Gutters protect a home’s exterior from the elements and the ripple effect of water damage such as mold growth, deteriorated roofing shingles, and cracks in the foundation. But a gutter system can also be an inviting place for pests to make their home. Gutter troughs protected by roof overhangs offer safe places for squirrels, bees, wasps, birds, and rodents to build nests. Pests taking up residence in the gutters can cause a variety of problems for homeowners – health issues, added wear and tear to the roof, potential access to inside the house. Here are some proactive ways to prevent pest infestations in your gutters and downspouts.
Make a gutter cleaning schedule.
Whether you DIY or hire a professional gutter cleaning service like MHC Gutters, cleaning the gutters regularly will help reduce or eliminate the common gutter problems associated with a clogged gutter system. It also removes the types of organic materials that attract pests who want to set up home in the eaves of your roof.
Make a gutter cleaning schedule (and try to stick to it). Gutter professionals suggest cleaning the gutters once in the spring and again in the fall. But if you live in a wooded community or near a busy street, you might have to clean the gutters three or even four times a year.
Remove standing water from your property.
Standing water in the gutters is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and other flies. When there is standing water in the trough after cleaning the gutters it might be an indication that there is not enough pitch or slope to direct the water toward the downspouts. Readjusting the gutter pitch will fix the problem.
Look for pooled water beneath the downpipes. Water exiting from the gutter system shouldn’t hang around where it can wash away soil, seep into the basement, or attract insects. Downspouts should be long enough and positioned so that water drains at least five feet away from the house.
Backfill any depressions or dips in the lawn where water can collect.
Use a running water bird bath instead of a traditional one that holds standing water. If you have a standard bird bath, empty it out at least once a week and give it a good scrub.
Empty out and put away toys, garden tools, and pet dishes where water has collected. Standing water on the ground attracts pests, increasing the likelihood they will eventually find a more sheltered place for a nest like in the gutters.
Trim trees growing near the house.
Trees growing near the house provide convenient access to the roof and gutters for pests such as squirrels and other rodents. Keep branches trimmed back away from the roof. Pruning limbs away from roofing shingles will reduce the damage branches can inflict on shingles during wind storms or even a windy day. Damaged shingles can provide openings where pests can come in and take shelter.
Install a gutter protection system.
If the gutters attract little critters searching for a good place to call home no matter how often you clean the gutters, installing some type of gutter protection system could help eliminate pests. There are several different kinds including screen and reverse-curve, but they are all designed to let water in while keeping out debris. Each one has its pros and cons. Choose a gutter protection system that suits your home. Before investing in one take into account the size of the roof, the configuration of the gutters, and the types of trees growing on the property.
Hang bird houses from trees or overhangs.
You can still welcome birds to your backyard while discouraging them from building nests in your gutters. Hang bird houses from trees or overhangs to invite them to make their nests here instead of inside of the gutter system. Include a bird feeder or two – these will provide an easy source of food for your feathered friends.