Gopher Control Products
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Gophers are often called pocket gophers because of their external cheek pouches that are lined with fur. They use these cheek pouches, or pockets, to carry the materials that they need for feeding or nesting. Gophers cause significant damage as they feed on plants and trees when they invade yards. They can also gnaw on wires and sprinkler systems. This is mainly due to their powerful ability to dig tunnels and create channels underground. Gophers are often confused with moles because of their habit of leaving behind frustrating mounds in yards.
The size of gophers will depend on the species but they range anywhere from 6 to 10 inches long. Also, depending on the species, the color of the gopher will be different. Most gophers are a yellowish brown or a tan color, but some species may even be black. The fur of gophers is fine and the hairs remain very short. Gophers are known to have very small, beady eyes. Also, although they possess ears, the ears of gophers are extremely small and do not protrude out of their heads which may help in differentiating it from mice or rats. Also, gophers possess facial whiskers that are very sensitive and will use it to alert it of changes that are made to its tunnel. For instance, if a person digs out the tunnel and the tunnel is open or wider than usual, the gopher will know from the surrounding changes that alert him through his whiskers. Gophers are also known for the powerfully built front portion of the body. Also, both feet and arms have heavy claws that are fit for digging, although the front claws are a little bit longer than the claws on the feet. They do have tails, but the tails of gophers are very short, thick and hairless. Another key physical characteristic that will help identify gophers are their teeth. Gophers have four large front teeth (2 on top and 2 on the bottom) that are made to gnaw through wires, feet on roots and plants, and cause other damage to the yards of residential areas.
Gophers live in burrow systems underground that can cover an area up to 2,000 square feet. The size of the tunnels range from 2.5 to 3.5 inches and are usually 6 to 12 inches below the surface. However, their nests and the chambers that they store their food in are as deep as 6 feet underground. Gophers remain active all year and do not have hibernating tendencies. It is said that gophers will spend around 95% of their entire lifespan underground and will only come up to check for food. Not only are they active all year long, but they can remain active all day. Typically, gophers are not social animals and will remain solitary except for during mating cycles or during the time period when females are looking after their young. Although gophers are solitary animals, there can be concentrations of about 16 to 20 gophers in one area.
Damage done by gophers can often times be stressful because they ruin the aesthetics of a yard or garden. They ruin gardens and yards when they invade because they feed on a variety of garden crops, vines, shrubs, trees, roots, and other ornamental plants. Just one gopher can create a large amount of damage in just a short amount of time. Gophers can also potentially cause soil erosion because they can dig tunnels through the ground and divert irrigation water. Not only do they feed on plants and other plant materials, but gophers are known to gnaw at and ultimately damage water lines that are made from plastic and also sprinkler systems.
Gophers often invade lawns, gardens, and flowerbeds. They feed on such plants like alfalfa, dandelions, stems and roots of flowers and trees, seeds, and will damage root vegetables like carrots, tubers and bulbs.
How to Get Rid of Gophers
Gopher control is the most effective the sooner you find their presence. Control measures will typically consist of trapping or baiting. However, before any trapping or baiting takes place, it is the best to locate them underground by probing through their tunnels.
- Probing for gopher burrows: It is important to look for fresh mounds that are show dark and moist dirt. This will alert you for recent gopher activity. You can find plugged entrance holes on mounds that protrude above ground. To find the main burrow that the gopher uses, probe about 8 to 12 inches from the main entrance hole and about 6 to 12 inches deep. It may take several attempts at locating the burrow.
After the burrow is located, there are several ways a homeowner can kill gophers that have already invaded the yard or prevent future invasions.
- Baiting: The key to successful baiting programs are going to be the placement of the bait poisons. Gophers do not often return to lateral tunnels so it is important that baits are placed in the main tunnel. Remove a plug of dirt above the tunnel and then lower the bait. After you have lowered the bait, you can fill in the plug.
- Fumigation: Many people say that fumigation or using gas cartridges are difficult because all the correct circumstances must be timed in an almost perfect manner. In other words, you must probe to find the main tunnel and the main burrow. Moreover, the gopher must be in the main burrow for gassing to be effective. However, if all circumstances are met, find the main burrow, plug in the rodent bomb, and ignite it so that the gas will release from the smoke bomb. It is important to read the label carefully before using fumigation products.
- Trapping: Traps may be the safest and one of the more effective methods of controlling gophers. To set traps, the main tunnel must be located by probing. Open the tunnel wide enough to set in the traps. Traps should be set in pairs. In other words, each trap should open face in opposite directions so that you will be able to trap a gopher that is coming from either side of the tunnel. Traps should be wired to stakes so that retrieval is easier. It is not necessary to use baits inside the traps that are set, however, it may provide faster results. Once traps are set, remove outside light by covering the top with materials like plywood and dirt, cardboard and dirt, sod, canvas cloth and dirt or dirt clods. If you have not captured a gopher within 3 days, reset the traps and place them together in the same manner in a new location.
Remember that gopher control may be tedious but it is important to remain patient when you are trying to get rid of an invasion. If there are any questions on products, feel free to contact a representative at Pest Mall via e-mail or phone at 1-800-788-4142.
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