Dealing with Gophers

It’s easy to tell when you have a gopher problem in your lawn or garden; little dirt mounds begin appearing, usually surrounding little holes that moles or gophers call home. Many people are tempted to use poisons or other toxic chemicals to deal with subterranean dwellers that ruin the appearance of their lawns, but this is not necessary; there are plenty of non-toxic ways of dealing with underground vertebrate pests that are more affordable and less harmful to other beings than chemical treatments.

  • Predators. Using the natural enemies of the gopher or mole to deal with them is often a very effective means of reducing their impact on your yard. The great news is that these guys are at the very bottom of the food chain, so just about any carnivore you choose will reduce their numbers. Dogs and cats are two domesticated animals that are natural mole and gopher predators. King snakes can be found in many pet stores, and are very effective as they can be released directly into gopher holes and will take care of the pests right in their own homes. Hawks and other birds of prey are less reliable, but if they are around you might see your gopher problems shrink rapidly.

  • Traps. There are several different ways of trapping gophers in order to deal with them. Snares can be set up at the top of gopher holes, as can traps which function in much the same way as a mouse trap, but are set up vertically.
  • Underground exterminator. These are found in garden stores and in the arsenal of pest control companies across the country. Basically, a hose fits onto your car exhaust pipe and is then put down the gopher hole. Running the car creates carbon monoxide gas, which will kill the gophers in their burrows.
  • Repellant smells. Non lethal ways of dealing with gophers include setting up smells which will cause gophers to leave your lawn alone. Human hair and hair from other predators (dogs and cats) is especially repellant to gophers and will have them heading for the hills. Rotten egg smells also tend to work well, as does a combination of sesame oil and garlic. All of these smell repellants need to be placed down the gopher hole as far as possible to be effective.
  • Irritate the heck out of them. Gophers are the senior citizens of the pest world, and will quickly abandon an area where loud music disturbs their peace. Put a speaker on the ground where you want them to leave and pump out the Pavarotti, and they will get the message.

Remember, one of the worst things you can do to control a gopher problem is use poisons. These poisons may kill the gophers, but they will also kill many other animals that aren’t targets and also pose a threat to you and your family, not to mention your soil quality. Natural approaches to gopher control as applied by you or better yet the neighborhood pest control company will work well, every time.

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