What are Pocket Gophers?
Pocket gophers are medium sized burrowing rodents, often confused with moles. They get their name from the fur lined external pockets on the sides of their cheeks. Pocket gophers are a common yard pest, leaving behind unsightly mounds and eating plants and flowers.
*If you are not sure whether your pest is a pocket gopher, or you would like to find out more about pocket gopher behavior, please first read our article on Pocket Gopher Identification & Biology
Get Rid of Pocket Gophers
Pocket gopher control can be tricky. Before you can control and eliminate these pests (no matter what method you choose) you must locate them. The most effective way to do this is to "probe" the tunnels. You can either purchase a probe from your local garden center or use a bluntly pointed broom or shovel handle or thin piece of pipe.
How to Probe for Burrows
First, locate areas of recent gopher activity based on fresh mounds with dark, moist soil. Fresh mounds that are visible above ground are the plugged entrance tunnels. The main burrow or living chamber can be located by probing about 8 to 12 inches from the plug side of the mound; it is usually located 6 to 12 inches deep. When the probe penetrates the gopher's burrow, there will be a sudden, noticeable drop of about 2 inches. You may have to probe repeatedly to locate the gopher's main burrow. Because tunnels may not be reused by the gopher, trapping and baiting in them is not as successful as in the main burrow.
Methods of Pocket Gopher Control
After locating the burrow, any one of the following methods may be used for gopher removal.
- Gassing. After locating the burrow, you need to gas the gophers out and into an awaiting trap. Gassing can be difficult. For gassing to be effective the pocket gopher must be home at the time of application. Using Giant Destroyers (as described on the label instructions) is a good choice if you can locate the main burrow, the gopher is home, and you have just a few gophers to get rid of.
- Baiting. Place several bait pellets or blox throughout the gopher runway by removng a plug of earth, lowering the bait, and then filling the plug. We reccommend ZP Rodent Bait or Talpirid Mole Bait. Both will work for pocket gophers.
- Dr. T's Whole Control gopher repellent is another ground burrowing rodent product. Whole Control works by coating the rodent's food with a castor oil substance. This causes stomach upset and eventually encourages these rodents to move on. Whole Control is applied using a hose end sprayer (comes with product).
Pocket Gopher Identification & Biology