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Monday, January 29, 2024

Firewood Foes: Signs You Have Termites or Carpenter Ants in Your Logs

A crackling fire, the scent of pine in the air, and the promise of toasty marshmallows. While you're gearing up for a cozy evening by the fire, termites and carpenter ants might be eyeing your firewood as their next feast.

The extra lumber you have lying around to help keep you warm in the winter opens the door for a cold-weather infestation. Here’s how to identify if you have termites or carpenter ants in your wood, along with tips to keep them away from your campfire — and your home. 

Identifying Invaders 

When termites get into your firewood, it’s hard for them to go unnoticed. This is because they construct mud tubes on the wood’s exterior. These skinny, raised tunnels allow termites to safely travel through the wood and help maintain a moist environment. Wood affected by termites will also have small holes on the surface, which indicate termite entry points. 

Carpenter ants can be a little harder to spot, but there are still some telltale signs you have them in your logs. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood they chew through when carving out tunnels. If you see small piles of sawdust, or frass, around your wood, carpenter ants are likely hard at work inside. 

It’s also possible that you’ll hear carpenter ants before you see them. Keep an ear out for rustling, tapping, or clicking sounds. These ants make noise while they work, which can be a dead giveaway you have them in your wood. 

Prevention Tips 

Many species of termites live underground, so keeping wood elevated and reducing its contact with soil will help keep pests out. If you do store your wood at ground level, placing it on a tarp or sheet can also help prevent termites and carpenter ants from getting into it. 

To take your protection a step further, try storing your wood in a covered structure like a plastic storage unit. This will help protect your wood from the elements and any invaders. Whether you keep wood outside or inside, periodically inspecting it for signs of pest activity will go a long way in preventing an infestation.

If termites or carpenter ants do get in your firewood, the last thing you want is for them to make the jump from the pile to your home. Make sure wood is stored at a safe distance from your house or shed to reduce the chances of an infestation spreading. 

Dealing With an Infestation

Seeing some movement by the campfire besides the dancing flames? 

If you discover that termites or carpenter ants have infested your wood, the first step is to identify affected logs and remove them from the stack. You can dispose of these pieces simply by throwing them away. It’s not recommended to move the wood somewhere else in your yard — these invaders could come back. 

In the event that your firewood was stored near your home, move the entire stack away from it. Keep an eye out for signs of activity in your house, especially if wood was used in an indoor fireplace. Mud tubes and weak, hollow-sounding walls and floorboards are indicators that termites or carpenter ants have spread into your home. 

Keep the Flames Alive, Sans Pests

Your campfire nights should be pest-free, even in the winter. If you’re worried about termites or carpenter ants spreading quicker than a wildfire, give us a call for quick and efficient removal.