Gophers can be a serious problem for a homeowner. While they may be cute-looking, the damage they wreak can be far from cute. These destructive rodents not only tunnel through yards leaving unsightly bumps, they also eat and destroy crops and landscaping plants. For a gardener faced with gophers, learning how to get rid of gophers becomes a priority.
The main key to any kind of gopher control is to understand how gophers operate. Gophers dig burrows as a way to travel from feed location to feed location. Whether you are using gopher traps, gopher repellent, or poison to kill gophers, your battleground with this pest will be in these burrows.
Gopher repellent is the least effective method of gopher control. Many products on the market that usually work against rodents, such as predator urine, do not deter gophers. Some gardeners do report some success with homemade gopher repellents such as gopher purge, castor bean and garlic.
If you will be using gopher repellent, place the repellent just inside the openings to the burrows.
Gopher traps are a popular method to eliminate gophers. You can use either live traps or snap or pincer style traps (which will kill the gopher).
When setting gopher traps, you will be setting them in pairs. Find an opening to an active burrow and dig the opening out enough to allow you to slide one trap into the burrow facing inwards and then follow this with a gopher trap that faces outward. Fill in any gaps.
This paired use of traps ensures that you will be able to trap the gopher, regardless of whether it is going into the burrow or coming out of it. Repeat this with all of the burrow openings you can find.
Whether you bait your gopher traps or not is up to you. Baiting with things like fruits, vegetables, or peanut butter will help to attract gophers more quickly to the traps, but will not improve the overall effectiveness of the traps.
Many homeowners use poison to get rid of gophers. While this is a very effective means of gopher control, you need to be very careful which poisons you use and where you use them. Some common gopher poisons are:
Strychnine– This is the most common form and most effective poison for gophers. While it is the most common, it is also the most damaging to the overall ecosystem. Strychnine will not only kill the gopher, but will kill anything that eats the poisoned gopher or anything that may eat the grain set out for the gopher. Use this gopher poison with care.
Zinc phosphide– Zinc phosphide is a little less effective than strychnine as a way to kill gophers, and, like strychnine, will kill any animal that eats the poisoned gopher or bait grain.
Chlorophacinone (RoZol)– This is an anticoagulant poison. It is the least effective of the poisons, but has the least threat of damage to the surrounding ecosystem. It takes about 10 times more of this poison to kill a gopher than strychnine or zinc phosphide.
With gopher poison, placement is key to reducing the potential threat to the non-target animals in the area. The best way to place these poisons out is to find a burrow opening and then using a wooden dowel or other probe, determine where the burrow runs through the yard. Using the probe to make a hole in the ground, place the poisoned bait into the burrow itself several feet (1 m.) from the burrow opening. This will ensure that the poison is beyond the reach of non-target birds in the area and that the gopher dies before it is able to exit the burrow, which leaves them beyond the reach of non-target predators.
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Struggling to deal with gophers that have made your lawn their home? Can’t seem to trap them easily despite identifying active tunnels? Tired of filling up and covering gopher holes? This is an indication that you need to up your rodent-ridding game.
Pouring down a small dose of bleach and ammonia into a gopher hole is a tried and tested method to kill gophers. Ideally set up your garden hose over a gopher hole and pour down a gallon of each, ammonia and bleach. Within seconds this will fill up the entire connection of underground gopher tunnels and put an end to your gopher troubles.
Worried about spoiling your garden hose and risking your plants during hose-watering sessions? You can learn how to clean a garden hose and clear the traces of ammonia and bleach that may be left-back.
Here are a few handy tips to get rid of Gophers. They are simple, inexpensive and almost always works.
1. Chewing Gum
Did you know that you can use candies to control gophers? As strange as it may sound, it does work. Simply throw in a handful of chewing gum or candies into a gopher’s hole and before you know it they will be gone.
2. Pet Waste
Now this is yet another hack that is hard to believe, but works like a charm! Block gopher’s holes and tunnels using cat litter or dog poop. This is a remedy that has been used for years by men to do away with gophers naturally.
3. Vibrating Stakes
Gophers do not get scared easily as they are immune to the constant noise and vibrations caused by people moving around. However, if your garden is infested with gophers and moles, dig a hole and put a vibrating stake into it. Next, compact soil around the hole until it is tightly seized. Within a few days, you will find the gopher’s population diminish in your garden.
Commonly known as “Gopher Spurge”, euphorbia lathyris is said to be highly effective in controlling subterranean burrowers such as gophers. You will find these plants available in almost every nursery. Grow them in different parts of your yard, especially in areas that are frequented by the creature. Another way to repel gophers is to plant castor bean, daffodil and marigold in your garden as these critters hate the smell and taste of these plants.
If you are looking for an effective way to eliminate gophers, poison is another alternative you could resort to. However, if you have children or pets at home, you will have to use it cautiously. You will find a number of poisons available on the market to control gophers. Strychnine and zinc phosphide are two of the most popular. You will have to dig a hole with a shovel, broomstick or poke a rod into a gopher tunnel and apply strychnine by hand. You are sure to see the gophers disappear faster than you expect. If you are using diphacinone, then make a solid block of grain, wax and the poison and place it in the little tunnels to get rid of gophers.
6. Castor Oil Repellent
Another home remedy to eliminate gophers is castor oil. It has scientifically proven to work in controlling gophers. These nasty pests get diarrhea when they consume castor oil and as a result, they leave looking for a new habitat. To prepare the repellent, mix ¼ cup of unrefined castor oil and 2 tablespoons of dish washing liquid. Next, dilute the mixture by mixing 2 tablespoons of the mixture to 1 gallon of water. Spray it on the areas infested by gophers. You will find them gone in no time at all. You can also plant the castor oil plant to get rid of gophers from garden and lawns.
7. Coffee Grounds
If you are a coffee addict and have gopher problems, this is the perfect remedy to help you control gophers. It is really quite simple. All you have to do is sprinkle the used coffee grounds in the openings of gopher tunnels and then cover the holes with soil. According to a gardener who used this home remedy, there was a gradual decrease in the gopher population, proving that it does work against these destructive pests.
8. Increase Water Supply
As cruel as it may sound, you can flood the gophers out of their home! Use a hose and water the mounds or simply pour in about 5 gallons of water. You will not be killing them, but simply forcing them to vacate your patch of garden!
9. Dryer Sheets
People like using dryer sheets for great-smelling, spongy laundry. You can use them as repellent for gophers too, as they hate the strong smell of dryer sheets. This is an effective as well as inexpensive way to solve your gopher problem. The method is easy – all you have to do is place a couple of dryer sheets into the gopher holes and cover them up again with soil. The scent of the dryer sheets will get the creatures running away as far as possible.
Also read : How To Get Rid Of Ticks?
10. Vehicle Exhaust
The carbon monoxide that the exhaust of your vehicle contains is an excellent way to eliminate gophers. Make use of your vehicle’s exhaust and flood the gopher tunnels around your property with it. Connect a pipe to the engine’s exhaust and place it in the gopher tunnel. Next, pack soil tightly around the pipe and flood the entire tunnel network for about 3 to 5 minutes. This is what is known as Pressurized Exhaust Rodent Control (PERC) and it works quite well in getting rid of gophers.
If you are looking for an inexpensive yet effective home remedy to eliminate gophers, you should consider using mothballs. Simply place several naphthalene balls in a gopher tunnel opening. Wrap it with a plastic to make sure that the smell of the mothballs stays intact. As soon as the nasty little critters smell the naphthalene, they will leave your yard or garden as quickly as they can. Keep in mind that this is only a temporary solution and is best used at areas with lower gopher population.
12. Tabasco Sauce
Do you have Tabasco sauce in your kitchen? Make good use of it to control the gophers in your yard. Simply mix 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, a few drops of peppermint oil, ½ cup castor oil and 1 cup of water in a bottle. Shake well until all the ingredients are well blended. Immerse cotton balls and put them into the gopher holes. The pests will hastily leave your property within a day or two.
13. Garlic and Red Chili Powder
Here’s another amazing way to get rid of gophers. Make a spray out of 2 or 3 garlic bulbs, 12 hot chilli peppers, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 3 squirts liquid detergent and 7 cups of water. Blend all the ingredients together and then strain the mixture through a muslin cloth. Fill a spray bottle with it. Spray the mixture around your garden or lawn for a gopher-free outdoor.
As you can see, there are many excellent home remedies to get rid of gophers. These pests can create a lot of havoc and destroy your beautiful garden. Hence, try out these remedies and find the one that works most effectively to keep your property as lovely as you want it to be.
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Gophers are small burrowing rodents which live underground and feed on plants. There are two main species of gophers which are found in North America – the Richardsons ground squirrel and the pocket gopher, but there are over 100 types in the Unites States alone. Gophers have long front teeth, tiny ears, small eyes, and short tails. They can grow up to five to ten inches long and weigh between half a pound to a pound and sometimes more and typically have brown soft and fine fur. Gophers primarily eat plants and their root systems, which is why gardeners dislike them so much.
Voles are another type of small rodent that resemble mice because they are about the same size, but with shorter tails, smaller ears and eyes, and rounded molars. There are about 155 species of voles and are sometimes known as meadow or field mice in North America. Voles do burrow under plants to expose and eat the roots, and also dig shallow underground borrows. They also create runways in tall grasses and vegetation which allows them to move quickly over the ground. Voles eat mostly plants and roots, and also eat dead animals, nuts, fruits.
Gophers and voles are a serious nuisance to yards, and especially gardens. Gophers can feast on a garden and destroy all of the plants in a matter of days. The amount of destruction a single gopher can cause can be quite impressive. This is because gophers do not eat everything as they go. They will store roots and plant materials in their cheeks and take it back to their burrows and hoard it. They systematically chew off roots and plant material, take it back for safe-keeping, and then go back for more! Gophers burrow complex underground tunnel systems, and use their front legs and teeth to push dirt out of their tunnels and onto the ground above. These mounds of dirt are a tell-tale sign of a gopher problem. Voles can also wreak havoc on a landscape because of their sheer numbers. Voles can have a population of up to 500 per acre!
Since gophers and voles can cause so much damage to yards and gardens (and even trees), they should be removed quickly, or you risk losing your entire harvest, or ruining your yard. There are a number of ways to get rid of gophers, and you can find all sorts of recommendations from trapping, to poisoning, drowning, smoking them out, using animal feces, chewing gum, and even using gas from a car exhaust. Some of the recommendations on how to get rid of gophers may even cause more harm to your yard than the gophers do. There are even stories of people filling up gopher burrows with propane gas and igniting it – kaboom! We do not recommend
1) Water: Flooding the gopher tunnels with a water hose might compel them to come out of the holes and move somewhere else, probably outside your yard. You can directly pour 5-gallon buckets of water (try soapy water) into the burrows as well.
While a few gardeners have been successful, others found fresh holes in their garden the next day. A major drawback of using water is that it loosens the soil, making it easier for gophers to dig newer tunnels and move to the higher ground, and wait till the water recedes.
TIP: Taking a cue from this method, you can fill a 1-gallon milk jug with water and place it in an inverted position over the hole. As evident from this video, once the water pours down, the gopher will pop right up into the jug and get trapped. However, in case of multiple holes in your lawn, this option might not be too practical.
2) Ultrasonic Gopher Repellents: Commercial noise deterrents like sonic spikes when inserted into the ground, close to the tunnels, emit high-frequency sounds that safely repel the gophers. Based on some reviews given by users, these devices seem to work moderately well as long as their batteries last.
3) Essential Oils: Put a few drops of castor/peppermint oil on cotton balls (old newspapers or cloths will also do) and drop them into the tunnels. But, as the homemade repellent only keeps the gophers temporarily away, it is not an effective long-term solution.
4) Ammonia: As shared by some, ammonia has an odor strong enough to keep the rodents out of your backyard. However, it should not come in contact with your pets since ammonia is highly toxic.
TIP: According to an online forum, pouring a combination of ammonia and bleach into the burrows produces a toxic gas that could suffocate and kill gophers.
5) Natural Repellent Plants: The smell of gopher purge, castor bean, and garlic might help in getting rid of gophers naturally. However, there are no evidences to support these claims.
6) Liquid Repellents: Sweeney’s Mole and Gopher Repellent and Tomcat Mole and Gopher Repellent are some well-known liquid repellents available online that seem to give mixed results.
7) Juicy Fruit Gum: In several forums and blogs, bubblegum has been suggested to be useful in killing gophers by blocking their intestine. And even though it is not a proven method, it is pretty easy and inexpensive to try. Just place few flavored gums inside the tunnels if you no longer spot any gopher in your pasture, the bubble gums may have worked.
8) Fumigants: Gas or smoke cartridges are assumed to suffocate gophers to death inside their tunnels. However, they do not work in most cases as these rodents can detect the gas and seal off their burrows. Although zinc phosphide fumigants might be effective, their application requires professional help.
Some people might also recommend mothballs, but they are illegal to be used for anything other than the purposes mentioned on their label.
1) Live Trap
Live box traps can be a good option, especially if there are multiple gophers running around your yard. Once they are trapped, check with your local authorities (if you need) to decide where to release them.
2) Underground Fencing
Bury a mesh wire with small openings (preferably 1/4 to 1/2 inches in size) about 1½ foot deep and ½ foot above the ground around your vegetable garden to discourage gophers from digging holes and eating away the roots of your plants. However, this method might need expert help as you need to be sure not to hurt any tree roots, and this might only be useful for large garden areas.
1) Lethal Gopher Traps: They work on a spring mechanism, squeezing the gopher around the neck or chest and killing it quickly. Wire traps and black box traps are the common types commercially available. Apples, alfalfa greens, carrots, or peanut butter can be good as baits. Using two traps side by side might increase your chances of a good catch.
NOTE: Since many States do not allow trapping and killing animals, make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations in your region before trying out the method.
2) Poison Baits: Using commercial products with zinc phosphide, strychnine, or diphacinone content can be one of the best ways for removing gophers forever. Use a long-handled spoon/shovel to place the bait directly into the main runway through the lateral tunnel. It can also be applied with a mechanical bait applicator that creates an artificial burrow next to the hole to connect with the main tunnel.
A possibly effective homemade bait recipe is a mixture of 4 quarts of carrots/sweet potatoes/sugar beets/parsnips (cut into small pieces), 1/8 oz. of strychnine, and 1/8 oz. of saccharine.
After killing the resident gophers, these baits still remain effective for a longer time, therefore eliminating any new gophers trying to invade the old burrows. However, the toxic products should not come in contact with plants as they may cause poisoning and affect their growth.
3) Dry Ice: Some fellow gardeners have recommended eradication of gophers by using dry ice. Seal all the visible holes in your lawn except one, drop some dry ice chunks into it (make sure to wear gloves), and then seal it off. As the dry ice undergoes sublimation, carbon dioxide is released, cutting off the supply of oxygen inside the burrows, and thus suffocating the gophers to death.
Although this method might work, using dry ice does not seem to be a feasible option.
17–20 minutes to read | Updated for 2021
Sometimes called a pocket gopher because of its fur-lined cheek pouches, this small mammal is unique to the Western Hemisphere. Its homelands stretch from Central America to Alberta. This means that much of the U.S. serves as a gopher’s backyard, from coastal areas to high elevations. Unfortunately, its tunnels create a host of problems for North American farmers and homeowners. Along with being part of the food chain, gophers do play an important role in ecology. Their burrowing adds organic matter to soil and increases aeration. But if you think or know that they have caused damage on your property, your first step is to understand gophers and how to spot signs of their activity.
After gestation of between 18 and 50 days, females give birth to litters of two to five gophers. As the young reach about half of their eventual adult size during summer, they leave the burrow.
Gopher populations can vary greatly depending on the species. Some groups may swell only to six to eight gophers per acre, but others will soar to nearly 60 per acre. While this poses problems for homeowners and farmers, the population is controlled by natural predators like hawks, owls, badgers, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and weasels.
Gophers not only grow fast, but they mature fast. They reach sexual capability in the spring following their birth. This makes sense given their brief lifespans. Geography plays a role in this animal’s life cycle. Gophers in northern states may only breed once per year while southern-based gophers may mate twice.
Gophers can carry harmful diseases such as hantavirus, leptospirosis, and plague like other rodents. However, they are always underground and don’t usually come in contact with humans. A more common danger is in their ability to transmit fleas and ticks to outdoor pets.
Your soil is just their type. Moisture is crucial to gophers, as is a high concentration of clay. Sandy soil may deter them from excavating a home due to the potential for a cave-in and a lack of insulation from extreme temperatures. This means that they will likely seek out the preferred amount of clay and water when looking for a place to build a burrow. In an attempt to find moisture, gophers sometimes bite into irrigation pipes.
The climate is their sweet spot. Much of the United States is hospitable territory to gophers. If you live in the western two-thirds of America or certain states in the Southeast (Alabama, Florida, and Georgia), one or more of 10 different gopher species are part of the landscape.