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Insects in your wood pile

Insects in your wood pile

This time of year, your stack of firewood is likely being put to good use, but did you know that is may be home to several common wood pests?

What pests might be in my wood pile?

Termites. These notorious wood-eating insects may be found in your wood pile, especially if logs are wet/moist and have been stacked for an extended period of time. If wood is touching the ground, termites will commonly be found along the wood/soil interface. If a few termites are accidentally brought into your home when transporting logs to your fireplace, they are unlikely to establish and trigger an infestation. The most significant factors that may influence whether or not termites from firewood infest the home is the age and moisture level of the firewood, as well as the proximity of the wood pile to the house. Never allow firewood to touch the outside of your home. 

Carpenter ants. Like termites, carpenter ants are more common in old and/or moist logs. Be sure to rotate your firewood frequently. Carpenter ants aren’t always on a homeowner’s radar because they don’t get as much news coverage as termites. Don’t underestimate these insects, however. They are serious structural pests. Also like termites, a few stragglers brought into your home with firewood are unlikely to start an infestation. The age and moisture level of firewood, as well as the pile’s proximity to the house are the greatest risk factors for an infestation. 

Centipedes. Most of us are familiar with these organisms. They have elongated bodies with one pair of legs per body segment. The centipedes found in a wood pile aren’t likely to infest your home, but they may bite if handled. It’s best to leave these guys alone.  

Cockroaches. The cockroaches you may find in your wood pile differ from those that may infest your kitchen. Those that infest homes are German cockroaches, whereas those found in wood may be Smokeybrown cockroaches, American cockroaches, or Pennsylvania wood cockroaches. These outdoor species tend to be much larger than those found indoors. While they are considered outdoor species, an occasional cockroach may make its way into your home through a broken seal, door, or piece of firewood. These occasional visitors will not infest or damage your home in any way. 

Can these pests affect my home? 

YES! Several of these pests, including carpenter ants and termites may cause costly damage if they spread to your home. There are ways to prevent this spread, however. See our upcoming blog post for some helpful tips to keep these pests away!