Every homeowner wants to his/her lawn or garden to look great and that is why they put a lot of hard work and even money to make sure this happens. Unfortunately, gophers can destroy all those hours of hard work and you may lose thousands of dollars that you have spent in the plantings, foundations, irrigation pipes etc. They can be a real nightmare to a homeowner and that is why it is important to learn how to get rid of them.
First you need to understand how they operate. Gophers usually dig burrows that they use to travel from one feed location to the other. These burrows are the battlegrounds that you need to deal with when getting rid of them. Take care of gophers as soon as you can. Note that, before their first birthday female gophers reproduce with one of them bearing even up to 7 offspring. In fact, when the conditions are favorable, each female can bear 5-7 offspring three times a year and before you know it, your lawn will be full of gopher tunnels within a very short time.
- Make sure that you keep gophers out before planting your flowers by putting a wire mesh underneath the flower beds as this will prevent any gophers from burrowing in.
- Always wear cloth gloves (and not latex) when handling gopher traps, so as to avoid contaminating them with your scent.
- Always make sure that you have all the necessary legal permits before setting a trap. Also if you are planning to do live trapping, you should ensure that you have a place to release them before catching them.
How to eliminate them
1) Using gopher traps
- The most popular method of eliminating gophers traps is by using gopher traps. There are two types of traps i.e. live traps (for live trapping) and pincer traps (these kill the gopher). Gopher traps are normally set in pairs.
- First you need to find an opening to an active burrow. Next dig it out enough to allow you to slide 1 trap into the burrow starting with the one facing inwards and then followed by the one that faces outwards. Make sure that you fill in any gaps.
- Using paired traps help to ensure that the gophers are trapped regardless of whether they are going into the burrow or coming out.
- Repeat these steps with all the burrow openings that you can see.
- You may choose to bait them with things like peanut butter, fruits, vegetables if you want to attract them faster to the traps.
2) Poisoning them
This method is also used by many homeowners because it is effective. However, you should be careful with the poisons that you use and in where you use them. The common ones include;
- Strychnine - This is the most effective poison but it also has damaging effects to the overall ecosystem. It not only kills the gopher but also anything that eats it as well as anything that eats the bait grain. It should be used with a lot of caution.
- Zinc phosphide and Chlorophacinone(RoZol) are also used but they are not very effective. Zinc phosphide has the same damaging effects as strychnine but Chlorophacinone has the least threat to the ecosystem.
- It is advisable to place the poisoned bait into the burrow itself at least several feet from its opening. This ensures that the poison does not kill non-target predators.
- In most cases, DIY gopher poisoning does not work but professional methods work. It is advisable to seek professional help especially if the gopher infestation in your home is severe. Professional exterminators are very experienced and they eliminate them completely.