Hundreds of insect species potentially
can inhabit the wood of our native and ornamental trees. However,
the great majority of cases involve a few basic groups: roundheaded
and flatheaded wood borers, bark beetles, carpenter ants, and
powderpost and anobiid beetles.
Wood borers are the most frequently
observed insects infesting firewood and house logs. Most common
are roundheaded borers, also known as longhorned borers or sawyers.
Adults are medium to large beetles (1/4 to 2 inches), often with
long antennae that may exceed the body length.
There is a widespread but unfounded
concern about transporting termites in firewood or other wood
products. Termites nest underground. Under natural conditions,
they rarely infest firewood and timber products. Occasional termites
found in this wood are not the reproductive stages. Furthermore,
the low humidity in houses causes any incidental termites in firewood
to quickly dry out and die.
Firewood insects do not normally
pose any hazards to people, household furnishings or plants. This
is particularly true for the wood borers, the most conspicuous
group of firewood insects.
It is hard to witness the activity
of borers without feeling a need to take action, but in reality
borers speed up the drying process and promote better burning.