November 5, 1998 | By: Ellen Brightwell

Most insects in firewood won't harm people or their homes. But insects emerging from firewood can concern homeowners and put a damper on the pleasure from a nice, crackling fire. Homeowners can keep these pests out in the cold by handling the wood properly.

"The best way to keep insects found on or inside logs out of your home, is to store and use the firewood so that you prevent their entry indoors," said Mike Potter, entomologist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. "We strongly advise against spraying firewood with an insecticide. This practice is unnecessary, ineffective and could result in the release of harmful vapors when the wood is burned."

Some pests such as termites, wood-boring beetles and carpenter ants tunnel into firewood and feed within the logs. Others simply hide or overwinter underneath the bark. These include centipedes, spiders, scorpions, wood cockroaches, ground beetles, sowbugs and pillbugs. The only harm these hibernators typically cause is annoyance as they crawl or fly around the house upon emerging within a few days after the logs are bought indoors.

Potter gave these tips to keep firewood insects out in the cold.

* Store firewood outdoors away from the house and off the ground. Stacking logs off the ground increases air circulation for drying and helps prevent moisture problems. One way is to stack firewood on poles suspended between concrete blocks or on old pallets.

* Burn older wood first to reduce the length of time insects have to become established in the logs.

* Before bringing firewood inside, shake or knock logs together to dislodge insects clinging to the bark. Check the bottom of log carriers because insects often crawl into them when logs are brought indoors.

* Bring only enough firewood indoors to be used immediately or within a few hours. Pests emerge from firewood kept indoors for an extended period of time. This wood also can become a nesting site for rodents.

* Use a broom or vacuum cleaner to eliminate the occasional insect emerging from firewood.

Contact: 

Writer: Ellen Brightwell
(606) 257-1376

Source: Mike Potter
(606) 257-2398