Cleaning the gutters is a task many people put off for as long as possible. However, doing so can lead to damage to the home or other buildings. In addition, clogged gutters attract pests. What types of pests might a person find in their gutters?
When spring arrives, stinging insects come out in full force. These insects love moist environments where they remain safe from predators, and clogged gutters provide this environment. The insects build nests, and these nests add weight to the gutters. This can lead to early failure of the gutter system, and the nests are often difficult and dangerous to the property owner when they try to remove them. Being proactive remains the best way to avoid infestation and damage to the home or building.
However, property owners shouldn’t assume the stinging insects came after the gutter became clogged. The insects may also build a nest and lead to a blocked gutter. They want their nest in an area not easily accessible to predators, and the gutter provides this environment. Homeowners need to pay attention to any stinging insects on the property and learn where their nest is located. If the stinging insects begin building a nest in the gutters, call for a gutter cleaning immediately before the gutter becomes completely blocked.
Mosquitoes in Clogged Gutters
Mosquitoes rarely appear in the yard or around the home during the fall and winter months. However, when spring arrives, they show up in force just as stinging insects do. Clogged gutters give them the perfect breeding ground. They love the stagnant, murky water that sits in the gutters. A person may find them to be a minor annoyance, but mosquitoes carry diseases harmful to humans and pets.
West Nile Virus is one disease carried by mosquitoes. This remains the most prevalent disease spread by mosquitoes in America today. Many people never develop symptoms after being infected, but 20 percent of people develop a fever and other symptoms. In addition, one out of every 150 people infected become seriously ill, and some die from the West Nile Virus. Mosquitoes also transmit heartworm to dogs.
Termites and Other Wood-Destroying Insects
When water pools near the foundation of the home because of clogged gutters, the foundation remains damp. Termites love damp foundations and may make their way into the home. They then feast on the wood and other materials in the home. A person might not know they have an issue until the termites cause thousands of dollars of damage. Prevention remains the best way to prevent this type of damage to the home and saves the property owner money.
Carpenter ants also love clogged gutters. They enjoy the wet, rotting environment they find when rain can’t flow through the gutters and out the downspout. The decaying leaves and mold provide the perfect home for them. Any rotting or decaying fascia board serves as another excellent source of wood for these insects. Look for large ants which are either red or black. They often appear during the winter months, when they make a nest inside the home to avoid the elements. While they don’t do damage as rapidly as termites, they can still lead to the need for costly repairs.
Mice and Other Rodents
Rodents enjoy making their homes in gutters. The rodents remain safe from many predators, and the clogged gutters provide the debris rodents love to use to make a nest. The rodents climb the downspout and may make their way into the attic where they take up residence. They move to the gutters during the fall and stay there all winter. People must take care, as rodents carry diseases just as mosquitoes do. For example, a person might contract salmonellosis from rodents that make their way into the home. This disease leads to stomach upset, and a person contracts it after coming into contact with rodent urine or feces in their food or on food preparation surfaces.
Mice and other rodents multiply rapidly. They can actually survive up to two years in the right environment. These creatures fit through any opening if their nose fits into the hole, and they use trees and shrubs to make their way into the gutter system. Prune trees and shrubs to prevent this from happening.
Cockroaches in the Home
Nobody wants cockroaches in their home. When they find these pests, they may not look to the gutters of the home as the source. Clogged gutters allow moisture to build in the attic or around the foundation, and cockroaches love this moisture. Until the gutters are clear, the problem may return even after a pest control specialist visits the home to eradicate them.
Many species of cockroaches prefer to live outdoors. If they have plant material to eat, they are satisfied. Once they no longer have debris to feast on in the gutters, they may move into the home. Clear the gutters and call a pest specialist to ensure they are gone for good.
Opossums and Blocked Gutters
When a person is lying in bed at night and hears scratching noises from the roof, they might assume they have mice. However, they may actually be dealing with an opossum. A pregnant opossum has her babies in only 13 days, so the problem could quickly escalate if the gutters aren’t cleaned. These creatures are known to hiss and bite, so an animal control specialist will need to remove the animal.
In addition, some states prohibit property owners from removing opossums. Never attempt to take this task on yourself. It’s best to call in the professionals to address both the opossum and the clogged gutters. The pest removal specialist will remove the animal, and the gutter cleaning crew will clear the gutters and inspect them to ensure there isn’t additional damage the owner needs to address.
If your gutters haven’t been cleaned recently, call for an appointment with a gutter cleaning provider today. Never put this task off. Doing so can lead to structural damage and encourage pests to make the gutter system their home. By being proactive, a person can save money and keep their loved ones and property safe.