Are There Pests Hiding in My Fireplace and Chimney?

For much of the year, your home fireplace may be overlooked as a potential pest hiding spot. But as temperatures drop and weather changes, many turn to their fireplace for warmth and ambiance. Before you load up that firewood, remember this: fireplaces and chimneys can harbor many different kinds of pests year-round! Could this unlikely source be the cause of your home pest problems?



What Pests Hide in Fireplaces and Chimneys?

Both fireplaces and chimneys can be home to a host of pests. Some likely culprits include:

  • Rodents
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Birds
  • Bats
  • Raccoons
  • Insects


chimney-2022-11-29-00-28-15-utcCavity-nesting birds and other wildlife can get trapped in open chimneys.

Rodents and wildlife are some of the most common intruders to your fireplace or chimney. During the chillier months, animals will be on the hunt to stay warm and sheltered from the elements. Your fireplace and chimney are appealing to these critters for a couple of reasons: 1) chimneys and fireplaces are built to retain heat and remain warm long after the firewood stops burning, and 2) they offer shelter from the winter’s harsh wind, snow, and chill. Unfortunately, while rodents and wildlife find entry to your chimney fairly easy, finding their way out can be more difficult. 

Still, several insects are known to take up residence in your home’s fireplace or chimney. Insects such as ants, beetles, and earwigs can enter through small cracks in your fireplace or chimney. This is especially common in homes with older fireplaces that are built with aging brick and mortar. But the real threat to your fireplace’s pest-free status is actually the very thing you burn in it: firewood. 

Firewood is notorious for acting as a mode of transportation for household pests. Insects such as wood boring beetles, carpenter ants, some cockroaches, spiders, and earwigs will often hunker down in outdoor firewood stacks. This wood is then brought into your home to be burned, unknowingly introducing hidden creepy crawlies to your household. Once inside, the insects now have free access to the rest of your home. Infestations can then occur in other areas of your home, leaving it nearly impossible to identify how the insects entered your home in the first place. 

closeup-of-man-carrying-firewood-in-the-snow-2022-11-07-03-49-39-utcInsects living in your firewood can be carried into your home unknowingly.

How do I Prevent Pests in my Fireplace and Chimney?

The best way to keep rodents, wildlife, and insects out of your chimney is to prevent them from getting there in the first place. Here are some of our top tips for preventing pests in your chimney and fireplace:

  • Trim back tree limbs and foliage to limit access points to your chimney.
  • Avoid planting shrubs and other greenery too close to your home's foundation.
  • Store firewood far away from home and off the ground.
  • Burn your oldest firewood first and use all firewood moved indoors in a timely manner.
  • Inspect the wood for signs of insects, such as holes indicative of burrowed bugs.
  • Give firewood a good knock on the ground to dislodge any unwanted guests.
  • Shut the fireplace’s flue when not in use.
  • Cap your chimney.
  • Seal entry points around your fireplace and chimney.
  • Most important of all, get regular inspections from a pest professional to ensure your home is protected from pest entry. 

mountain-cottage-chimney-in-winter-2021-08-26-23-02-46-utcChimneys without caps are susceptible to pests.

Are Pests in my Fireplace or Chimney a Big Deal?

The answer is… they can be!

Depending on what pests you're contending with, how many of them there are, and how often you encounter this problem, pests in your home’s fireplace or chimney can be a big deal. Here’s why:

  • Rodents and wildlife can get stuck and pass in your chimney or fireplace, leaving a repulsive smell behind as the decomposition process begins.
  • Rodents, in particular are notorious for carrying and spreading a slew of diseases including hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), Tularemia and Salmonella. 
  • Pests that venture past the fireplace and into the home can cause additional damage to your home’s insulation, contaminate your food, destroy internal wiring, and even ruin personal belongings such as clothing, important documents, and photos. 
  • The heat of your fireplace can force out hidden insects and other pests, causing infestations in other areas of the home. 
  • Rodents and wildlife may build nests in your fireplace or chimney, causing a serious fire hazard. 
  • Bats, who commonly roost in New England chimneys, are known to carry and spread rabies.
  • Raccoons stuck in chimneys can be very aggressive and bite if removal is attempted. Raccoons carry both rabies and roundworm. 
  • Wildlife in your fireplace or chimney may bring fleas, ticks, and lice along with them. 

harvesting-mouse-on-stick-of-reed-2021-08-26-16-38-15-utcMice carry a variety of diseases and can enter your home through a chimney/fireplace.

What Should I Do If I Have Pests in My Fireplace or Chimney? 

If you are experiencing an issue with pests in your fireplace or chimney, or suspect pests are entering through this route, we recommend you contact a trusted pest professional immediately. We do not recommend attempting to treat, remove, or make repairs to your chimney or fireplace yourself due to the inherent risk it poses to you and your family. Even if the pest itself is not dangerous, DIY treatments and chemicals used are often highly flammable and risky to use where fire is often present. Additionally, attempting to seal or make repairs to your fireplace or chimney without the expertise of a knowledgeable professional is highly unsafe. When dealing with pests in your fireplace or chimney, don’t DIY; call a trusted pest professional right away. 

Whether you’d like to schedule routine inspections or treat an existing pest problem in your chimney or fireplace, call EcoShield today for a free no obligation quote. Our expert pest technicians are ready to assist you in any stage of pest problem you experience. Give us a call or fill out the form on this page to be connected with the EcoShield pros.

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