Are There Termites in Your Firewood?
For many New Englanders, it's a normal, annual routine to chop and store firewood a few months leading up to winter. While this is the responsible thing to do to keep the house warm, it’s important to recognize the risks involved with this practice…and how to reduce those risks. We are talking, specifically, about termites.
Take Precautions Against Termites
Before you bring chopped wood in from outside, make sure it is not already infested with termites. The termites can migrate from the log to the structure of your house. From here, they can cause a significant amount of damage to your house. This can happen anywhere, since termites have been found in every state across the US.
That’s why we recommend storing your chopped firewood away from the house, and elevated off the ground whenever possible. It’s also a good idea to store your firewood under a dark plastic tarp during the summertime. By allowing the heat to build up beneath, the moisture will evaporate; thereby killing termites or other insects that might have set up camp.
How Do You Identify a Termite?
Termites have wings that are equal in length to their body, which helps to identify them individually, as well as in a swarm versus an ant swarm. A termite’s antennae is straight and will sometimes droop downward, compared to an ant’s antennae, which bends at a ninety-degree angle.
Termites Aren’t All Bad!
While you certainly do not want termites in your house, they are not pests out in nature. In fact, termites are beneficial insects to the forests by breaking down dead trees, which is why firewood is such an attractive target for termites.
If you are finding signs of termites, you may have just recently purchased firewood. In order to keep termites out of your wood, keep it dry, stored up high, and well away from the house. If the logs are stored on the ground it raises a higher risk of attracting termites. Termites are also attracted to dead wood, which your firewood classifies as (burn it in a timely fashion!).
This will help in the event that termites visit your property; your firewood will be the only casualty of their activity and not the siding of your house.
How Can I Check for Termites?
There are signs to watch that will signal your firewood may be infested. The largest are burrowing holes in your wood, which can appear in easily recognizable, honeycomb and other various patterns, depending on species. You might also see accumulations of frass, or fecal matter, which termites push out of the tunnels as they burrow, in small piles near the firewood.
Of course, various types of insects burrow and tunnel into wood; look for mud lining the inside of these tunnels as a sign that termites have taken over the wood pile. These mud-lined tunnels will likely appear near the wood pile as well, since termites don’t live in the wood, but the ground around it.
Like most pest control concerns, it is much easier to prevent a problem ahead of time than it is to get rid of termites. Termites are not a DIY project and should always be left to the pros if they’ve been found anywhere on or near your property.
Take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re keeping termites away from your property in the first place. We exclusively recommend and install the Sentricon system—the number one brand in termite control—which works by targeting and treating an already established subterranean termite colony.
Whether you want to get them out or keep them out, we can help. Learn more about our expert termite control and contact us when you’re ready to get started.