6 Pests that Could be Living in Your Gutters and How to Get Rid of Them
Gutter systems are one of the biggest breeding and nesting spots for bugs near our homes. In addition to attracting and increasing pest populations outdoors, they make it easier for biting and damaging bugs to move indoors, too. If you feel you're constantly struggling with bugs, knowing the pests below and how to get rid of them could make all the difference.
Does your lawn always have more mosquitoes than your neighbors? Are you plagued with bites all spring and summer long? It’s time to take a closer look at your gutters.
Apart from lawn clutter and sources of standing water, gutters are the biggest problem spot when it comes to mosquitoes; primarily, because gutters often offer both clutter and standing water, all in one convenient little hiding spot. This makes gutters an absolutely ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes—and a nightmare for homeowners like you.
BEES & WASPS
They’re not just painful and annoying, but bees and wasps can also be a serious safety hazard for our children and pets. And guess where they love to set up shop? That’s right, your gutters.
The organic debris that collects in your gutter provides excellent building materials for their nests not to mention a hiding spot that’s rarely disturbed. Additionally, clogged gutters are notorious for attracting wood-boring bees, which can lead to thousands in home damage.
One thing you really don’t want: ants in your gutters.
For one, dirty gutters provide a shelter that enables ants to stick around your home for years, no matter how many times you kill them indoors. Second, gutters almost always provide ants an easy entryway into your home.
Even worse, the decaying leaves and twigs that collect in our gutters are a huge attractant for carpenter ants, which could leave you with a hefty home repair bill if you don’t act quickly.
Struggling with roaches in your home? Your gutters could be to blame.
If there’s water and food, it’s only a matter of time before the roaches arrive. Unfortunately, unkempt gutters provide more than enough moisture, clutter, and food sources to sustain generations of roaches that could occupy your home for years to come. Remember: roaches aren’t just unsightly, they also help spread germs and bacteria throughout your home, endangering the health of you, your family and pets.
Most people don’t realize it, but termite problems can often be traced back to poorly maintained gutters.
It’s quite common for termites to find their ways into our home via our gutters. The cluttered organic debris of a messy gutter system attracts them, and our homes’ eaves provide ample food and an entrance indoors.
The near-microscopic arachnids known as mites typically don’t bother humans all that much, but when they do, it can be a life-altering nightmare for the host.
Parasitic biting mites spend most of their lives hiding and feeding on the blood of small animals like birds and rodents. Occasionally, when their chosen host has died or left, they’ll begin biting surrounding humans, sometimes resulting in years of irritated skin and psychological anguish.
Because cluttered gutters harbor birds and rodents they often hide thousands of mites, too. And with that many mites living just a few dozen feet from where you eat and sleep, failing to address your gutters could put you and your family at serious risk of a painful, long-lasting mite problem.
HOW TO PREVENT, KILL & REPEL BUGS IN YOUR GUTTERS
It all comes down to cleanliness, gutter maintenance, and pest prevention.
1. CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS
At the very least you need to clean and clear you gutters twice a year (if you live in a wooded area or near pine trees, it’s best to check up on your gutters every 3 months). Here are some basic tips for how to do it.
- Clean and clear gutters once in early spring and again in early fall. Again, homes surrounded by woods or pine trees require additional cleaning.
- Avoid cleaning your gutters right after it rains. Giving your system a few days to dry out beforehand will make the process much easier and safer.
- Always wear safety goggles and gloves
- Have a bucket handy to collect removed debris
- Start near a downspout and work your way up toward the closed end of your gutter system.
- First, remove all larger debris by hand
- Next, use a gutter scoop or trowel to remove compacted organic matter.
- Don’t forget to remove and clean your downspout strainers, too
- After clearing and cleaning, flush your gutters with a garden hose using high pressure water.
- If the water doesn’t drain properly or completely, check your downspouts again for blockages.
- Use a high pressure hose or plumber’s snake to remove stubborn clogs and blockages.
- If you notice your gutters are sagging or cracked, consider replacing them. Failing to do so could result in more expensive damages.
- Use a pressure washer to remove any fungus, mildew, dirt, other grime you discover while cleaning.
- To avoid most gutter system problems and to make your next cleaning far easier, consider installing gutter guards.
- To kill any bugs or eggs you discover while cleaning, simply spray them directly with non-toxic All Purpose Bug Spray. Spraying yourself and clothing with All Purpose will help you avoid bug bites while cleaning your gutters, too.
2. TREAT YOUR LAWN & HOME EXTERIOR
Keeping your lawn bug-free is as easy as spraying your yard, shrubbery, and home exterior with PCO Choice monthly from March to November. For warmer climates, we suggest spraying all year round.
To prevent bugs in your gutters, simply spray your home’s exterior and gutter system with PCO Choice during your monthly lawn treatments. To kill bugs you find hidden in your gutters, spray them directly with plant-based All Purpose Bug Spray.