as bark beetles may leave the woodpile and inhabit the tree, which may damage it.
  1. Do not stack firewood indoors
    No matter where the wood is stacked in the home, this gives insects, rodents, and other unwanted guests a place to live.
  1. Use the FIFO method
    This stands for “first in, first out” and essentially suggests that it is better to always burn the oldest wood in a pile first. This lessens the amount of time that insects can inhabit the wood.
  1. Use ONLY local firewood
    Non-local wood can bring non-native pests (like the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer) with it to the new location. These pests lay their eggs in native trees, which damages the trees and spreads invasive species. Experts recommend that firewood should not be moved more than 50 miles from where it is cut down. This includes traveling: if you are planning on camping, you should buy firewood from a local source near the camp.
  1. Check wood as it is brought inside
    Be sure to look at wood as it is carried inside: it is also a good idea to shake and knock the pieces to ensure that any pests on the wood have been shaken off.
  1. Burn wood immediately once it is indoors
    Once wood is brought inside, pests can crawl out of it and begin to inhabit your home.
  1. Cut and store wood at the right time
    It is recommended that wood be cut in late summer to late fall because insects are most active during April to October.   It is also important to store harvested wood in a sunny area with a cover to reduce infestations. Be sure to leave a space in between the cover and the wood as well as between the wood and the ground for airflow.
  1. Keep an eye out
    As always, be sure to keep a lookout. At the first sighting of any unwanted pests in your home, be sure to call Quest Pest at 860-490-5186.