Holy Moly: Here’s the Biggest Sign You’ve Got Gophers

how to tell if you have gophers

Do I Have Gophers?

That’s one question that no homeowner wants to ask themselves — but it’s an important one to answer. While a single gopher lives only one to three years, they can wreak a lot of havoc during that time. It’s essential to know how to tell if you have gophers so that you can take care of the problem as soon as possible. Otherwise, your yard might be done for.

Here’s how to tell if you have gophers: the holes, mounds, and tunnels they make.

 

Of course, gophers aren’t the only creatures who burrow underneath the earth and create holes in the ground. Woodchucks, moles, voles, and other critters dig in the dirt and cause damage to your lawn, too. But a gopher problem presents more than just an aesthetic issue. Gophers can also chew through your water and sprinkler lines, your irrigation pipes, and even your underground cabling. Not only will that make your yard look a mess, but it’ll cost you a lot to fix and could also cause a safety hazard for your family. But if you can learn to identify the particular kind of damage that gophers cause, you’ll be able to know in an instant whether they’re on your property. Once you know that, you can contact your gopher removal services for assistance — hopefully, before they do irreparable harm.

 

You might assume that you’d know a gopher hole by its obvious appearance. But it can be hard to know how to tell if you have gophers because the entrances to their tunnels don’t really look like holes at all. In fact, they’re referred to as gopher mounds because of how the gopher disturbs the soil as he tunnels through the dirt. His powerful little legs force the loose earth back up to the surface, which creates circular mounds of dirt amongst your healthy grass. When the soil is easy to dig through, gophers can create several of these mounds each and every day.

 

Although their underground tunnel system can be extensive, you’ll probably never see evidence of it on the surface. That’s why these telltale mounds are actually your best clue to the gopher’s presence in your yard. If you see little fan-shaped spots of freshly dug soil around your lawn, your gopher senses should start to tingle. If you’ve never encountered gophers before, you may not feel confident that you know how to tell if you have gophers — but at the very least, you’re likely dealing with a creature who shouldn’t be there.

 

More than likely, you’ll also notice the destruction of your grasses, plants, trees, and flowers. And certainly, if your water lines have been destroyed and you’ve taken note of other yard damage, you’ll probably need to invest in getting rid of gophers right away. Typically, the mounds are the surest sign of gopher activity; coupled with the other components, you’ll probably have all the proof you need.

 

Think you’ve got gophers in your yard? That’s what we’re here for. Gophers are notoriously difficult to get rid of, especially for amateurs, which is why we’ve made it our main mission. You don’t have to face the frustration of relentless yard pests. We’ll make certain that our encounter with gophers in your yard will be the last encounter they’ll have with anyone. For more information on our methods and our other pest removal services, please get in touch with us today.

Anatomy Of A Ground Squirrel: What Separates Them From Chipmunks And Tree Squirrels

getting rid of ground squirrels

Ground squirrels are some of the most pervasive pests in California. They ruin the look and appearance of your lawn, but worse yet, but they can also lead to significant problems in your home’s foundation.

But how do you identify a fast-moving ground squirrel? And how do they differ from other similar species like tree squirrels and chipmunks? In California, all three of these common mammalian pests are prevalent, though you might only find yourself asking how to catch a ground squirrel.

Anatomy of a ground squirrel

There are prominent visual identifiers that help you determine whether you’re dealing with a ground squirrel, chipmunk, or tree squirrel.

Ground squirrels have stripes down their back that mimic the overall appearance of a chipmunk, but a ground squirrel lacks the identifiable head stripes present on chipmunks. Additionally, these two mammals are similar in size, ranging from eight to 12 inches, though chipmunks can be as small as six inches while fully grown. By comparison, an eastern gray squirrel will be much larger, typically ranging from 12 to 20 inches in length. Gray squirrels will also have a large, bushy tail and monochromatic gray coat. These squirrels are often mixed up with ground squirrels because of the ground squirrel’s semi-bushy tail. A key element to visually identifying a ground squirrel is the presence of a white circle around the animal’s eyes.

Differences in behavior

Ground squirrels and tree squirrels are found throughout California. Though ground squirrels typically prefer farmland, they have also pervaded suburban areas to feast on green grasses and ornamental plants many homeowners grow in their yards.

Unlike tree squirrels, who live in the branches of high trees, ground squirrels are a burrowing animal that makes their home beneath the earth. Some burrows can reach up to 30 feet long and as deep as two to four feet. This is also similar to gophers who can make tunnels as long as 2,000 square feet. As such, getting rid of ground squirrels isn’t always easy.

As they form intricate tunnels throughout your lawn or farmland, this can cause danger to your home’s foundation and create ugly raises in your yard. To avoid danger, ground squirrels rarely move more than 50 feet from their burrow, while tree squirrels will venture out miles since they can escape predation in trees.

The trouble with ground squirrels

If you’re having trouble identifying a ground squirrel from a chipmunk or tree squirrel, spooking the animal the best way to determine what type of pest you have. A squirrel will typically find shelter up a tree. A chipmunk will run to shrubbery. A ground squirrel cannot climb and will run to its burrow for cover.

The best way to catch ground squirrels is by relying on the help of a pest control service. Getting rid of ground squirrels can be done through a variety of methods, including ground squirrel traps, ground squirrel repellant, and ground squirrel control poison. You should never try to use these methods of getting rid of ground squirrels on your own. Call Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service when you want to preserve your lawn and home today.

5 Ways to Prevent Property Pests This Fall

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Now that the temperatures outside are dropping, many animals are thinking to themselves, “how can I stay warm and cozy this winter?”Unfortunately for you, these creatures might choose to take refuge on your property. Whether they hunker down underground or actually make their way into your house, their presence can cause a lot of issues for your family. Even if you’re a bleeding heart who would love to care for every living thing, allowing wild animals to move in can pose a huge health and safety risk. That’s why it’s important to prevent and get rid of yard pests now before the cold really sets in. Here are just five things you can do this fall to prevent property pests.

  1. Trim Back Trees and Bushes: You don’t want to make your yard or home more inviting than it already is — at least, not to wild animals. If your trees and shrubs are overgrown (particularly if they’re close to your home), you’ll make it a lot easier for animals to get onto your roof or find another way in. You may also be providing food for certain unwanted creatures, which could encourage them to stick around. Although it’s not the best idea to prune trees in the fall, it’s still a better idea than letting your yard go wild!
  2. Inspect Insulation and Crawl Spaces: As the temperatures become chillier, it’s a good idea to assess whether your insulation is up to snuff. That way, you’ll be able to save as much as possible on your heating bills. But it’s also a good idea to check these areas because crawlspaces, basements, and attics are all prone to animal activity. You’ll want to look for nests, droppings, and other signs of pests. If you find any, you’ll want to call a pest control company — and make sure you seal any holes you find.
  3. Switch Up Your Storage Methods: If you keep a stack of firewood next to your home or keep your recycling and garbage bins in a non-secure area, you may need to get rid of yard pests in the near future. Termites, ants, raccoons, and even bears may be attracted to these areas if you aren’t careful. Move your firewood at least three feet away from your home and switch to more secure bins. Don’t move your garbage or recycling totes out of your closed garage until the morning it’s being collected to keep wild animals away.
  4. Assess Your Yard: None of us want animals to move into our homes and we don’t want them in the yard, either. Autumn is actually a good time to remove gophers and other creatures since their activity levels are a bit higher due to the need to gather food. Take a look around your property and see if you have obvious signs of yard damage from gophers or other creatures. If you see any telltale mounds, you’ll want to contact a gopher removal service to take care of the problem now.
  5. Call Your Pest Control Company: There are a lot of preventative methods homeowners can take to secure their properties. But in the end, animals might still find their way in. The U.S. pest control industry grew by 2.9% from 2012 to 2017, possibly because humans continue to expand and infringe on wildlife habitats. That may mean you’ll end up needing to get rid of yard pests sometime this year. If you do, it’s best to be proactive. Otherwise, you may end up with unexpected tenants for a long winter ahead.

 

When you need to get rid of yard pests like gophers and ground squirrels, we’re here to help. For more information, please contact us today.

Risky Rodents: Why Gophers Are a Hazard To Your Homestead

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Gophers may look cute and cuddly from afar, but the truth is that they can wreak havoc if they decide to make your yard their home. They can do extensive damage your lawn, flowers, and trees, of course. But they can also be a huge hazard to your family’s health and safety. That’s why it’s so important to call one of the 27,000 pest control businesses currently operating in the U.S. if you think you’ve got a gopher problem. Want to learn more about the potential risks gophers present? Read on.

Gopher mounds can lead to human injury.

The yard damage from gophers isn’t pleasant to look at, but the aesthetics aren’t the only problem. Gophers create dirt mounds during their normal activities, and these mounds of dirt can be downright dangerous. These mounds are hollow, and if you accidentally step in one, you could easily twist an ankle or sustain another injury. This risk is even greater for young children, as they could possibly break a leg if they accidentally step in one of these mounds. There’s even potential for a gopher bite to occur if you step in the wrong spot. If you want to keep your yard safe, you’ve got to get rid of gophers that inhabit it.

Gophers may cut lines and wires.

Gophers don’t only chew through grass and tree roots. They can also make their way through important components, such as your water lines, sprinkler systems, or utility cables. At best, this can be a colossal nuisance that requires expensive replacement. Your life will be disrupted and your health could possibly suffer as a result of your water or utility lines being inexplicably cut. Your family shouldn’t have to deal with this disruption, which is yet another reason to remove gophers as soon as you realize you have a problem.

Gophers can carry diseases.

There’s another reason to get rid of gophers: they could threaten the health of your family. While it’s relatively rare for a gopher to give rabies to a human, they are capable of doing so. Gophers don’t often come into direct contact with humans, which is why it’s so unlikely you could contract rabies from them. However, the risk still exists. They can carry other diseases as well, such as leptospirosis and even the plague. And if you are bitten by a gopher, the chances of you catching one of these diseases isn’t quite so rare. That’s why you should choose to work with a reliable service for gopher trapping San Francisco families can rely on, rather than trying to DIY your gopher removal.

Now that you know the risks, you probably understand why it’s so important to get rid of gophers right away. Not only will your yard look better, but your family will be protected from harm. To find out how we can help, please contact us today.

Got Gophers? Why Gophers Can Be A Problem For Your Yard

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There are thirteen different types of gopher species that reside in the United States, meaning there are plenty of different types of these little troublemaking creatures that could be wreaking havoc on your yard. What’s so dangerous about these critters? Read on to learn just a few reasons you should remove gophers from your yard if they’ve decided to set up shop there.

 

  • Unsightly gopher holes: It’s no secret that gopher holes are a bad look for any yard. The unsightly mounds of dirt can pop up throughout your garden or yard. If you see dirt “tracks” from burrowing, however, you might not actually have a gopher problem; these are signs of moles, not gophers, since gophers burrow deep under the ground.
  • Damage to your plants: Gophers burrow about six to eight inches underground, exactly at the level to damage the roots of plants in your garden or yard. If you have a gopher problem, it’s likely that your vegetable garden will have a problem too, since damaged roots mean unhealthy plants.
  • Damage to irrigation: Gophers can do more than just damage the roots of your plants. They can also divert irrigation systems away from the parts of your yard that need it, leaving your plants dehydrated.
  • Plumbing, electric, and other underground utilities: Probably the most important reason to get rid of gophers is the damage they can do to your underground utilities. Gophers are notorious for chewing through plastic. This can severely damage your plumbing or electrical systems, leading to an expensive repair in your future. Even then, without removing gophers from your yard, the problem is likely to occur again after you’ve made repairs.

Gophers can be incredibly damaging to your home and yard, making them incredibly important to handle as quickly as possible. Typically, the best plan to remove them is to trap them and move them elsewhere, where they won’t be a nuisance on your property. Looking for a gopher removal service to trap gophers in your yard? Contact Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service to ask about the best way to remove gophers from your yard.

Gophers Gone Wild: What to do When You Have Uninvited Yard Guests

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As a homeowner, you put a lot of thought, time, effort, and money into your yard. Whether you’re the guru of gardening or the barbecuer to beat, you take pride in your pristine yard.

So, if you were out pulling weeds by your backyard fence and noticed some odd looking mounds of dirt but no holes, you might be experiencing yard damage from gophers.

If you are trying to get rid of yard pests, one of the telltale ways to know you have a gopher problem is to look for tunnels or holes that are covered by mounds of dirt. Gophers do not leave the openings to their burrows open; an effective way to know if that particular tunnel is being actively used by gophers is to partially remove the dirt from the hole and, if it is covered up again in a day or two, you know your culprit is using that hole.

Here are three facts about gopher damage to know:

1. Gophers can cause damage to farm equipment when they burrow in fields. They will interfere with crop fields, irrigation systems, and the drainage and appearance of your lawn and garden.

2. Gophers use their burrows to hoard food. They consume over half of their own body weight each day. That being said, they could be damaging your lawn by stripping your fruit and vegetable garden, your grass, and the leaves off of your shrubbery.

3. Even if you suspect your lawn has been seized by only one or two gophers, they could still be around for one to three years, which is the average gophers’ lifespan.

Okay, so now you are ready to call the gopher exterminator. Having getting rid of your yard pests on your to-do list can be a real headache, so here are some common gopher abatement methods that your local gopher removal experts can help with.

Non-lethal preventative measures. 

These non-lethal measures are options that allow you to attempt to chase gophers from your yard. You may choose these measures if you have children or pets in your home that are frequently outside. Granular repellents and yard sprays contain tastes and smells that are highly repulsive to gophers, chasing them from your property without killing them. An additional option is sonic spikes, which are staked into the soil and emit sonic pulses every 30 seconds. The pulses drive the gophers out of your yard in a week or two and discourage them from returning.

Trap elimination.

Traps will swiftly and effectively eliminate your gopher problem with no poisons or chemicals involved, as long as the traps are placed in active gopher tunnels. Traps are durable enough for repeated uses. Gophers that are caught in traps do not suffer any pain and can be removed by your local exterminator.

Poison elimination. 

Poison is another popular extermination method that is quick and humane to get rid of yard pests. After the gophers consume the poison, they are quickly killed. Simply watch for an active tunnel and place the bait inside it, then wait. However, poison should never be used in an environment where pets and children frequently play in your yard. If that is the case, stick with repelling measures and traps.

So you were successful in your attempt to get rid of yard pests. Hurray! Even though you can now take the steps to repair the lawn that you have put so much time and effort into, it is important to incorporate some active preventative measures into your yard recovery. Keep in mind that no gopher prevention method is foolproof since the pests can burrow deeply under the surface to reenter your space. It will help to protect your garden with plastic netting or in raised planter boxes to make it difficult for gophers to access food.

After you get rid of yard pests, you may feel frustrated that you have almost no control over whether or not gophers rear their ugly head in your yard again. Just remain proactive in your yard, checking constantly for signs of burrowing or eating, to keep your lawn and yard healthy, beautiful, and pest free.

3 Dangers of Gopher Poison and How to Avoid Them

ground squirrel control poison

Gopher abatement and elimination is no easy task. Even the most diligent trapper can have difficulty getting rid of gophers — they live up to three years, and in that time can produce up to two litters of four offspring each. Sometimes, poison might seem like the best solution for eliminating these pests. Here are three risks to be mindful of when using ground squirrel control poison.

Gopher Poison: The Dangers

 

  1. It can kill your pets
    Unfortunately, gopher poison does not discriminate. Designed to damage the biological function of these burrowing mammals, ground squirrel control poison can also sicken pets. Chemical poisoning from common gopher control substances, like strychnine and zinc phosphide, can be fatal if the warning symptoms in pets go unnoticed. Strychnine also poses a risk of secondary poisoning, meaning that a pet that eats a poisoned gopher can still be harmed.
  2. It can make you or your kids sick
    Clearly, anyone would avoid eating gopher poison at all costs, and would take steps to keep children away. However, these chemicals can also impact humans even if they are not ingested. Strychnine will not damage plants, but it is not recommended for use near vegetable gardens or fruit trees that humans might eat from. Furthermore, if your pet ingests zinc phosphide and then vomits, the combination of the chemical with stomach acid produces a gas that will sicken humans if inhaled.
  3. Cleanup can be complicated
    Once a ground squirrel ingests poison, it can take several hours to die. This means that the animal carcass can end up anywhere on or under your lawn. Not only is the smell of dead animal unpleasant, but it can grow harmful bacteria and attract other unwanted pests, making cleanup a revolting health hazard.

 

Eliminating Gophers Safely:

 

  1. Try trapping gophers
    Trapping burrowing animals can be difficult because their complex networks of tunnels can help them avoid traps. However, professional gopher removal services have methods to ensure traps are effective, while being safer for your family.
  2. Bury poison where pets and children cannot reach
    If ground squirrel poison is necessary, take steps to ensure only ground squirrels come in contact with it. If you plan to use bait underground, make it inaccessible from the surface with sod and with a weight or heavy item, such as a cinder block. Keep pets contained, supervise children outside, and mark the area with yard flags until the bait is removed.
  3. Follow all instructions carefully
    Ground squirrel control poisons are potent, and there is no need to use more than the instructions recommend. No matter how bad your rodent problem is, a child or pet falling ill would be far worse. Use labels to figure out how much bait you need, and to understand proper disposal methods.

While gophers are tough to eliminate, safe use of posion and alternative methods can keep your family and your yard safe and happy.

Natural Pest Control: 5 Plants to Grow in Your Garden

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Some days, garden and lawn pests of all kinds make keeping a pleasant yard seem impossible. From mosquitoes to woodchucks, critters love to wreck your backyard. It can be tempting to immediately call an exterminator or gopher removal service to set out poison and traps. However, while these methods are effective, they can be made more effective when used in tandem with smart gardening. These five plants can make your yard more inviting to friends and family, and less tempting for unwanted guests from the wild:

 

    1. Basil
      Basil’s strong scent is pleasant to the human nose, but to flies and mosquitoes, the smell is overpowering. Plant basil in pots or in rows surrounding porches and outdoor dining areas to help keep flying insects away. As a bonus, you have a great home-grown herb to cook with!
    2. Mint
      Another sweet-smelling and useful herb, mint can deter a multitude of pests that might attack your garden or your home. Plant mint to keep aphids and cabbage moths from hurting vegetables, and use in window boxes or around porches to deter ants. Keep in mind that mint grows rapidly and can quickly take over a garden if not contained.
    3. Onions
      Onions and related plants make human eyes water when cut, so it is unsurprising that they are particularly unpleasant to mammalian yard invaders. While gophers enjoy eating roots, herbaceous plants, trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers, onions can be planted strategically to help remove gophers, or to at least ward them away from other, more tempting crops. Some say onion bulbs also create physical barriers for burrowing pests.
    4. Marigolds A multipurpose plant, marigold flowers have been known to help deter mosquitoes, remove gophers, repel slugs and invasive worms while attracting good pollinators, like bees. They are sweet-smelling, long-blooming, and colorful, making them a great addition to any flower garden.
    5. Lavender
      The strong smell of lavender can cover the smells of your vegetables. This prevents your veggies from attracting all sorts of hungry invaders, like carrot rust flies and cabbage moths. Like marigolds, lavender will attract the good guys, from bees to butterflies. The scent of lavender is also known to relieve headaches and help improve your quality of sleep.

While plants alone cannot get rid of yard pests, they can certainly help. Whether you’re looking to eliminate gophers and rabbits or mosquitoes and aphids, working with your lawn’s natural environment can be a good first step.

 

Popular Ground Squirrel Prevention and Removal Methods To Know

getting rid of ground squirrels

If you’ve never had rodent problems in the past, you might not think that getting rid of ground squirrels is that mammoth a task. But anyone who’s ever dealt with an infestation knows that knowing how to get rid of ground squirrels is anything but easy. There are a lot of techniques out there — and some are more effective than others. Most homeowners find that it’s better to leave getting rid of ground squirrels to the professionals. But just in case you want to know about all of your options, this post will detail the most popular methods for prevention and removal of these furry pests.

Keeping Ground Squirrels Away

Before ground squirrels try to take over your property, you may be able to dissuade them from moving in by utilizing one or more of these preventative methods. Here are a few you can try:

  • Fencing
    You can install a metal exclusion barrier around certain trees, flower beds, or areas in your garden to keep ground squirrels and other pests out. This fencing will typically be made of hardware cloth or even sheet metal. Keep in mind that it will need to be buried around six inches into the ground and must be approximately 18 inches high. This can keep squirrels from digging in these spots, but it’s not an effective choice if your entire property needs to be protected.

 

  • Motion-Sensing Sprinklers
    If you aren’t crazy about installing anything permanent or using traps or toxins, you could always try using sprinklers with motion sensor technology. It’s not necessarily the most effective way, particularly because you won’t always know where these animals will be — and you don’t want to risk overwatering your lawn. But the sudden stream of water might scare them away and may dissuade them from being in certain areas of your yard.

 

  • Repellant
    You can invest in commercial ground squirrel repellents to keep these critters out. There are several different gels, creams, and sprays on the market that have a bitter taste or that mimic the smell of their natural predators. They tend to stay away from certain areas when they know something tastes bad or if they fear they might be eaten.

 

  • Vegetative Help
    It might sound odd considering that ground squirrels tend to like eating plants, but there are a couple of vegetative elements that could help you to keep them out. They actually don’t like mint, so planting this herb could keep them away. (Lavender may help, too!) Ground squirrels don’t like spice either. You might want to consider using a cayenne pepper spray around your home’s foundation or even adding ground cayenne peppers to your bird feeder to keep ground squirrels from feasting on birdseed.

Getting Rid of Ground Squirrels For Good

While some of the methods mentioned above may lessen the likelihood that you’ll need to think about getting rid of ground squirrels, they may not do the trick — especially once they start to invade. Here are some removal techniques to consider:

  • Water Hose
    Some people will simply take their garden hose, find the holes made by ground squirrels, and turn on the water valve. But aside from being less humane, it’s also incredibly time-consuming and may not even pay off in the end.

 

  • Traps
    Some ground squirrel traps are humane while others are meant to kill once the animals are caught. It’s fairly cost-effective and is a popular option when you know you’ve got a ground squirrel problem. And while it’s arguably the best way to catch ground squirrels, it’s often used in conjunction with other techniques.

 

  • Poison Gas
    Gas fumigation may sound extreme, but it may be the only way to go in certain cases. While it’s a safe method for humans, it’s still best to leave it up to the professionals. Considering that the U.S. pest control industry grew by 2.9% from 2012 to 2017, it’s likely many families have decided that getting rid of ground squirrels might not be their calling. Fortunately, ground squirrel poisons are quite effective when administered correctly.

With so many methods out there for you to try, getting rid of ground squirrels might seem totally overwhelming. That’s where we come in. For more information on how our services can restore peace to your property, contact us today.

3 Benefits of Humane Gopher Removal

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When you’re dealing with yard pests, the thought of simply getting rid of the problem is likely foremost in your brain. While these animals can be pretty cute, they can totally destroy your property and even present a safety hazard to your family. However, opting for a more humane method is usually a lot better than choosing the most extreme option available. Not only will you have better peace of mind, but you’ll also be able to benefit from the three following points.

Why Choose a Humane Gopher Removal Service?

    1. It’s safer: DIYing your pest removal tends to pose some kind of safety risk. A gopher may not bite you or sting you, but tripping over one of their burrows could cause injury. And while disease transmission from gophers is rare, it’s not impossible. Alternative methods of gopher trapping may also pose a danger, particularly if toxic chemicals are used. It’s always best to contact the professionals who know how to remove gophers in a way that minimizes the potential for harm to both your family and to the animals themselves.
    2. It’s more effective: When homeowners try to kill or trap gophers themselves, they typically only see the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It might make you feel accomplished for a little while, but other animals will soon take their place. And considering that gophers create networks of burrows and tunnels that can reach 200 to 2,000 square feet, there’s no real way that you can compete with what a humane gopher removal service can offer. These professionals make it their mission to get it right the first time, meaning that the problem will be solved for the long-term and that the chances of these creatures returning will be slim to none. 
    3. It lessens environmental impact: If you use poisons to get rid of gophers or hire a company that does not use humane methods, you’ll need to consider that you could damage your property — and the surrounding ecosystem — even more. Toxins that seep into the soil can pose immense harm to other wildlife. While you may not welcome gophers onto your property, they do play an important role in the planet’s biodiversity. Working with a company that promotes humane pest removal will ensure that you minimize environmental impact and that you’ll pose no unnecessary harm in the process.

Our gopher removal methods can produce safe, superior results without harming the environment. Please contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.