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Thread: How far away to keep firewood from home to prevent termite infestation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Rockville, MD
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    1,220

    How far away to keep firewood from home to prevent termite infestation

    We had renters once while we were on active duty abroad. They piled up cut wood on our deck. The Termite exterminator said that was the reason we had the termite infestation.
    Cost us enough to repair, and in our family too many members seemed allergic to the fumes/smoke, so we switched to gas. A good friend across the street bought almost two cord of cut wood. Before he started to stack it, I asked him if he had experience in stacking cut wood. He didn't. I told him to keep it away from the house to prevent termite infestation. He said "how far away". I didn't know. Is there anyone out there with experience in how far away is necessary? Too far is a PITA to retrieve in the cold, too close invites problems from critters. I thought woodworkers might have a good idea of a good guide line.
    Real American Heros don't wear Capes, they wear Dogtags.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    50,690
    I sadly have some experience with termites. The act of stacking the wood isn't the only issue....if there are termites present and there's a path to the home (including a deck), they are going to try really hard to enjoy the "meal". They don't seek out stacked firewood, per se, but can be quite happy if they happen to find some and it's dark and wet enough to make it worth their while. They ultimately prefer to dine in the dark, moist areas of their environment. So I'd call the firewood a contributing factor but not necessarily the reason. Moisture may be a larger factor since subterranean termites require it. Keeping wood materials at least six inches above the soil line goes a long way to helping to avoid problems with the little buggers...it's not a guarantee since they can and do build mud tunnels to get between point A and point B to avoid light...but distance can help discourage them. So in answer to your specific question, if your neighbor can stack the firewood a reasonable distance away from his home and do it up off the ground on top of non-wood support as well as insure there is good air flow through the stack to dry it out (do not wrap it in a tarp!), termites should not present a big risk. (Powder post and other critters are probably more of a risk than termites) And the way to handle the distance is to keep the major pile away but have a metal stand close to the home/door that allows for a reasonable amount of "to be used now" firewood to be accessible without traversing a long way in driving rain, etc.
    --

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
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    You need to keep wood stacked far enough away that you can look to see the mud tunnels running up your foundation to the wood. Aside from that it doesn't much matter-- termites are pretty much ubiquitous and will find wood in contact with the ground wherever it is. Prevention is all about avoiding wood in contact with the ground and preventing access via tunnels. Visual inspection on a regular basis is the only reliable way to accomplish the latter. Baiting stations can be useful to eliminate a colony that has decided to try to use your building as a lunch station, but it's an expensive long-term prevention strategy.

    Stacking firewood on a deck should present no particular issue with termites as long as there is no path to the ground. PPB, as Jim points out are another issue-- they can fly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
    Posts
    6,519
    I have 10 cords stacked about 30' feet from the house. I've stacked it there since 1993, and haven't seen termites in the house.
    I use 5 cords each winter, so I am always one "green" cord ahead.
    Don't stack it next to the house, or on a porch/deck.
    NEVER bring in more than you will burn in a day or so!! You will be invaded by mosquitos and flies in the dead of winter. DAMHIKT.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  5. #5
    Termites need to return to humid ground almost every 24 hours or so I have been told. Termites don't need a stack of firewood, a few sticks, some kinds of mulch in flower beds, etc. yes look for the little mud tunnels they build. Better yet sprinkle the granulated ant poison in a swath about 5 ft wide around the foundation. When i used firewood, I left it stacked on a concrete pad almost 100 ft from the house. I brought only enough to burn for a day or two down to the house. There was a reason why the old timers had wood sheds away from the house and that held the wood up off the ground. I even had an old kiddie wagon for the purpose of bringing down the wood. That deck must have been low to the ground to attract termites. And stacking weight on a deck doesn't seem real smart either.

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