Autumn is almost here, and before long, the leaves will be falling from the trees. If you have trees in your yard, then some of those leaves will probably end up in your gutters. Clearing the gutters of leaves and debris is therefore a necessary fall maintenance task. Fail to do so, and you could end up with clogged gutters — which are an open invitation for insects to invade your home and yard.
Keep reading to learn more about the insects that are likely to show up when your gutters are clogged, along with some gutter-cleaning advice.
Which Insects Are Attracted to Clogged Gutters?
Some insects are attracted to the decaying leaves themselves, while others are attracted to the rotting wood and roof material that often results from perpetually clogged gutters.
You probably won’t see mosquitoes buzzing around your gutters this autumn and winter, but come spring, they will adopt your clogged gutters as a breeding ground. The stagnant, murky water that accumulates in clogged gutters is exactly what they look for.
Mosquitoes are more than a minor annoyance, too. They can spread West Nile Virus and an array of other infections to humans, and they can spread heartworm to your dog.
When your gutters are clogged, water tends to overflow the edge of the gutter and pool near the foundation. Over time, this causes your foundation to remain damp. Termites are attracted to damp foundations and may soon move into your home. Structural damage caused by termites can cost thousands to repair, so it’s easier to keep these insects away in the first place.
Like termites, carpenter ants prefer damp wood. If your clogged gutters lead to moist wood or leaks in the roof, these areas may soon be invaded by ants. If you see carpenter ants — which are large, black or red ants — in your home during the winter months, the insects likely have a nest inside your home. Although carpenter ants take longer to cause damage than termites, they can wreak havoc on your home’s wooden components.
Both American and German cockroaches require moisture to thrive. If your gutters are clogged, causing moisture to accumulate in your attic or along your home’s foundation, these pesky insects may move right in.
Some homeowners focus on cleaning up food storage areas and repairing plumbing pipes for years before realizing that their clogged gutters are to blame for a roach problem. Roaches are very resilient, so until you take care of the root of the problem — clogged gutters — they will just keep reappearing.
How Do You Clean Your Gutters?
You might put off cleaning your gutters because you assume it is a big, laborious task. In reality, the hardest part of cleaning your gutters is climbing up on the ladder. If you’re comfortable doing that, then the rest is easy. Put on a pair of gloves, and start scooping debris out of the gutters. Drop it onto the ground, and clean it up later. Some people like to drop it on a tarp or into a large bucket. Rinse the gutters with some clear water, and you’re done.
Try to clean your gutters a few times throughout the fall so that leaves do not sit too long. If you do not feel safe climbing up on a ladder, hire a professional to clean your gutters. This approach is a lot easier than fighting multiple insect infestations due to clogged gutters!
Cleaning gutters is important for protecting your home’s roof and foundation, but it is also an important pest prevention tactic. Keep your gutters clear this fall, and if you do have any trouble with pests, get in touch with PermaTreat Pest and Termite Control. We even offer gutter guards to help keep your gutters clear and the pests at bay.