7 Pests That Live in Dirty or Clogged Gutters

By Gutter Expert Henry Gerbin
Updated On

Are you wondering if there are pesky pests living in your clogged gutters and making them overflow?

Well, you definitely came to the right place!

In this RegionalGutterRepair.com guide, you’ll learn:

  • Why pests LOVE to live in gutters and wreak havoc
  • How pests cause issues that can damage not only your gutters but your home as well
  • How to rid your gutters of pests and prevent them from setting up shop there again

And much more!

Bird nest on top of gutter system

So, if you’re looking to give those pests an eviction notice and unclog your gutters for good, keep reading our guide below to learn everything you need to know.

Why Do Pests Love to Live In Your Gutters?

Gutters do a great job of keeping water away from your home, and while they serve this function well for homeowners, they also (unfortunately) provide very desirable living conditions for various pests.

We’ll get into the seven most common gutter dwelling pests shortly, but first, let’s introduce why pests like to move into your gutters in the first place. 

Good Moisture

Gutters are great at collecting rainwater (duh!). So, when combined with moss, twigs, and other outdoor debris, the gutter’s interior will turn into a cool, damp environment, which is preferable for many bugs and critters. 

This constant source of water keeps the critters around as it provides them with continuous hydration. 

Birds, squirrels, and other small creatures may make a nest strategically located above the water flow in the gutters. 

Food Source

Twigs, leaves, branches, acorns, pine needles, and pine cones – to homeowners, this sounds like regular outdoor debris they’d find in their yard. To critters and pests, this buildup sounds like a delicious buffet ready for their taking. 

Bugs, birds, squirrels, and other animals feed on this concoction of nutrient-packed plant debris. And since gutters tend to collect the whole gamut of plant pieces, that’s where the pests tend to congregate too.

Just think about it, you like having water and food in your home, right? Well, so do these pesky little creatures. 

Safety and Shelter

Besides having food and water, gutters also give pests a feeling of safety and shelter. Sure, snuggling up inside a gutter or downspout might not sound too comfortable to you, but to a small animal or bird, it is the perfect home. 

A nest located in a gutter reduces the total number of directions a predator can attack. Overall, a gutter is a nice secure dwelling that creatures find safe. 

What Are The 7 Most Common Gutter Pests?

Dirty and clogged gutters are a breeding ground for all kinds of pests. Pest infestations can lead to various issues in your home, from problems with water draining from the gutters to mice infestations in your attic.

1. Mice & Other Rodents

Rodents, including mice, love to hang out in gutters. They provide a safe and sheltered area for the rodents, and clogged gutters provide the perfect building materials for mice to create nests high up and away from predators. 

Mice are great at climbing up the downspout, and once in the gutter system, they are more likely to find or chew a way into your attic.

Chipmunk in Gutter Downspout

2. Birds

Birds flock to dirty and clogged gutters for the same reasons that mice and other rodents do. Backed-up gutters are full of sticks and leaves that make for the perfect spot for bird’s nests.

Close up of a dove in a gutter

3. Bees, Hornets, and Wasps

Stinging insects, such as wasps, bees, and hornets, are common pests that lurk in gutters. Since moisture is abundant in gutter systems, it is an ideal spot for these insects to nest.

Keeping stinging insects out of your gutter system can be tricky, as they often nest in clean gutters just as much as dirty or clogged gutters. You must constantly monitor for bees, wasps, and hornets. If you notice that they are building a nest, have it professionally removed immediately.

Close up of Wasp Hive Under Gutters

4. Mosquitoes

It is common knowledge that mosquitoes flock to areas of standing water as they make ideal breeding grounds. If your gutters are backed up or clogged, mosquitoes may take over, laying eggs in the stagnant water. 

Preventing mosquitoes breeding grounds from forming is the main reason why routine cleaning of your gutters is necessary. We’re sure you don’t want mosquito stings and the chance of getting West Nile virus

Mosquito Close Up

5. Snakes

Unfortunately, snakes are also a common find in clogged gutters. You might be wondering how a snake can make its way up your gutter and why. The fact is, snakes are actually adept climbers.

And while they won’t scale the side of your house to get in your gutters, they might climb up the downspout or travel to your roof from a nearby tree. Whatever path they take, they are usually in search of a tasty meal– rodents and birds. 

That’s right, gutters provide an abundance of easy food, such as birds, rodents, or other inhabitants that make for an easy meal. Like other pests that like to take up residence in gutters, snakes find shelter and shade in gutters, which make them an ideal home.

If you notice a snake hanging from the gutter and do not recognize the species, don’t try to handle it yourself. Call in a professional to handle the removal.

Close Up of a Snake

6. Ants & Other Bugs

Ants present several issues when it comes to your home. Ants can overrun clogged gutters since it is a shaded, moist, and cool area. They can also impact the rest of your home if or when they enter it. 

If you get carpenter ants or termites in your gutters, they will very quickly start chopping away at your roof. They will then make their way into your attic and the rest of your home, eating and nesting in any wooden support they find suitable. 

If you don’t notice carpenter ants and termites in your home right away, a costly repair bill can hit you in the wallet.

Ants in a Line

7. Roaches

Roaches will also flock to clogged gutters for water, food, and shelter. If you have issues with cockroaches in your home, they might be traversing into your home through your gutters. 

Roaches can carry dangerous bacteria, so you must remove them right away.

Close up of Cockroaches

Why Are Pests Actually A Problem For Your Gutters?

You might be thinking – “So what if pests live in my gutters?” Squirrels, birds, bugs, and other pests live just outside your home in trees just a few feet away from the gutters, so we get the point.

However, animals and insects taking ownership of your gutters can have detrimental effects on your home. After all, we call them “pests” for many reasons; here’s why: 

Pests Cause Gutter Clogs

Your gutter can develop clogs just from falling twigs and leaves, but a pest infestation takes it to a whole other level. 

Nesting critters, like squirrels, chipmunks, and birds, will carry even more twigs and debris into your gutters. This can easily clog your gutters. Gutter maintenance is crucial in preventing clogs and by proxy, pest and insect infestation. 

Pests Cause Home Damage

Many pests not only nest in your home, but they try to go deeper too. Mice, chipmunks, and squirrels will try to access your attic through crevices they can find or make themselves with their teeth and claws. 

Hornets, bees, or wasp nests can also start in your gutters and grow into your attics or walls, leaving you with a dangerous bug problem. 

Additionally, carpenter ants and termites could find their way into the tasty wood that makes up your home’s frame through your gutters. 

Close Up of Termites

Pests Promote Bacteria Growth

Besides the grossness of having pests like cockroaches, ants, and rodents crawling through your gutters, you’ll have to worry about the germs and bacteria they bring along with them too. 

Dirty gutters filled with insects, rodents, and other pests are the perfect breeding ground for viruses, germs, bacteria, and other pathogens. 

And since these pests can migrate from your gutters into your home, you should be dead set on removing them as soon as possible. 

Pests Are A Nuisance 

Tapping and scratching in your gutters, insects crawling in your home, and excessive animal chirps and squawks sure don’t sound appealing (literally and figuratively). Infestation of pests will all but guarantee a racket that will keep you awake and distracted while you work from home. 

Pests Can Easily Transition to Inside Your Home

Did we mention how these pests tend to find ways into your home after using your gutters as a launching pad? We did, but it’s worth reiterating. All seven pests we’ve described have made their way inside homeowners, walls, attics, and living space by burrowing their own paths. 

Can’t You Just Oust The Pests Yourself? Why Do You Need A Professional?

You can certainly try to remove pests yourself. However, pest control is a dangerous and challenging task, especially if you have no experience. 

Our gutter professionals and pest control services have years of experience, the proper tools, and training in safety practices in dealing with heights and handling pests. Additionally, we ensure that we remove the entire problem– pest infestations can be deeper than you suspect. 

How Can You Banish The Pest From Your Gutters?

Depending on the critters and pests that have taken hold in your gutters, the difficulty of removing them can vary. Sometimes it’s just as simple as clearing out your gutters; other times, it’s a more arduous task. 

Here are the top ways to remove pesky creatures from your gutters:

Unclog and Clean Your Gutters Regularly

Pests tend to nestle into gutters that already have a good foundation for their nest. If your gutters are already full of leaves and twigs, your gutters are essentially a pre-furnished home for animals and bugs. 

An easy way to remove pests is to remove their nests, which means cleaning and unclogging your gutters. 

Removing Dead Leaves From Gutters with Gloved Hands

Remove Standing Water

As you know, one of the things that draw pests into the gutters is the satisfying level of moisture. Removing standing water from the gutters will ensure bugs, animals, and other pests don’t have a source of water.

Usually, when you remove clogs, you eliminate standing water too. However, you may need to fix sagging gutters if they do not drain correctly. Check our sagging gutter guide to learn more. 

Remove Standing Water

As you know, one of the things that draw pests into the gutters is the satisfying level of moisture. Removing standing water from the gutters will ensure bugs, animals, and other pests don’t have a source of water. 

Usually, when you remove clogs, you eliminate standing water too. However, you may need to fix sagging gutters if they do not drain correctly. Check our sagging gutter guide to learn more. 

Use Bug Spray or Repellent 

If you’re getting a constant colony of mosquitoes, ants, wasps, bees, or other unwanted insects trespassing in your gutters, you can use bug spray to get rid of them. We recommend a natural repellent with none of the harmful chemicals. 

Call the Professionals 

If you’re having persistent troubles with gutter-invading pests, give our team of gutter experts a call today. We can come out for an inspection, review our removal procedure, and get your gutters vacant for good. 

Using a Gutter Vacuum to Clean Gutters

How Do You Prevent More Pests From Moving Into Your Gutters?

You can prevent unwanted pests in the gutters of your home in several ways. 

The methods include maintaining a clean gutter system, installing a mesh screen over the gutters and downspout, or using natural repellents.

Here are the main ways to prevent pests from making your gutters their home. 

Keep Your Gutters Clean

One of the primary methods for preventing pests from inhabiting your gutters is to keep them clean. Cleanliness is the most crucial aspect of keeping pests out of your home’s gutters since it removes their source of food and water. 

If you’re comfortable with it, you could clean your dirty gutters yourself. However, for your safety, we don’t recommend it. 

For an affordable gutter cleaning service, fill out our form or give our team of gutter pros a call today. They have the tools and skills it takes to rid the gutter of all built-up debris properly.

For open-top gutters, we use thick gloves for protection from sharp debris, droppings, or the surprise bite of a hidden pest. We carefully clean out the debris by hand and flexible scrapper. Next, we use a hose to flush the gutter system to remove residual rocks and dirt.

Use Mesh Screens, Grates, Or Gutter Caps

Another option for deterring unwanted pests from your gutter systems is installing a gutter protection system like mesh screens or other guards on your gutters. 

Mesh screens prevent pests and larger insects from entering the gutter system and causing issues. They still allow water flow and just provide a protective entry barrier against critters. 

Grate covers, similar to mesh screens, are also situated in the gutter’s downspout and prevent pests from entering. They allow smaller insects to pass through but prevent snakes, mice, and other pests from entering.

Hand installing gutter guards

Perforated gutter caps sit on the portion of the gutter that runs along the roof and can help prevent birds and other pests from setting up shop. They are great for avoiding larger pests, and the small holes still allow for water flow. 

Helmet-style gutter covers and gutter guards have a gap between the gutter and the cover itself but can still allow pests to enter.

Perforated gutter caps sit on the portion of the gutter that runs along the roof and can help prevent birds and other pests from setting up shop. They are great for avoiding larger pests, and the small holes still allow for water flow. 

Helmet-style gutter covers and gutter guards have a gap between the gutter and the cover itself but can still allow pests to enter.

Use Natural Pest Repellents

Repellents made from natural ingredients can help to deter pests safely. There are chemical compounds available to deter bugs and other pests, but we don’t recommend them. They can leak into the ground surrounding your home and lead to health issues. 

Instead of harming the pests, natural repellents will deter insects and critters from entering the gutter system. Many home improvement stores carry a variety of options to suit specific needs.

Bees, hornets, and wasps are the toughest pests to contend with, as they can slip through small spaces in mesh screens or perforated gutter caps. 

Several plants can serve as a natural repellent. Marigolds, peppermint, basil, and cucumbers are known to deter pests. Certain essential oils may also help repel particular pests.

Trim The Trees Near Your Roof

Many pests enter gutter systems via trees near your home’s roof. Squirrels, chipmunks, rodents, other small rodents, and critters have easy access to the gutter system when tree branches overhang your house. 

Pine Needles Clogging A Gutter

You should keep trees surrounding the roof trimmed back to help prevent pests from entering the gutter system via the trees.

Why Call Regional Gutter Repair?

At Regional Gutter Repair, our technicians have extensive experience working with all types of gutters (and gutter pests!) and can help you restore your gutters to their former glory.

If you’re dealing with a pest infestation, our pros will come in and do a thorough cleaning. They will also oust any pests they can (within reason) and talk with you about the best preventative measures for your unique situation.

Our pros love helping homeowners keep their gutters clean and pest-free, so fill out the form below to get in contact with one of our professional technicians right away!

Meet Your Gutter Expert

Henry Gerbin


Whether your gutters are leaking, broken, or you're just someone considering the purchase of your first set of gutters Henry is here to help. He regularly contributes his thoughts and knowledge with the RegionalGutterRepair readers publishing guides and studies on the latest in gutters.

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