Gopher Control

Pocket Gophers
Pocket gophers are a small rodent about 6 inches long plus the tail are most often grayish brown. They have a very short tail, tiny ears and eyes, and huge exposed yellowish front incisors. They also have large, curved front claws used for digging.
Gopher Control
Gopher Control

How Do I Know if I Need Gopher Control?
Since gophers spend most of their time underground, they are hardly ever seen so the best identification method is to examine the dirt mounds that almost always accompany their activity. This is one reason gopher control is challenging. As gophers dig their tunnels, pocket gophers periodically shove dirt out to the surface forming mounds. The dirt is pushed to the surface from tunnels that are at an angle to the surface, so the mounds form in a crescent or horseshoe shape. This helps distinguish them from mounds made by moles which are volcano shaped. Pocket gopher burrows are almost always plugged. This helps to distinguish them from other burrowing rodents like ground squirrels or meadow mice. On average, a gopher makes about 1 to 3 mounds per day which is why you want to get rid of gophers right away. Gopher control (not gofer removal )is usually done by a professional pest control company with experience on how to control gophers.

Gopher Damage – Why you need gophers removed
Although gophers can be serious agricultural pests, most of the damage they cause is to landscaping and turf. They feed on many varieties of ornamental plants, and the mounds they make can be unsightly, damaging to turf, and even pose a quite real trip hazard on athletic fields. That trip hazard is also important around horse stables and livestock. The facilities feel it is crucial to perform gopher control to protect their expensive animals from breaking a leg.

Gopher Extermination
The most effective gopher control methods for effective gopher control are burrow fumigants, poison baiting and trapping. Trapping and baiting are options that an ordinary property owner can use with limited success. Burrow fumigants are very effective but are restricted materials, generally only available to and used by licensed professionals to perform gopher control. Burrow fumigants are not the same as the commonly available “smoke bombs” which are not very effective. It is illegal in California to use carbon monoxide from car exhaust or other sources to kill animals including to do gopher control. Baits available to the pest control professional are much higher strength and effective than what is available to a homeowner. The main reason to hire a gopher control expert is the knowledge of what method to use for each situation and proper placement of fumigants and or bait for effective gopher control.

What about flooding to get rid of gophers?
Outside of agricultural settings where a large amount of water can be put on an area in a short period of time and left standing for an extended period of time, this gopher control method has very little practical value for residential uses. The old “garden hose down the hole” method tried by almost everyone who has ever attempted to perform gopher control rarely works and is usually a waste of water and time. It can also cause erosion problems because you do not know where the water is going underground and you may cause significant property damage.

There are no repellents or scaring devices available at the present time that have been proved to protect lawns or other planting sites from pocket gophers. Several plants, such as gopher purge (Euphorbia lathyrus) and cantor bean ( Ricinus communis), have been purported to offer protection for a limited time from ravenous gophers, but these claims have never been proved. If they really worked for gopher control Rodent Guys could just simply spray this everywhere and the gophers would just disappear.

Trying to keep gopher control under control and out of your yard or garden by using physical barriers can sometimes be effective if done on a small scale. Any large project, such as placing fencing around the perimeter of your backyard would be cost prohibitive and would at best only provide short term control. Raised flower beds can be protected by placing a layer of 1/4 inch galvanized hardware cloth under the bed and securing it to the 2×6 wood frame before filling with soil. In reforestation or orchard situations, a “cage” of hardware cloth lining the hole and extending six inches aboveground can give a young tree room to establish a good root system before being exposed to gopher damage.

Six to eight inches of gravel 1 inch or more in diameter around underground utility cables or sprinkler lines may discourage gnawing by gophers.

Legal Status of gophers

Pocket gophers are classified by the California Department of Fish and Game as a nongame mammal. If they are causing damage, they are allowed to get gopher control using gopher traps and poison bait by the owner or tenant of the property or their employees. Any poison bait used must be registered for use in California for use for gopher control.

Rodent Guys Gopher Service
We will come out to get gopher control using the best methods based on each situation. Typically we use tunnel fumigation method to get rid of gophers because of it’s effectiveness where allowed. Depending on tunnel locations sometimes poison baits are used instead of fumigation of tunnels for gopher control. Gopher control is a tough job for the novice, we have a lot of experience with gopher control and will do a thorough job in doing so.

Wikipedia sources


County of LA Ag Commissioner
California Dept of Pesticide

Other University info

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