Stamm: Keep firewood insects outside of your home

Every time you bring a load of firewood inside this winter, you may be opening the door for wood-infesting insects to make your home theirs.

Most insects brought into the home on firewood are harmless, but you can reduce their numbers by following a few simple steps.

When stacking wood outside, avoid stacking it directly on the ground. This will keep it from getting too wet and reduce the chances of infestation by such insects as termites and ants.

Individual termites and ants brought into the house will not start an infestation. However, a colony may exist in an old woodpile outdoors.

Remember not to stack firewood in or against a house or any other buildings for long periods of time.

Termite or carpenter ant problems can develop and cause more serious problems later.

Older wood is most likely to be infested, so use it first. Avoid stacking new wood on top of old wood.

Cover firewood during the summer and fall to keep it drier and to discourage insects from seeking it out as winter shelter.

To dislodge insects before bringing firewood indoors, shake, jar or knock logs together sharply. Brush off any obvious webbing or cocoons.

Bring in small amounts of firewood that you can use in a day or so.

Keep it stacked in a cool area, such as a garage or on a porch, until you need it.

When wood warms up, the creatures in or on it will become active.

Don’t treat firewood with insecticides. Not only is it unnecessary, it could be dangerous. When insecticide burns, it can produce noxious fumes.

For more information about firewood insects, contact the Clark County Cooperative Extension Service by calling 744-4682.

Source: Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky Extension entomologist. Clay Stamm is one of the Clark County Cooperative Extension Service Agents for Agriculture and Natural Resources.