How To Get Rid Of Gophers

If you have an active Gopher infestation, learn about gopher control and how to remove gophers.

Gophers present a more serious problem than Moles , including the destruction of underground utility cables, water lines, sprinkler systems, and irrigation pipes. Damage is most severe in the spring and fall when gophers are active near the soil's surface. Pocket gophers are rodents from 5 to 14 inches long.Pocket gophers have fur-lined pouches outside of the mouth, one on each side of the face. These pockets, which are capable of being turned inside out, are used for carrying food. Their fur ranges from black to light brown and white. Pocket gophers heads are small and flattened, with small ears and eyes. Gophers are solitary animals except when breeding or rearing young. Gophers are active year-round but are the most visibly active in the spring and fall when the soil is of the ideal moisture content for digging.

Get Rid Of Gophers

Gopher Traps

For small numbers of gophers, control can be accomplished with the use of gopher traps such as Easy Set Gopher Trap.

Smoke Bombs

Recommended product would be Giant Destroyer Smoke Bombs or Revenge Smoke Bombs. They are gaseous products that are lighted and put in the main burrows.

Gopher Repellents

Gopher Scram Repellent is a natural granular product that covers up to 13, 750 sq ft. This natural product contains castor oil and other oils to deter pocket gophers. It works by affecting the gopher's sense of smell and taste.

Gopher Bait

Martin's Gopher Bait 50 is a strychnine treated grain that is only labeled for subsoil applications. It has a highly restrictive label.

Key Takeaway

While more labor intensive, gopher traps are effective an non-toxic.

Gopher Identification & Description

  • Color: Black to pale brown
  • Weight: 6-14 oz
  • Length: 5-14 inches
  • Tail Length: 4 inches
  • Body: Powerfully built in the forequarters; fine, soft furl; short neck; small, flattened head; front feet with long, sharp claws
  • Ears: Small
  • Eyes: Small external
  • Lifespan: 1-3 years on average
Gopher
Gopher
Gopher mounds
Gopher mounds
Gopher Runways
Gopher Runways

Gopher Mound and Runways

Gophers are extremely well adapted and built for an underground existence. The gopher lives most of its life beneath the surface, where it digs a burrow system. A gopher can create large, horseshoe-shaped mounds that may cause damage to lawn mowers and farm equipment. Additionally, its tunnels often interfere with irrigation systems, dams, fields, and homeowners' gardens.

Gopher burrows can be very deep, up to several feet, and several hundred feet in length. As gophers dig burrows, pushing the soil to the surface, they leave a mound of dirt which usually forms a semicircle around the tunnel opening. Moles usually leave a cone-shaped mound which is circular at the base with no apparent hole or opening.

Gophers can create up to 70 mounds per month in ideal soil. Gopher tunnels are larger in diameter and deeper than those of moles but are much less extensive. Unlike Mole tunnels, Gopher tunnels are usually not visible on the ground surface due to their deeper location. Other signs of a Gopher infestation are damage to roots, tree bark, seeds, bulbs, and other plant parts in yards or farms.

Prevent Gophers

Preventing gophers is difficult and often impractical. There are repellents on the market in the form of liquid sprays and granules.

Fencing Method

Many people have successfully used exclusion fencing buried in the ground to keep them out of a given area. This fencing method is most helpful around small yards or gardens. Start by digging a small trench around the site to be protected. Insert fencing made with 1/2 inch mesh hardware cloth. The mesh should extend 1 to 2 feet deep and at least a foot above the ground. As you can see, it is a lot of work, but it may be worth it, depending on how much you value your garden.

Use Traps and Gopher Baits

It seems as though the best plan of action for most homeowners is to take quick action to quickly use gopher traps and gopher baits at the first sign of gophers.

Written by our resident pest control expert Ken Martin.