Gutters are notoriously known to be a magnet for unwanted little visitors from our neighboring forests. The tunnel space is irresistible and honestly more solid than their wooden or rock options, high above the ground away from predators.
Creating pest free gutters probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list, but here’s why it should be higher. Dirty house gutters tend to be a breeding ground for pests and disease. Unclean gutters attract bees, hornets and other aggressive bugs. In turn, a higher population of insects may invite nesting animals which makes gutters go from unkempt to completely clogged. Such gutters can the lead to roof damage, gutter damage, landscape erosion and foundation damage. Just because the gutter may be made of a higher quality metal does not mean it is pest proof.
Sounds like a cascading mess right? Follow this list of steps to help you achieve pest free copper or zinc gutters:
1) REMOVE BLOCKAGE REGULARLY
Remove any debris such as leaves or sticks blocking downspouts. Even partially clogged downspouts can create standing water in the gutters. Any source of standing water can be an invitation to insects but most especially mosquitoes. Their presence can then attract birds and bats so keep your gutters clean and dry.
2) BUILD A BIRD HOUSE
Clean any leaves and twigs out of your gutter as this might give our winged friends an idea for a new home. Birds love small, safe spaces for nesting, which your gutter is definitely such a place. Keep an eye open for birds that seem to fly around your home a lot and watch for telltale signs such as feces or sticks on the edges of the gutters. Make it a habit to do a quick monthly inspection of your copper or zinc gutters, maybe a little more frequently in the spring. If birds seem to like your property, build houses away from the home to give them other options.
3) BEE AWARE
Most homeowners have dealt with bees and wasps that gravitate toward gutters. If you have closed gutters or ornamental elements with openings – that’s a dark and secure place for making honey or nests. Keep an eye on any openings and close any non-intentional openings. If you find that a colony has already claimed a spot, put on long sleeve/pant clothing and get a spray with a long distance shot. If it requires elevation, make sure your ladder is stable and secure if they come out to defend their home. If bugs freak you out, it is best to call a professional.
4) RINSE & REPEAT
You’ve got the gutter clear…good job! Make sure to rinse the gutters frequently or at least inspect them after heavy rain. If your home is close to trees, your maintenance should possibly be more frequent.