Buggin' Out with Wil-Kil Pest Control

Shane McCoy is the Director of Quality and Technical Training for Wil-Kil Pest Control, a regional pest management company providing quality pest management for residential and commercial properties throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. As an Associate Certified Entomologist with over 18 years of experience in pest management, Shane’s blog provides expert tips and tricks, timely information and solutions for coexisting with the insect life and critters around us. To learn more about Wil-Kil Pest Control, please visit www.wil-kil.com. You can also follow the company on Facebook and Twitter (@WilKilPest).

8 Ways to Keep your Fireplace Pest Free

Cockroaches, Pests, Mice, Winter Pest Proofing

A wood-burning fireplace may sound like the perfect idea to ride out the chill of winter, but it also presents an opportunity for pests to find a way into your home. After all, most of them are looking to escape the cold too!

For instance, raccoons, squirrels, birds and other large pests can use the chimney as a warm nesting spot. Beetles and ants can crawl through the cracks of older fireplaces, especially if they’re built with brick. If you bring in firewood from the outdoors, termites, roaches and other insects can tag along for a ride into your home. Before you grab the blankets and hot cocoa to curl up by the fire, take a few minutes to read our tips for keeping your fireplace pest free all winter long.

8 Ways to Keep your Fireplace Pest Free:

      Seasonal tips: If possible, only use locally cut firewood wood that is harvested in the late fall or winter months; ants and roaches are less active during those months, so it’s less likely for them to burrow into your firewood. If you do use wood that was cut during the summer months, make sure to pile it in a sunny spot that is covered. This will help kill off any insects that are infesting the wood.

2.    Store wood away from the home: Always store your firewood outdoors, instead of the garage, basement or porch. Storing wood inside or up against the home invites wood-boring pests to take up residence in the structure. It also provides safe harborage for rodents or other wildlife. Instead, make sure your wood is stored at least 15-20 feet away from the home and not piled up against trees, shrubbery or other plants.

3.    Store wood off the ground: Keep your firewood dry by elevating it off the ground using concrete blocks, bricks or firewood grates. Maintaining airflow beneath the pile helps reduce moisture problems which attract insects. Another bonus? Dry wood also burns more evenly and cleanly.

4.    Burn your oldest wood first: Grab the oldest wood first, restacking the pile periodically to make it easier to access the older logs. Using the older wood will help keep pests at a minimum because you are not giving infestations an opportunity to build up.

5.    Check for insects: Carefully inspect your firewood before bringing it inside. Inspect each log: look them over, shake them, knock them together – do whatever you need to do to get rid of any pests, seen or unseen. As a note of precaution, do not spray wood with insecticide. Burning wood treated with insecticide could release harmful vapors inside your home.

6.    Burn wood right away: Only bring in the firewood you intend to burn. If any pests did hitch a ride indoors, burning firewood immediately ensures they will not have the opportunity to crawl out from the pile and into your home. Logs or other kindling should never sit on or beside the fireplace overnight.

7.    Shut the flue: After use, make sure to keep your chimney flue closed so rodents, birds and other pests can’t gain entry. While these pests may seem harmless, they can actually introduce ticks, mice, fleas and other undesirable infestations into your home. If you would like extra protection, invest in a chimney cap to seal off the top of your chimney to reduce the types of pests that could potentially invade. As a bonus, keeping your chimney well sealed will not only help keep out pests, but cold air as well!

8.    Seal the fireplace: Keep your fireplace effectively sealed off from the rest of the home. If your fireplace doesn’t have a door or is simply enclosed by a grate or mesh covering, you may want to consider getting a proper door installed. Aside from keeping pests out of your home, it will also serve as a protective measure to keep pets or children from getting too close to the flames.

Above all, it’s best to have a pest management specialist inspect your fireplace and the rest of your home on a regular basis. When an area of your home goes unused for most of the year, such as a fireplace, it makes an ideal hiding spaces for over-wintering pests. Paired with the proactive measures I mentioned above, seasonal pest inspections offered through home protection plans will keep your home safe and give you peace of mind year round.

What tips and tricks do you use to keep your fireplace pest free? Do you do anything else to keep birds or other live animals out of your chimney? I’d love to hear from you!

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