It is that time of year when we notice the pests have invaded our yards over the winter! I am, in part, repeating a previous blog but I am also updating some methods that neighbor Keith has had success with in getting rid of gophers, moles and armadillos…New product info is in bold face.
THE POCKET GOPHER
It’s that time of year when we see the mounds the pocket golfers are actively making. Fortunately, most gophers stay on the vacant land tunneling away…but every so often they make it into a yard. Pocket gophers leave huge mounds (some realty customers new to the area have asked, “Are those ant hills?”) They are not hills full of fire ants! They are pocket gophers…messing up that beautiful landscape! SO what to do about gophers?
I had heard that if you are taking care of your lawn and treating it with chemicals for routine maintenance…you won’t get them—not so! This blog’s information came from various resources- listed at the end of the article.
Pocket gophers, often called gophers, are burrowing rodents that get their name from the fur-lined, external cheek pouches, or pockets, they use for carrying food and nesting materials. Pocket gophers are well equipped for a digging, tunneling lifestyle with their powerfully built forequarters; large-clawed front paws; fine, short fur that doesn’t cake in wet soils; small eyes and ears; and highly sensitive facial whiskers that assist with moving about in the dark. A gopher’s lips also are unusually adapted for their lifestyle; they can close them behind their four large incisor teeth to keep dirt out of their mouths when using their teeth for digging. Gophers are only 10-12 inches long but are capable of digging a tunnel system that may extend for 500 feet or more, although 145 feet is normal. As they dig, they push piles of loose dirt to the surface, characteristic that has earned them the name “sandy mounters.” or salamander. They plug the hills to prevent snakes and other predators from entering.—Judging the mounds we have around Black Diamond, it appears they have no natural enemy to kill them! (I have learned that coyotes and owls go after them—but not many of them here!) Gophers don’t hibernate and are active year-round, although you might not see any fresh mounding. They also can be active at all hours of the day.
Gophers usually live alone within their burrow system, except when females are caring for their young or during breeding season. Gopher densities can be as high as 60 or more per acre. Gophers reach sexual maturity at about 1 year of age and can live up to 3 years. In non-irrigated areas, breeding usually occurs in late winter and early spring, resulting in 1 litter per year; in irrigated sites, gophers can produce up to 3 litters per year. Litters usually average 5 to 6 young.
Pocket gophers often invade yards and gardens, feeding on many garden crops, ornamental plants, vines, shrubs, and trees. A single gopher moving down a garden row can inflict considerable damage in a very short time. Gophers also gnaw and damage plastic water lines and lawn sprinkler systems. Their tunnels can divert and carry off irrigation water, which leads to soil erosion. Mounds on lawns interfere with mowing equipment and ruin the aesthetics of well-kept turf grass.
So what do you do if they invade your land? Which method do you prefer to get rid of them? Poison them? Trap them? Put a repellant down? Gas them? There are many opinions and options… I used several sources for information. To successfully control gophers, the sooner you detect their presence and take control measures the better.
Keith is using poison peanuts. Poison baits can be very effective in killing and controlling gophers on your property. Once applied, you have to keep applying the bait. You have to find the main tunnels by using a probe, checking about a foot away from a fresh mound soil plug and then put the peanuts in. Keith has been using a product called Sweeney’s and I have found the product at Rural King for less than $4. Home Depot also carries it and you can order it online for a variety of prices. Directions on the carton can also help you!
Keith also says:Repellant based on castor oil crystals is moderately effective at driving moles and gophers away. This can be bought at several places. Just spread the repellant on the ground ahead of the apparent path of the gopher mounds or where the moles are active.
Trapping is a safe and effective method for controlling pocket gophers. Several types and brands of gopher traps are available. UKill‘Em in Inverness 352-860-1183 has supplies and trapping services available. https://www.facebook.com/UKillem/. Trapping requires patience and effort and is successful if placed correctly. See detailed directions:
http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/ Gassing gopher holes can work if you know where the active tunnels are established and the tunnels and mounds are not under construction.
- Be sure all children and non-target animals are out of the area prior to using a gasser.
- Do not use gassers indoors or under any type of building, porch, fence or any other structure
- Avoid breathing in gasser cartridge smoke
- Do not use gasser cartridges in areas where grass or other vegetation is very dry as it can catch fire with this method
You may read all this and say….I think I will hire someone!
Moles: you can see their tunnels on top of the land…drill down with a stick to form an opening hole and put in the poison peanuts in the tunnel. Smash down the tunnel runs and then next morning find where there are fresh (active) tunnel runs and then repeat the poison peanut drop.
Keith has found that armadillos do not like paint thinner. So when they burrow on your property put in 1/4-1/2 cup in the hole, throw the dirt back in and they should leave….