Nothing says Christmas like stockings hanging from the fireplace and the warm glow and crackling of timber on the fire as you sit with mince pies and maybe even some mulled wine!
Plenty of Irish families will have an abundance of fire wood this Christmas after the wicked storms at the beginning of the year resulted in the untimely demise of thousands of gorgeous Irish trees. But as the saying goes, waste not what not and at least we might save ourselves a few euro in fuel this year with all the extra timber we collected from our gardens.
When firewood is stored correctly it’s no problem to bring it into your home but if wood is not stored correctly, after long periods of exposure to the elements it can pick up a few hitch hikers before entering your home. There are many insects that could find shelter in your fuel but keep an eye out for the two main offenders in particular, annoying woodlice and the dreaded woodworm.
Woodlice love to hide in damp properties and they will breed in decaying timbers and other organic debris which makes stacked firewood which is exposed to the elements the perfect breeding grounds for these little insects.
They can invade properties when their favoured habitat either dries out, becomes flooded or when they are transported inside by you or I unknown to themselves.
Woodlice are actually harmless insects, however an infestation can be unpleasant when you’re faced with large numbers.
Did you know that the term ‘woodworm’ actually covers many types of wood boring beetles, not a single species?
Adult beetles will lay their eggs in cracks in wooden objects, floorboards and timbers. When larvae hatch they immediately burrow through the timber, making it very unlikely they would be seen. They’ll be hungry and your woodwork will be their only food source. Safely inside the wood they continue to tunnel and feed for several years.
As the larvae mature and increase in size, they bore towards the wood surface to pupate and emerge as adult beetles.
Fact: Different insects prefer different woods, which will help you to identify what sort is causing your problems. Some prefer softwoods like pine, spruce and cedar while others like hardwoods such as oak, ash, sweet chestnut and mahogany. Whatever the species, all of them will leave some signs, if you have an active woodworm infestation.
While an infestation of woodworm or woodlice in your firewood may seem unlikely, prevention is the key. Some wood-boring pests that will come in with your firewood have the potential to do some serious structural damage if left untreated. The last thing you want at Christmas is a nasty pest problem so why not follow these handy tips to avoid inviting insects into your home.
- Pile firewood away from the house – don’t entice insects and wood-boring pests towards or into your home. Store firewood a few metres away from your structure.
- Cover and stack firewood off the ground – the moist and damp conditions attract wood-boring pests but keeping your stash dry and slightly raised off the ground should help deter prevent too much moisture building up.
- Eliminate surface pests by checking the timber for live insects or holes in the wood that could be caused by tunnelling larvae and shake and knock the wood to tap off as many insects as possible.
- Burn firewood immediately after bringing it inside to avoid coaxing any insects out of the wood and into your home.
Look out for signs of woodworm including fresh exit holes in timber and tunnels in the wood
If you think you have brought in some unwelcome pests with your firewood this Christmas, give Rentokil a call and we will provide you with expert advice on how best to deal with your infestation.