5 Pests That May Be Living in Your Gutters—And What You Can Do About It

Day after day, largely unnoticed, gutters perform a critically important role by channeling storm water and snowmelt a safe distance away from your home. At least, that's how it's all supposed to work. But for gutters to do their job, you must do yours. That is, twice a year (more often on a densely wooded lot), you have to inspect and clear gutters of any leaves, twigs, and other debris. If you fail to do so, it's only a matter of time before the drainage system clogs and leaves your home vulnerable to a host of insidious problems—and not always ones you'd expect. For instance, if it's been many months since you last gave any thought to your gutters, there's a chance that they've become a harborage for all sorts of pests. After all, the shady, wet conditions in clogged gutters make for precisely the sort of environment that many critters like best. Some of those pests that find your gutters particularly hospitable are potentially damaging, while others merely pose a threat to peace of mind. But no matter what type of creature may be lurking in your gutters, you can depend on a simple, one-step upgrade to ensure that going forward your gutters remain free not only of pests, but also of the clogs that compromise gutter performance and make them a beacon for critters in the first place. Intrigued? Click through now to find out which unwanted guests may be residing a little too close for comfort, and what you can do to make sure they go away and stay away.

This content has been brought to you by Leafguard Brand Gutters. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

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  1. Mosquitoes

    Mosquitos

    Is your backyard abuzz with bugs? If so, consider this: It may be your fault! Remember, insects like mosquitoes hatch in standing water. That's why so many homeowners are careful to cover their trash cans and stow empty planters—anything to prevent stagnant pools. Too many, however, forget to attend to the gutters. If you allow debris to accumulate here, the resulting buildup can block the free flow of water and allow it to collect, forming a prime breeding ground. You may not be worried about a few itchy bites on your arms and legs. But nowadays, with Zika and West Nile Virus present in many regions, mosquitoes are not only annoying—they can be downright dangerous. 

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  2. Mice

    Mice-in-gutters

    Think of all the debris lodged in a neglected drainage system. Leaves, twigs, pine needles—these are the building blocks that mice and other rodents rely on for their nests. It's no wonder that, particularly in the fall and winter, gutters often play host to mice seeking cold-weather refuge. The real trouble begins when, with their tendency to chew through wood, mischievous mice find their way indoors. One or two may be manageable, but it's a cause for alarm if your gutters become a freeway for dozens and dozens of rapid-breeding rodents. Your best bet? Fill cracks, holes, and gaps in the building envelope, and rid your gutters of any material that may be providing a warm welcome to pests. 

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  3. Birds

    Birds-gutters

    Fond of their colorful feathers and soul-nourishing songs, many homeowners take special care to make their yards extra hospitable to birds. But even if you do nothing to court their company, birds may choose your gutters as the location for a long-term nest. It could be worse; compared with other pests, birds are relatively benign. They're not harmless, though. For one, their droppings can stain highly conspicuous parts of your home's exterior. For another, their nests can undermine, if not completely undo, the efficacy of your storm drainage system. Worse still, even if you make it a point to remove one bird's nest, you can't discount the possibility that another will simply take its place.

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  4. Bees

    Bees

    Gutters are a beacon to pests for more than one reason. If the moisture and decaying organic matter in a clogged system isn't the primary draw, then it's often the fact that gutters, high above the ground, offer a relatively safe perch. For that reason, wasps, hornets, and bees are known to nest both inside and beneath gutters. Obviously, no one wants to live in close proximity to a colony of stinging insects, but this isn't solely a quality-of-life issue. The weight of an especially large nest could pull down the gutters, or worse, compromise the roof itself. If you encounter a bees' nest, therefore, act quickly to remove it, whether on your own or in collaboration with a qualified pest-control pro.

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  5. Snakes

    Snakes-in-gutters-2

    Picture this: You're returning home at the end of a long day, when suddenly you see a snake hanging down from a gutter, its head mere feet away from the front door. Yikes! While a gutter-dwelling snake may sound like the stuff of nightmares, it can be a reality in some parts of the country, particularly in summer. Why? Gutters provide snakes and other reptiles with virtually all they need to survive and thrive, including warmth, shade, and easy access to prey. If you spot a snake in the gutter but don't recognize the species—if you can't say whether it's dangerous or not—then exercise extreme caution. Call in an expert, whether a private pest-management company or the municipal animal control department. 

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  6. Hassles and Hazards

    Cleaning-gutters-3

    In a perfect world, pests wouldn't invade gutters, because in that perfect world, homeowners would diligently maintain their storm drainage systems. But the fact is that, despite the critical importance of gutter maintenance, plenty of people avoid it, not only because it's a hassle, but also because climbing a ladder up to the roofline can be genuinely hazardous. In fact, hundreds of people die each year—and an estimated 200,000 visit the emergency room—as a result of ladder-linked accidents. True, you can always pay a pro to assume the responsibility, but for a task that needs to be done at least twice per year, the associated costs can be prohibitively high. So, unwilling to do it themselves and unable to afford help, countless homeowners neglect their gutters, letting clogs form that encourage the spread of pests. 

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  7. One Simple Solution

    Leafguard-gutters-2

    Rather than forcing yourself to do a dangerous, unpleasant chore, and instead of neglecting your gutters to the detriment of your home, why not install gutters that neither clog nor require regular maintenance? Though their professional installation takes only a day, LeafGuard Brand Gutters offer a lifetime of protection against the many perils of an improperly functioning drainage system—including pest infestations. Thanks to a unique hooded design, LeafGuard allows nothing other than rain to reach the gutters. Leaves and twigs bounce right off. True, you can simulate the effect by adding helmets or screens to your existing, conventional gutters, but only LeafGuard offers a heavy-gauge, one-piece product with no seams or flimsy connections. Plus, because LeafGuard boasts downspouts that are 30 percent larger than average, LeafGuard sheds more water more quickly than broadly similar systems can. With LeafGuard, your home remains protected, and you don't have to lift so much as a finger! Ready to say goodbye to gutter-cleaning forever? Click now for more information and to get a free estimate from LeafGuard Brand Gutters today!

    leafguardgutters.com

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