Pest control pros on how to get rid of bugs in firewood – for good

Stop these pests before they move on from your firewood to your home furnishings

firewood storage in yard
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When dealing with insects, it can be challenging to identify which bug is invading your home, and there are certain pest-control mistakes you should avoid that could make your infestation worse.

Unfortunately, there are a number of insects that like to inhabit wood and may be the cause of your firewood infestation. It is important to know how to get rid of these pests, most commonly termites, and carpenter ants.

Even though these bugs may be small, they can cause damaging effects on your home. Below, we look at five ways to get rid of bugs from your firewood before it's too late.

How to remove bugs from firewood

Our experts have shared their best methods to remove these critters.

firewood storage in yard

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Shake and inspect

As a general rule to live by, before you bring your firewood inside, you should give it a good shake and inspect the pieces. In doing so, you will dislodge any loose bugs from the logs and allow you to remove them manually.

If you consistently notice bugs falling or being exposed during your shaking and inspecting then you know that you have an infestation that should be treated straight away, before these bugs damage any of your actual wooden furnishing or fixtures.

2. Stacking and sun exposure

Fall porch ideas

(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

Another method to help you remove bugs from firewood is to create a dedicated firewood storage area outdoors. 

Zackary DeAngelis, CEO of Pest Pointers, recommends stacking the firewood off the ground and in a location with direct sunlight. ‘The heat from the sun will deter bugs and help to dry out the wood, making it less appealing to them.

Zackary DeAngelis

Zack ended up founding Pest Pointers in the summer of 2019 due to his love of the outdoors and vast experience dealing with wildlife having grown up on 50+ acres of land, where living in a place surrounded by woods, swamps, and animals gave him a ton of experience in dealing with the outdoors.

3. Heat treatment

Aside from sunlight, there are other effective methods of using heat to deter the bugs. You can place the firewood in a specially designed heat chamber or simply bake it in an oven at a low temperature (around 150°F or 65°C) for a few hours. This will kill any bugs without damaging the wood and can still be used for fire at a later time.

4. Freezing

An alternative to using heat to get rid of bugs from your firewood is to freeze the logs and kindling instead.

‘If you have a small infestation, you can freeze the firewood to kill any bugs, says pest control expert Michel Johnson. ‘Place the affected pieces in a freezer for a few days, and this will eliminate the pests.’

As a substitute for your home freezer, you can buy a portable freezing unit, like this ENGEL portable top opening fridge-freezer from Amazon to use for freezing your firewood without bringing bugs into the same proximity as your frozen food.

Michel Johnson
Michel Johnson

Michel Johnson is a highly skilled and knowledgeable pest control expert specializing in bed bug eradication, with a strong passion for educating the public about effective pest management strategies through his blog, Ciao Bed Bugs.

5. Insecticides

‘While not the first choice, you can also use insecticides designed for wood-boring insects,’ says Ryan Farley, CEO of LawnStarter. ‘These can be used as a last resort if other measures are unsuccessful.’

There are some natural insecticides for wood-boring insects on the market, including the Nisus Bora Care insecticide from Amazon. For any insecticide you use, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and use these products outdoors to avoid exposing yourself to chemicals.

Ryan Farley
Ryan Farley

Ryan Farley is the CEO of LawnStarter, a lawn care service founded in 2013 and based in Austin, Texas.

Preventative measures

Logs stacked under a bench

(Image credit: Getty Images/glebchik)

1. Appropriate storage

Once you have managed to get rid of your firewood bug infestation, the next challenge is to put preventative measures in place to stop them returning.

One method is to move your firewood into appropriate storage. There are many log store ideas you can try but the most important thing is that your firewood is stored off the ground and kept relatively dry from the rain.

Elevate it on a rack or pallets to minimize contact with soil and prevent easy access for bugs. We like this woodacre outdoor wood log store from Wayfair.

2. Location

According to Bryan Clayton, CEO of Green Pal, you should aim to keep your firewood storage area at least 20 feet away from your home.

The reason for doing so is to create enough space that makes it less likely for bugs to migrate from the firewood to your house. If you are struggling to measure out 20 feet, you can try this open reel tape measure from Amazon to ensure you’ve kept the right amount of distance.

Bryon Clayton
Bryan Clayton

Bryan Clayton is the CEO of GreenPal and has more than two decades of experience in the landscaping and outdoor maintenance industry.

3. Sealing entry points

cozy living room with woodburning stove, grey sofa and Ercol coffee table on black rug.

(Image credit: Max Attenborough)

If you prefer to store your firewood inside your home, it is important that you seal any possible entry points to your property. Sealing any cracks, gaps, or crevices in the exterior of your home to prevent bugs from entering. This includes sealing around windows and doors.

Sealing entry points not only prevents bugs from inhabiting your firewood but also acts as a preventative measure for other bugs such as bed bugs and water bugs from entering your home.

If you are thinking about storing your firewood in the main house, then consider this cast iron log rack from Target.


What bugs leave piles of sawdust?

The most common insects that leave piles of sawdust are carpenter ants. Carpenter ants usually nest in damp, old, decaying wood and are often found outdoors. Common signs of carpenter ants include small piles of sawdust on the floor as well as small bore holes in your firewood and wooden furnishings.

You can also use essential oils to help deter bugs away from your firewood. Sprinkling lavender and peppermint essential oil around the legs of what’s elevating your firewood pile. These oils are natural bug deterrents, so they discourage bugs from climbing up to the firewood even more.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.