One of the biggest problems homeowners deal with is critters making their home in the gutters. From small animals like birds and squirrels to insects like bees and mosquitoes, all manner of wildlife is attracted to the dark, damp, small spaces gutters create. It’s a sticky situation, but thankfully, there are solutions. Let’s dive in.
Problems with Critters in Gutters
Critters making themselves at home in your gutters can cause all sorts of problems and damage. The most common issue critters can cause is clogging. When squirrels or birds build nests in your gutters, all the nest debris can cause a clog. And if the nest is large enough, it can even split open the seam of your gutter and create a much more problematic situation.
Damage to your gutters themselves isn’t the only issue caused by unwelcome guests. Bees and many species of birds have the additional complication of being protected by state or federal laws, which may prevent you from removing their home on your own. Gutters can also attract more dangerous pests like hornets, wasps, mosquitos, and even snakes!
How to Remove Critters from Gutters
Once a critter has made its home in your gutter, you’ll likely need to bring in professional support to have it safely removed. Removing pests yourself can be dangerous to yourself and the critters themselves, so it’s always best to bring in an expert!
The first step is determining what kind of critter you’re dealing with. If it’s a small animal like a bird or squirrel, you may be able to simply remove the nest. Just make sure it’s not an active nest before removing it, and always wear gloves to protect yourself!
If you’re dealing with insects, you will need an expert to determine the safest method of removal and the extent of damage caused. This can get expensive, especially if a critter has brought significant damage to your gutters or your home itself, so the best way to deal with critters in gutters is through proper prevention so they never settle into your gutters in the first place.
How to Prevent Critters in Gutters
The best way to protect your gutters from all kinds of critters is to invest in proper prevention. There are multiple ways to do this, and some are more effective against certain pests than others. Here are some simple ways to keep critters from setting up shop in your gutters.
Keep Gutters Clean
Having consistently clean gutters will go far in preventing critters from moving in! When there is significant debris in your gutters, squirrels and birds have building material for nests readily available on your roof. For this reason, it’s important to keep gutters clear of tempting nest-building materials. Clean gutters will also more easily remain free of clogging and stagnant water, which is important for keeping other pests like mosquitos at bay.
Use Critter Repellents
There are many types of repellents for all varieties of critters, some natural and others chemical in nature. Here are some options that may work well for your situation:
- Over-the-counter repellents for insects (choose the right one for your most problematic pest)
- Peppermint, marigold, cucumbers, and other naturally repelling plants
- Predator urine (It may sound strange, but it’s effective and available online or at most local farm stores.)
- Decoy predators, like a rubber snake or owl statue
- Ultrasonic bird repellers
- Bird spikes (No, these don’t injure the birds — they just keep birds from landing on gutters in the first place.)
Provide Alternate Living Spaces
If you prefer a more positive approach, consider providing critters with alternative living situations around your home. Although you may enjoy the birdsong outside your bedroom window or watching squirrels run along your roof, these critters can be a risk to your home. But you don’t have to keep them away completely — just out of the gutters!
Set up birdhouses around your property, and plant shrubs and other greenery for the squirrels to enjoy. If you have any trees on your property, try to keep branches trimmed back from your roof so squirrels can’t use them as a jumping-off point — you’ll want at least 10 feet of distance between your roof and the nearest branch.
Use Gutter Protection
You can implement all the strategies above, but if a critter is determined enough, they can still ultimately make a home in your gutters. This is why the only surefire way to keep critters out of your gutters is with gutter protection! Not only does gutter protection keep your gutters leaf-free, clog-free, and worry-free — it keeps them critter-free! If birds and squirrels can’t get into your gutters, then they’ll have no way to build their homes in the cozy nook gutters naturally provide.
Gutter protection allows rainwater to be safely and efficiently moved away from your home while keeping your gutters guarded against both clutter and critters. If you’re in the Hampton or Richmond areas of Virginia, your friends here at Carefree Gutter Guard are ready to find the right gutter solution for your home!
Unlike many systems that just install covers over your existing gutters, the Carefree Gutter Guard system includes both gutters and covers to provide a system that works seamlessly together for a long-term, worthwhile investment. Our gutter systems also protect your roof by attaching to the fascia with high-strength hangers rather than the roof itself, keeping your roof’s warranty intact!
As a family-owned and operated business, we care about providing great service, the most effective solutions, and a simply unmatched gutter experience. Contact us to book your free estimate today!