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You are driving home one day and as you pull into the driveway, you notice your roof has started to fade from it’s original beauty. Inspecting closer, you spot small black spots. A couple months pass until you observe that the spots have spread to streaks and have scattered across your roof.

You aren’t seeing your asphalt shingles slowly melt or a sign that you need to replace your roof, what your detecting on your roof is known as GLOE-OCAPSA MAGMA; fun to say, not fun to keep around. Gloeocapsa magma is a type of cyanobacteria. Believe it or not, this bacteria has been around for billions of years since the prehistoric ages. Through a basic plant function this bacteria absorbs water to generate energy to live. In order to survive, the bacteria creates a dark pigment to shade itself from the U.V. rays of the sun. As gravity pulls the gloeocapsa magma down to the ground, the bacteria spreads all across the roof forming the disgusting black streaks that you have noticed infecting your roof. As these streaks develop, your house will begin to look older by the second.


The perfect conditions exist in the midwest for gloeocapsa magma to exist. It’s moist climate in the summer is the reason why so many roofs in the area are smothered with black streaks. Gloeocapsa magma typically is spread onto a roof by airborne transport. This usually means that wind blowing from an overhanging tree or a bird flying over is all it takes to infect your roof. Once the bacteria lands on the north side of your roof (the side that houses the most moisture and is relatively cool during summer). Along with consuming the moisture to survive, gloeocapsa magma feeds on a special ingredient from your shingles. Your asphalt shingles most likely contain limestone, a filler part of the shingles to keep cost down, which gloeocapsa magma love to feed on. The limestone in your shingles not only allows the bacteria to survive, but to flourish across all of your shingles. As the colony of bacteria begins to grow on your roof, older bacteria die, which hold water, and in turn feed the other bacteria to grow even more rapidly. So many of our customers have told us that they have only noticed a small spot, and in no time, that small spot has covered their roof with black streaks.


Gloeocapsa magma not only causes your roof to look horrible, it also is the cause for major damage on your shingles. Once the bacteria has eaten away deep into the limestone of the shingles, the roof will have sustained a huge amount of destruction. This problem will inevitably force you to spend more time and money replacing the damaged shingles on the roof than to remove the gloeocapsa magma infesting the roof. If the bacteria has layered the entire roof, the heat coming from the sun to the roof is absorbed by the gloeocapsa magma and transferred into your roof. During the summer if heat is leaking into your house, cooling/AC costs will skyrocket. When working properly, asphalt shingles are great for keeping heat out. When they are damaged they don’t work so well and that will affect how much money you are wasting to battle the heat reaching the inside of your house. It may not seem like much of a price to pay compared to having professionals remove the bacteria, but the price of cooling your house will undoubtedly become more costly over time. If you are looking to sell a house that is infested with gloeocapsa magma, if not removed, it will ultimately ruin the curb appeal of your house as well as ruin the roof for future homeowners.

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The damage from gloeocapsa magma doesn’t stop there; roof moss and bacteria have been know to cause minor and major health effects if not stopped. Once thriving, the bacteria can possibly produce mycotoxins: a natural toxin that is developed in several different foods, gloeocapsa magma, as well as countless other types of fungi. Mycotoxins can range from mostly harmless to extremely harmful depending on your allergic immunity and the type of mycotoxin. You can come into contact with these toxins through dermal (skin contact), ingestion, and inhalation from an airborne source. Once you have come into contact with the toxin, symptoms you could experience include:

  • fatigue
  • runny stuffy nose
  • sleeplessness
  • chronic pain
  • numbness
  • constipation and or diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • nausea
  • heart failure


Pets can become infected too! Though due their small size, they would need a much smaller amount ingested or inhaled for the toxin to become lethal. The probability of roof bacteria developing dangerous mycotoxin is fairly low. The best way to avoid running into problems like, having to buy new shingles, having to replace your roof, or suffering from any symptoms that the mycotoxins can cause, is to remove the infestation when you first spot it. Don’t let gloeocapsa magma invade your roof and grow, call the professional technicians at First Choice Surfaces to remove it for you.

Unlike other companies, First Choice will never use pressure when removing algae, moss, and bacteria from your roof. These methods will temporarily make your roof as clean as possible, but in the long-term this will shorten the life of your shingle roof and do more damage than good. Similar to the effect of gloeocapsa magma, pressure washing your roof will remove the protective granules from your shingles and cause them to be removed. If you are thinking of pressure washing your roof to rid the shingles of gloeocapsa magma, just consider that the use of pressure will do the same amount of damage that the bacteria would do, long and short-term. Our technicians apply a specially formulated detergent that destroys any black streak or moss that has been affecting your roof. After the detergent has dwelled on the roof for around 30-40 minutes, you will see the black streaks disappear leaving you with a clean and protected, eye-catching roof.

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Being the #1 Cincinnati exterior cleaning business, our reviews speak for themselves! Our trained technicians and professional equipment put us above all the competition. The next time you notice your roof is being invaded by gloeocapsa magma, don’t hesitate to call or visit online for a free quote.