How To Store Firewood To Avoid Termites!

We all love the warmth that firewood brings during cold weather, but here’s the thing – termites love this fuel source even better than we do. At least, it would seem so. These pests are attracted to different kinds of wood, from furniture to tree stumps and firewood, and they do not fail to wreak havoc once they come across them. The last thing you want is to attract termites towards your home, and then have to worry about how to kill termites! Here’s how to store firewood to avoid termites and protect your home!

how to store firewood to avoid termites

This piece will guide you on how to store firewood the right way to avoid termites but first, let’s go over what to avoid when storing firewood.

How Not To Store Firewood When Trying To Prevent Termites:

  • Do not store firewood indoors: storing firewood in your house will only attract termites and other wood-boring insects into your home. But for wood that’s already been infested with termites, keeping them indoors will only encourage the insects to spread to different parts of your house; and you don’t want to risk that happening. Another advantage of storing them outside is that it encourages airflow, thereby keeping your firewood fresh and crisp. 
  • Do not keep the wood directly on the ground: subterranean termites tend to live in wood-to-ground areas. While they prefer to live in soil, they feed on wood, so having a food source (wood) right next to their preferred habitat will only give their population a boost.
  • Do not apply pesticides: while this may seem like the go-to option, applying pesticides will only kill a few termites at the surface, and leave your firewood infected.
  • Do not store near trees: Termites can easily move from trees to firewood. Therefore, it makes sense to store them away from living trees. Also, keep them away from your home (at least three feet away). Aside from preventing the spread of termites into your firewood stack, it will give them zero chance of moving into your home.

How To Store Firewood To Avoid Termites

1. Cover With Tarpaulin

This method is quite traditional but is effective when dealing with termites That’s because it prevents them from getting in and keeps the wood covered from external conditions. Tarpaulin is waterproof and should last through at least six months of extreme weather. Here’s what to do when using tarpaulin. You’ll need to get the following components:

  • A sturdy log rack with a roof slope (to keep the rain away)
  • Tarpaulin
  • Vapor barrier to block excess ground moisture.
  • A few large stones
  1. Assemble a few large stones under a log rack where you will store the wood. (Log racks are about 7-12 inches away from the ground).
  2. Put a vapor barrier underneath the log rack.
  3. Stack the firewood logs.
  4. Now you can cover with the tarpaulin.

2. Split Firewood Into Smaller Pieces

Rather than storing them as thick logs, ax them up. Most termites prefer to live in damp wood, but splitting them will dry them quickly and make storage easier. This method of storage might be on the tedious or expensive side but it would be worth it in the long run.

3. Dry Firewood Properly

Drying firewood reduces the chance of infestation by termites. But when it is not properly done, it might even make a perfect breeding ground for them. If you want to ensure that your wood is completely dry, first set up as much space as you can. Then make a platform a few inches away from the ground. You want to use a platform that facilitates airflow.

Then proceed to stack the firewood on the platform, allowing little spaces in between. You would want to stack one firewood in between two, just the same way bricks are laid. Leave it uncovered for as long as possible, provided that the weather does not present any kind of precipitation.  You’ll know if your firewood is dry when:

  • It is much lighter in weight.
  • The bark is only lightly attached to the firewood.
  • There are cracks at the smooth ends.
  • The cut ends of dry wood are warm and dry to touch.
  • Dry wood burns faster without giving off any steam.

In case you’re wondering, here’s why you should keep your firewood dry. It burns better and is safer. Burning damp wood produces more smoke, steam, and the fire doesn’t burn smoothly. So when burned in an enclosed space, it will pose harm to you and your loved ones since it emits dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Dry wood also lasts longer. If you dry your wood before storing it, one sure thing is that it will last longer. That’s because termites are less likely to infest dry wood. 

How To Get Rid Of Termites In Firewood

Has your firewood been infiltrated by these badly-behaving insects? Here are some things you can do to remedy the situation and get rid of them:

  • Heat treatment

Heat treatment is a non-chemical, non-toxic method of eliminating termites in firewood. It involves using a special heating element that raises air temperature between 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit where the termites live. It is a better alternative to fumigation because it is friendlier and reaches deeper into the wood.

  • Burn firewood

Sometimes the safest thing to do is just dispose of it because that can save you the cost of applying treatment. While this may seem wasteful, it is much better than allowing them to thrive. Besides, burning it could also mean that you’re making use of it. So if you plan to light a campfire, use the infested wood first. Since you’ll be burning it outside, there’s no chance that termites will make it into your home. Besides, this alternative will kill any existing termite in the wood.

Final Thoughts On Termites In Firewood

Firewood is quite difficult to handle, and worse when termites are involved. But if you follow the steps outlined in this article, you wouldn’t have to worry about them and you’ll know how to store firewood to avoid termites! If you’re unable to apply these methods effectively, then you can seek professional help.

Resources:

https://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/2015/learning-what-wood-a-termite-prefers/

About The Author:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. His main goal is to provide accurate and helpful DIY tips to keep your home pest-free and how to identify different types of household pests!