Pests (including mosquitoes) come in all sizes, colors, and shapes. Some may even resemble each other enough to be difficult to identify accurately. However, regardless of identity, all pests have one trait in common—they all rely on moisture for survival. This is why controlling any excess moisture in and around your home is the first step in eliminating mosquitoes. If you don’t know how to avoid moisture—and how clogged gutters can attract mosquitoes—your chances of ridding your yard of mosquitoes are slim at best.
How Clogged Gutters Happen
There are all kinds of areas around a home that can collect standing water. This includes low spots in the ground, flowerpots, wading pools, and birdbaths. With that said, one water problem that consistently gets overlooked is in the area of clogged gutters. Twigs and leaves fall from trees onto your roof and get washed down into your downspouts and gutter. This debris then accumulates and collects moisture before beginning to rot and decay. The gutters and downspouts eventually clog up, which causes standing water to accumulate in the gutter system. Sadly, this becomes the perfect breeding grounds and habitation for mosquitoes, as well as other pests.
Only female mosquitoes bite. But when they bite, they aren’t looking for a nutritious snack. The blood they take doesn’t give them any nutritive value at all. Instead, the proteins in the blood are used to help build the mother mosquitoes eggs. And that’s the point where you can disrupt the whole mosquito life cycle. If you can prevent the mother mosquito from laying her eggs, you can stave off the next generation of pesky mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes rely on standing water to lay their eggs. Additionally, the hatched larvae need standing water to live in and survive as mature into adult mosquitoes. But it doesn’t take a lot of water. Just the amount of water contained in the cap of a soda bottle could play host to a whole raft of mosquito eggs.
Because clogged gutters hold plenty of stagnant water, they are an ideal habitat and breeding ground for biting disease-carrying mosquitoes. To make matters worse, mosquitoes aren’t great flyers. In fact, they spend their entire lives in close proximity to their breeding grounds, typically not straying more than 200 feet from the area they were hatched. When your gutters become a breeding ground, your home becomes a buzzing hub of mosquito activity.
The Mosquito Life Cycle
Only females mosquitoes bite, and the only reason they bite is to nourish their eggs. Once she has developed her eggs, an adult mosquito requires just a tiny amount of standing water to be able to lay her eggs.
A mosquito in its first three stages of growth—including egg, larvae, and pupa—must have standing water for its development. The standing water in your gutter system is more than enough for breeding, hatching, and growth. In addition to the standing water, the decaying leaves provide the nourishment necessary for their development. So clogged gutters will unquestionably cause a boom in the mosquito population on your property.
The Importance of Regular Gutter Cleaning
In addition to dangerous, Zika-carrying mosquitoes, your clogged gutters act as a haven for other insects including cockroaches, ants, gnats, termites and flies. Spiders and worms also find clogged gutters to be the perfect environment for both breeding and feeding. Keeping your gutters clean and free flowing should be at the top of your priority list in terms of preventive tips for controlling these dangerous pests.
Here in Atlanta, clogged gutters are a year-round problem. Due to our high concentration of leafy trees and the regularity of intense, windy cloudbursts, gutters can get clogged quickly and often. Regular cleaning is necessary to keep your gutters from becoming a breeding ground for all sorts of pests.
It’s important to keep your gutters clean during all seasons, but it’s especially important to clear them out in late winter or early spring. As soon as the temperature rises above fifty degrees for a few days in a row, mosquitoes will become active and mosquito season will begin. It’s best to clear out your gutters before that happens, so avoid an early explosion of your own personal mosquito population.
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