What Might Be Lurking in Your Gutters?
We all know there are many things that get trapped in our gutters. Dirt, twigs, rocks leaves and pine needles all land on your roof and get carried to your gutters as rainwater washes them down. But do you know the other creepy crawlies that might be hiding in your gutters?
Mice and Other Rodents
The debris that’s left in a drainage system that has been left alone for too long, things like leaves, twigs and pine needles are the exact materials that mice and other rodents use to make their nests. In the fall and winter when mice and other rodents are looking for warm places to make their nests, piles of leaves, twigs and other materials are great places for mice to hunker down and stay warm. The presence of mice and nests can also attract snakes to your home who might find their way into the cracks and crevices of your home.
In much of a similar way to mice, birds also find these piles of leaves, twigs and needles to be a great place to make their nests. Birds are not as destructive as other unwanted guests, however, their droppings can stain parts of your home that are highly visible. Birds’ nests can sabotage the efficiency of your storm drainage system as well by acting as obstructions to the flow of water as well as by adding organic material that may undermine the strength of the materials and causing your gutters to burst at the seams. If birds do decide to make a nest in your gutters and lay eggs, they may also become territorial and aggressive.
Mosquitoes and Termites
Mosquitoes might be the easiest of all these pests to spot, but easily the least damaging to your home. Mosquitoes are drawn to any stagnant water as it is its ideal breeding ground, including any water that has pooled in your gutters due to a clog. Having a mosquito infestation on the very outside of your home can cause endless distress to you and your family, and carries risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis which has been on the rise in some areas.
Termites won’t eat your gutters because they only eat wood. They will, however, happily eat away at the fascia board that your gutters are attached to. Termite damage can be particularly detrimental because you most likely won’t know it’s a problem until they’ve caused serious damage that will be costly to repair. Having a professional company to regularly maintain your gutters will ensure that someone who knows exactly what to look for will be able to spot any signs of termites in the fascia.
Squirrels and Chipmunks
If the trees surrounding your home are close enough that the branches reach your gutters, you probably have a squirrel issue on your roof and gutters. Like with mice, gutters act as a great safe haven to escape into to get away from predators like foxes. By keeping branches trimmed back (at least three feet away from your home and gutters), you can keep squirrels and chipmunks from climbing on your roof. Chipmunks, in particular, can be a real menace to your gutter system as gutters can be the perfect size for a chipmunk’s body. Rodents that build nests in your gutters will often build them in the downspouts, which will always lead to clogs and overflowing. Chipmunks can even get themselves stuck in your downspouts and perish, leading to a foul-smelling mess which can even attract bugs that will feast on the carcass.