There is something truly comforting in the winter about sitting in your favourite chair, in front of your stove or fireplace, watching a nice, crackling wood fire. And close by, you have a supply of dry, split firewood.
But sorry to burst the image: if you bring wood inside the house from the cold, there’s a good chance that you might be introducing bugs that were quietly hibernating in the wood.
How to avoid having insects in your firewood
Firewood can give shelter to many insects either under the bark or inside the wood, as larvae or as adults. The change from cold to warm makes the bugs think that it is spring, and they wake up to come out to check your place out. Most are harmless.
Here are 3 recommendations to avoid the problem.
- Never stack your winter’s supply of firewood indoors, including basements and heated garages. The warm conditions will cause the bugs to emerge. Simply bring in from the cold what you will burn over the next 24-48 hours before the insects start thinking it’s spring.
- Firewood should never be stacked against a house or other buildings in order to put distance between wood-boring insects and the wood in the structure. The recommendation is to keep the firewood and walls about at least 1 metre apart.
- Do not stack firewood on bare dirt for 2 reasons: the bottom layer stays damp, making the wood moist, and the ground and moist wood provides a conduit for carpenter ants and termites. Put a layer of blocks, bricks or even used pallets to maintain airflow and reduce moisture.
What kinds of bugs hide in firewood?
You might have bark beetles, boring beetles, carpenter ants and termites sleeping inside your firewood. Other non-boring insects might possibly show up as hitchhikers, like sowbugs, millipedes, pillbugs, ants, centipedes, wasps, spiders, flies, cockroaches, ladybugs, etc. Most are a nuisance, but harmless.
No need to panic, just make sure you bring in only as much wood as you can burn in a day or two. The bugs won’t have time to emerge and cause trouble. The problems will occur, of course, if you plan to store a lot of firewood inside for a longer period.