Now that we are in the throes of winter, the allure of a roaring fireplace is hard to ignore. But the wood you bring in for your cozy fire can also bring unwanted hitchhikers.
A variety of insects, arachnids, and other arthropods like to live in, on, and around stacked firewood. Some harmless (though undesired) insects include pillbugs, sowbugs, daddy-longlegs, spiders, earwigs, and springtails. The most problematic invaders are the carpenter ants and wood-boring beetles because these can damage your home.
There are several ways you can help reduce the likelihood of importing pest problems. If you have your own firewood supply outdoors, it’s best to stack it away from your house to discourage any of these creatures from wandering the short distance indoors for heat and shelter.
Before bringing in firewood, make sure there are not bird or other animal nests on or near it. These nests can harbor mites, ticks, and fleas. Keeping your firewood tightly wrapped and covered can help reduce the number of critters inside it. Before you bring wood indoors, brush off any soil or debris first and use firewood very soon after you bring it indoors. The shorter the amount of time it is sitting inside, the less likely any pests will start moving off of it and into the recesses of your home.
It’s also important to remember that it is never advisable to transport firewood great distances or move it across state lines. The spread of invasive insects is rapidly expanding and is greatly aided by the movement of firewood. By taking these steps, you will be much less likely to introduce a pest problem into your home this winter.