The Hidden Connection: Gutter Cleaning’s Impact on Pest Control in Raleigh, NC

As a mom, I love spring and being able to take my kids out to play in the backyard. We always have pine cones to pick up before we can enjoy a good game of soccer or pine cones to rake before throwing the ball with the dogs. We, however, rarely think about cleaning out our gutters, but pine straw does build up in the gutters quickly.

While it is not the most exciting part of Spring cleaning or home maintenance, it is a great way to control or deter insects from prolonged visits. As you can see from the picture above, my gutters were actually starting to grow plants. We have since cleared them out, and our gutters are working properly. In this blog, we will cover how gutters lead to pest infestation in Raliegh, NC, if not cleaned regularly, and the common pests that like clogged gutters.

How do clogged gutters attract pests?

Gutters are fantastic for rerouting water from your roofing system. Some people choose to collect rainwater, while others simply direct water away from the house using downspouts and extensions. As debris, such as pine straw, builds up in the gutters, the water collects as well. It will not evaporate as quickly, and the organic material starts to decay. This creates a harborage where insects are protected and decides to take residence. They have food, shelter, and water. What makes this worse is the area is difficult to reach and inspect.

What types of pests like clogged gutters?

1) Ants
Odorous House Ants and Acrobat Ants can use the area to build a satellite colony or multiple colonies if there is enough food and water. If plants are growing in your gutters, a small ecosystem will continue to sustain them. Using repellents along the perimeter will not solve this issue. If the gutters are not cleaned, your technician will need to use baits or another method to eliminate these ants.

2) Roaches
Smoky Brown Roaches are sometimes called waterbugs or Palmetto Bugs. Other roaches are often commonly labeled under this name but have different habits and harborage areas. Smoky Brown Roaches usually like to live in the hollows of trees and eat decaying organic matter. This includes pine straw and mulch, to give you some examples. A clogged gutter is a perfect buffet for them. They are constantly needing moisture and will not have to go far. In Raleigh, it is common to have a gap between the sheathing and soffit, which makes a perfect entrance and exit between attic areas and the buffet in your gutter.

3) WASPs             
Wasps naturally will build paper nests in higher areas. Like other insects, if water is available, they will use it. Wasps will also be attracted to clogged gutters for food and building materials. Wasps are pollinators, so keep the plants from growing in the gutters. Having a regular pest service will help with identifying issues like clogged gutters and removing nests. New nests are often built near old nests from past years.

4) Mosquitoes             
Mosquitoes can breed in clogged gutters. Although different mosquito species install the eggs in different ways and areas, the main principles are the same. As rainwater collects in the clogged gutter, the eggs are able to go through the phases of metamorphosis to become adult mosquitoes. Flowing water in a clean gutter prevents mosquitos from completing their life cycle as water will leave the area. This is a fantastic way to control mosquitos in your own backyard and help your neighbors.

5) Spiders
Spiders are predators of the insect world. They will eat the food available in clogged gutters. Cleaning your gutters regularly will lower the number of webs around your home. While spiders do help control the insect population, their presence means you have insects in and around your home presently. By cleaning your gutters, the spiders will have less food and more of a reason to go somewhere else.

Clogged gutters can also lead to rainwater being absorbed by wood near the gutters. This can also lead to carpenter ants and wood-decaying fungi, such as brown rot. Carpenter ants bore through the wood-making galleries. They are larger ants and a generally found in a tree nearby. If there is a colony behind your gutters, it is most likely a satellite colony from the nearby infested tree. The wood root is avoidable by having clear gutters and making sure the area stays dry. If you do get wood rot, clear the gutters and keep the area dry through proper maintenance. This will prevent further wood rot.

As always, stay safe. If wood is damaged or you suspect it is damaged, call a professional to help. Ladder work and roof work can be dangerous. If you are in question about your ability, please be safe and cautious. Repairs to the house are much easier to handle than getting hurt.

Invicta Environmental Pest Defense is a proud Mom-Owned, Family Focused Pest Control Company in Raleigh, NC. We have an on-staff Environmental Scientist to help our community in the most environmentally responsible way. While this blog is about cleaning your gutters, we realize everyone is in a different spot. If you need help with a pest and are not able to clean your gutters yet, or you have cleaned your gutters but still have a problem, please give us a call at 984-300-0117 or check us out at