Whenever you bring a pile of firewood from outside into your home, chances are that termites are already present within the stack. This is typically known to happen after you have left the pile in the yard for a while, and in this period, it gets infested with termites which are then brought indoors when you need to make use of the firewood.
Subterranean termites are known to build mud tunnels on their food source, i.e. wood, and these tunnels can be visible on the surface of the logs. Termite workers will be feeding on the firewood, and thus, the piles stacked outside your house are most at risk of being infested by termites.
When you store firewood in an open and exposed manner, it will likely attract termites. Even though these insects do not live in the firewood, they will use it as their food source. They will gradually eat into the firewood until it crumbles into dust. Typically, this is the case when you have left your pile of wood outside for a long time, and the termites have eaten it to the level that it has been reduced to nothing.
In California, subterranean termites are very common. They live in the ground where they serve their queen and only come out to feed. They are found to infest stumps, fallen trees, firewood, and any other dead wood that’s been left in direct contact with the soil, either in the natural environment like the forest, or in houses.
Being sensitive to the light, termites create tunnels out of the mud, soil, and dirt and they will use to travel to their food source and avoid being harmed by the light in the process. The mud tunnels protect them from the harsh light conditions outside, enabling them to eat through the substrate they have colonized.
The termites in the firewood will eventually be burned when you put the wood piles in your fireplace. These creatures cannot survive the fire, and besides, the firewood would also be no longer edible to them after it has been burned. This is because the cellulose that termites love to eat gets destroyed when the firewood has been burned. As such, the only compound that remains after the fire is the lignin, usually found on the outer surface of the wood. This is due to the fact that the lignin is much tougher, and these insects will find it more difficult to digest.
Termites will not be likely to survive any fire you put on and are known to get killed by the flames pretty quickly once you start using your firewood. However, leaving your firewood outside for a very long time means that the termites will have already eaten a considerable portion of it. By the time you actually think of using the logs, you will probably not have much wood to burn in your fireplace anyway.
This is due to the harmful nature of the termites and the fact that they have huge colonies which can quickly eat through entire chunks of wood and leave you with nothing to heat your house with.
Termites usually leave holes behind when they have infested the firewood. They typically form deep burrows in the logs before eating the wood fibers, which are cellulosic elements.
They will consume one log before moving on to the next, and so on, until they have overrun your entire stack of firewood waiting outside. Termites do not live in the logs, but only eat the fibers the wooden logs are composed of.
For severe infestations, you will notice the termites crawling out of the wood as they look for other juicier places to munch into. These holes are easy to spot, and they usually occur in the form of clusters as compared to just one or two of them.
The best solution for disrupting the termites is to separate the workers from their queen. When you notice signs of termite infestation in your firewood, you must move the piles to another location. By moving the piles as far away from their current location as possible, you will be able to ensure that your firewood does not get infested any further.
Also, try to prevent the same incidents from happening in the future by storing your firewood in better places. It would help to keep the firewood off the ground and away from all house walls. The firewood should also be kept dry to discourage any termites from attacking it.
For minor infestations, using a pesticide should be enough. However, if there is a more severe infestation, calling on a professional to treat the area is the recommended option.
If you are a resident of Los Angeles and the surrounding Orange County areas in California, get in touch with our expert team at Chem Free Exterminating who will give you advice on what option is best for your situation.
Chem Free Exterminating also offers localized termite treatments, which can be particularly useful in targeting only small and localized areas of termite infestations. So if you need help ridding your property of subterranean termites, contact us today and request your free quote and inspection.