With the cold weather here in Florida recently, many Polk County residents have been enjoying their fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and/or fire pits in the back yard. There's nothing quite like enjoying a fire when the weather is chilly, and the comfort and warmth of enjoying friends and family in front of the fireplace or around the fire ring is hard to beat. However, that fun can quickly be diminished if the wood used has become infested with pests and begins to cause problems for not just your fire, but your entire home.
Wood piles used for household use can become a major pest issue if not handled correctly. However, with a little prep beforehand and some simple maintenance, you can enjoy your fire all winter long without worrying about intrusive pests.
- Prepare before you pile. Stacking wood directly on the ground outdoors is a surefire way to invite rot, pests, and a host of other issues. Instead, prepare an area for your woodpile by placing concrete blocks, bricks, or grates on the ground to act as a barrier between the moisture and insect activity on the ground. The air space that this creates also promotes ventilation which will keep the wood dry, and much less likely to become infested. Also be mindful of where you choose to stack wood. Never place your woodpile up against your home, or near live trees. Insects in the wood could infest your home and could also infest the living tree, causing it to die and requiring removal (that YOU would be responsible for). Ideally, stack firewood at least three feet away from any structures or live trees.
- For best results, cut firewood in late summer or early fall to avoid pest infestations. If you must use summer cut wood, stack it covered in the sun to kill off existing pests before burning. The general rule of thumb is to use the oldest wood first, restocking the pile as you go, with newest wood on the bottom.
- Shop local. Using wood harvested from a local area means the pests potentially living inside are local as well. If you import wood from another area, foreign insects could actually come out of the wood, and infest a whole new region which can have devastating effects on a local ecosystem. This is why you often see campgrounds post that wood must be purchased from their own camp store, or harvested from within the park grounds. Those same precautions should be taken for burning wood in or around your home.
- Shake it off. Before bringing wood in for a fire in a fireplace or wood stove, shake off the pieces of wood, bang them together, and give them a thorough look to make sure any spiders, beetles, centipedes, etc. are removed before coming indoors. Tip: use gloves when handling wood to avoid any bites that can come from insects hiding in your woodpile.
By using the advice above, you can enjoy your fire all winter and relax without having to worry about pest problems. If you notice that your wood pile has become an infestation ground, or if you find pests inside your home from a faulty batch of firewood, Country Boy Pest Control is here to be your first line of defense. We can come out, evaluate the situation, and offer the best possible solutions to have you pest free as soon as possible. Give us a call for your appointment!