As a homeowner, you know that leaves, twigs, and other debris can gum up your gutters. But did you know that common household pests can also cause obstructions, trough warping, and gutter overflow?
In fact, pests can be one of the worst hazards to affect your gutters because certain species also carry diseases, damage home exteriors, and create high levels of unwanted noise.
In this blog, we list some of the most common gutter-loving pests and provide guidelines for keeping your gutters pest-free.
Pests That Infest Gutters
Your gutter system looks appealing to a number of unwanted insects and animals, especially during the dry season. Common pests include:
- Birds, especially pigeons
- Rodents, such as roof rats
- Small snake species
Dirty gutters can also encourage unwanted organism growth, including mold and algae.
How Pests Affect Your Gutters
The most obvious gutter problem that results from pest infestations is an obstruction. Birds’ nests in particular can completely clog a gutter trough or downspout, causing the system to overflow.
Additionally, pests in your gutters can cause the following problems:
- Corrosion-Bird droppings and some other infestation by-products are highly acidic. Over time, these substances can eat through your gutters, causing leaks.
- Health hazards-Many common pests pose a health risk to you and your family. Rodents frequently contaminate food sources, pigeons carry disease in their droppings, and stinging insects can cause anaphylaxis.
- Interior infestations-While your gutter system sits on the exterior of your home, once an infestation takes hold there, pests have better access to your top floor or your attic space. These pests may enter your home through vents, your chimney, or upper windows.
- Roof damage-Birds and rodents may attempt to use roofing materials in their nests or to place their nests in vulnerable spots on your roof. Insects may crawl under your roofing materials, eating away at the substrate and increasing the risk of serious leaks.
- Siding damage-If a nest causes gutter overflow, your siding may suffer water damage. Your siding may also become damaged by droppings that come in contact with it.
- Warping-While individual pests may be small, even insect nests can become heavy. The weight of an infestation may bend your gutters or pull them away from your home.
In many cases, pest infestations can also come with a large price tag. You may need a pest control professional to remove the infestation itself, as well as help from a gutters and roofing contractor to repair the damage.
Protecting Your Gutter System
Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of gutter infestations.
Improve Pest Control in Your Yard
To reduce the risk of gutter infestations, start with pest control in your yard. Eliminate any natural shelters that sit near your home, such as brush piles. Work with a pest control expert to determine the best chemical, visual, or audible deterrents to keep local pests away from your home.
Install a Gutter Cover
If pests can’t access your gutters, they can’t nest in the system. Gutter covers, like the Gutter Magician of North Kentucky’s rain covers, greatly reduce the risk of infestation. Look for high-quality gutter covers with small enough openings to discourage most pests but with smart design that doesn’t block natural water flow.
Trim Back Your Trees
Most of the pests that infest gutters find their way up to the top of your house via your trees, especially rodents and snakes. Trim back the trees closest to your home so that the tree branches do not touch the roof or hang directly over it.
Use these tips to ensure that your gutters stay healthy and unobstructed.