Is Your Fireplace a Potential Pest Hiding Spot?

During the winter months, fireplaces start getting used far more often as friends and family seek ways to warm themselves and create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere far away from the snow outside. Yet even when they’re being used, fireplaces and chimneys can harbor numerous pests that can drag down the holiday spirit and make even the best home uncomfortable. iStock_000014772587_Medium

For instance, raccoons, squirrels, birds, and other larger pests can use the chimney itself as nesting spots. Beetles and ants can crawl through the cracks of older fireplaces, especially if they’re built with brick. And if you bring in firewood from outdoors, termites and other insects can ride along. Fortunately, there are several ways you can keep your fireplace pest-free.

Keep Your Fireplace from being a Pest Hiding Spot

1. Check the Firewood

If your fireplace is a traditional one, rather than using gas and fake logs, be sure to inspect the wood you’re using to burn. Wood left outside to dry easily becomes infested with a wide variety of insects that then ride along when you bring the logs inside. They then flee the flames and infest your home instead. Inspect the wood for any clingers or holes that indicate burrowed insects. Knock the wood on the ground to dislodge any unwanted guests and only bring wood inside for immediate burning.

2. Shut the Flue

Rodents and birds in your chimney may seem like a harmless problem, but they can definitely introduce ticks, mites, fleas, and other undesirable infestations to your home. When the fireplace is not in use, be sure to keep the flue closed so nothing can get in. Open it only when you need ventilation for a fire. This not only protects your home from pests, but also will reduce the amount of cold air that gets into the house. You may also want to invest in a chimney cap that seals the top of the chimney and reduces the types of pests that could potentially invade.

3. Seal the Fireplace

If your fireplace doesn’t have a door or is enclosed simply by a grate or mesh covering, that leaves lots of gaps around for pests to slip through. Get a proper door installed that effectively seals the fireplace off from the rest of your home. This not only will keep pests from getting in when you aren’t looking, but also serves as a protective measure to deter pets or children from getting too close to the flames.

Of course, above all that, it’s best to get a professional pest control inspector out to inspect the fireplace and the rest of your home on a regular basis. When a spot in your home goes unused for much of the year (like fireplaces often do), that makes it prime territory as a potential pest hiding place. Seasonal pest inspection can help stop that sort of trouble before it becomes a major issue that could threaten your health and your family’s quality of life.

Contact OmniShield today to speak to a pest control expert and keep your fire crackling and your home warm (and pest-free).