Storing firewood outside helps prevent problems with insects
Feb 10, 2010, 19:08 PM
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Canton Daily Ledger
Posted Feb 06, 2010 @ 05:12 AM
A variety of insects live in the dead and dying trees that we use for firewood. "To avoid problems in the house with these insects, store firewood outside," says David Robson, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.
Dying trees attract a variety of insects, primarily woodborers, which lay their eggs on the tree. The resulting borer larvae burrow throughout the wood, allowing other organisms to enter the tree, and eventually break it down into nutrients that living plants use.
Since firewood is dead wood, these same borers are common in it. Their eating of the wood does not appreciably reduce the amount of burnable wood over the few months that we store it. When we bring the firewood indoors, the adult borers in the wood warm up, become active, leave the firewood and fly around the house.
Probably the most common borer associated with firewood is the redheaded ash borer. The adult beetle is about 5/8 inch long, reddish-brown and long-legged. It also has four yellowish bands across the back. Since it feeds on wood with fairly high moisture content, it will not attack the dried wood used in house construction.
Worker carpenter ants are large (at least 1/4 inch long), black and wingless. Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but hollow it out for their nests. Pieces of firewood containing nests that are stored indoors provide a base of operations from which the workers forage for crumbs of food all over the house.