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Termites and Firewood
It’s that time of year when the nights get chilly and we crank up the fireplace. Though gas logs have become immensely popular, there are still plenty of homes doing it the old fashioned way, with real, wood fire places. If this applies to you, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks of bringing wood inside your home so you can prevent problems from occurring.
We’ve discussed termite issues on this blog before, but as a refresher, termites feed on wood. The most common type of termite in the United States is the eastern subterranean termite. This species has to maintain contact with the soil at all times so that they don’t dry out. So the question remains, how do you avoid bringing them into your home on firewood?
First of all, it’s important that if you do end up with termites in your pile of wood that they don’t make their way to your home, so you should always keep your wood pile away from your actual house. The farther away the better, but the most important thing is for it not to be right up against your home. Since many termites require soil contact, if you can put some distance between the soil and your wood, you will reduce the likelihood that termites will successfully infest your wood pile. This can be accomplished with a firewood stand or rack. If you don’t want to splurge for one of these, you can also use a tarp or, more effectively, a piece of metal. The main point is to keep the wood from being in direct contact with the ground.
It’s understandable that you would want your trip outside in the cold to get firewood to be a quick one, but it’s worth spending a minute or two to briefly inspect the wood. If you are chopping wood you will have an even better chance of spotting potential termites. These pests feed on the interior of wood and will often be found there. If the inside of a piece of wood looks somewhat hollowed out, it could very well be termites. Inspecting your wood will also help you prevent other bugs that might be hanging out around your firewood from taking a free ride inside your home.