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Nebline Newsletter Article

Bugs in Your Firewood?
submitted by Barb Ogg, Ph.D., Extension Educator

This article appeared in the NEBLINE newsletter.

Several kinds of insects may be found in firewood, but rarely would any cause an infestation in furniture or your house structure. The most likely insects found in firewood are carpenter ants and a number of types of wood-boring beetles. Termites are practically never found in firewood stored outside at this time of the year; they nest deep in the soil where temperatures are warmer.

Carpenter ants nest in wood that has gotten wet and started to decay. Firewood that has been improperly stored or that is a softer wood, like cottonwood, may house a carpenter ant nest. It would be best to inspect your wood carefully before bringing it into the house. Decayed wood makes poor firewood.

Wood-boring beetles leaving firewood are also unlikely to infest your home. There are many species of wood-boring beetles than may infest wood and they range from 1-1/2" to 1/8" long. These beetles often leave the wood after it is cut; some of these insects may die as the wood starts to dry out.

If insects start to emerge from your firewood, do not panic! Get out the vacuum cleaner and sweep 'em up. Insecticide treatment of firewood is definitely not recommended because dangerous fumes may arise when you burn the wood. The best way to eliminate a potential insect problem is to keep the firewood outside until you get ready to burn it.

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