This is the time of year when we store wood for that outside fire pit or for the occasional use in our indoor fireplaces. Firewood is of particular interest since wood destroying insects such as termites are common to firewood.  They exist outside and are a natural process in breaking down fallen trees or other wood debris in the forest. This is great for cleaning up the forest but not so great if they move from the firewood you just purchased and into a wood framed building you own.  If wood-destroying insects infest a building they can do thousands of dollars in structural and cosmetic damage before they are even detected.  Unless you know what they look like or hire a pest control contractor they may do damage for a long time.

Once detected, determining the extent of structural damage may require wall, floor, and ceiling coverings to be removed because the extent of damage is not always evident.  Damage can be severe without being apparent and can seriously weaken structural members in your home or other wood framed buildings, possibly resulting in structural failure if the insects have enough time.  Pest control contractors can identify the pest and develop a treatment based upon the type of pest; however, they typically are not qualified to assess the extent of damage.  For that you should contact a licensed engineer who can work in cooperation with a contractor to determine the extent of damage and need for repair and provide recommendations or specifications for repair.

The wood in the video is wood I was splitting to be used to heat my dad’s home.  We were stacking it well away from the house on a rack. The tree had only been on the ground about a week as the result of storm damage to the tree, indicating the insects quickly found the felled tree or were in it prior to its demise.  The use of wood for heating is common in the wintertime in my dad’s area and is readily found around many homes.  If you purchase firewood, when possible store it off the ground on a rack and away from any buildings, only bring into the home as much as you need for immediate use, and have your home evaluated by a pest control contractor yearly to check for damaging insects.