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

get rid of yard pests

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

remove gophers

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

gopher removal

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.

How to Identify and Get Rid of Ground Squirrels in Your Garden

ground squirrel traps

If you’re a homeowner, you’re probably well-acquainted with the critters who wreak havoc in your yard. Or at least, maybe you think you are. You might be quick to blame yard damage on groundhogs or gophers when there’s another creature that may be at fault. In today’s post, we’ll be discussing ground squirrels: how to identify them, the problems they might create, and how to trap ground squirrels so that they won’t be able to bug you again.

What Are Ground Squirrels?

When you hear the word “squirrel,” you might picture the gray, brownish-red, or even black creatures that spend much of their time up in the trees. But ground squirrels, like their name suggests, actually tend to stay much lower. In fact, they burrow and tunnel into the earth — and that can spell trouble for your lawn.

While these rodents do look similar to tree squirrels, they’re also often confused with moles or even groundhogs. They’re typically nine to 11 inches long and are brownish-gray in color with speckles or stripes. They have tails, though they are not quite as bushy as the tails of the average tree squirrel.

What Will Ground Squirrels Do To My Yard?

As we mentioned, ground squirrels will burrow and tunnel into your property. They make holes that are approximately four inches in diameter and anywhere from two to four feet deep. That can make your yard look a mess, but it may be even worse than mere aesthetics. Ground squirrels have been known to burrow under stairs, patios, and home foundations, causing immense structural damage and even safety risks to families. They may also chew on your irrigation lines and water sprinkler heads. As a side note, the fleas they carry may also pose a health hazard to humans. These reasons are enough to want to invest in ground squirrel traps or to call a pest removal service that knows how to trap ground squirrels effectively.

What’s The Best Way To Catch Ground Squirrels?

There are various methods to get rid of these pests, including ground squirrel traps and fumigation with ground squirrel poison. However, it’s best to leave this job to the professionals. While the U.S. pest control industry is predicted to bring in $13 billion by 2020, you can rest assured that this is money well-spent. That’s because these methods can be dangerous or difficult to master. If you try to handle it yourself, you’ll more than likely just become frustrated with very little to show for it. Our team knows the best ground squirrel traps and other techniques to use to produce the results you deserve and restore peace to your property.

To find out more about our ground squirrel or gopher removal services, please get in touch with us today.

Keep Out, Critters: How to Deter Gophers From Your Yard

trap a gopherIf you take pride in your property, you’ll understand how infuriating dealing with yard pests can be. That’s especially true when your yard is being invaded with pocket gophers, who tend to evade capture due to their extensive tunnel networks. Knowing how to successfully trap a gopher can be quite tricky; therefore, getting rid of gophers is a task best left to the experts. But are there ways to keep gophers out of your yard from the start? They might not always take heed, but there are a few preventative measures you can take that may help.

How Do I Keep Gophers Out Of My Yard?

  • Set Up Physical Barriers
    Due to the gopher’s ability to burrow, installing physical barriers may not always work. But they can be a good option when you want to protect a specific area of land or specific plants and trees. You can try using what’s called exclusion perimeter fencing to cut off particular areas (such as a vegetable garden) with metal hardware cloth. This will need to be installed two to three feet below grade and six to eight inches above grade around the area’s perimeter to be effective. You can also use mesh wire fencing, wire baskets, or wire root guards to protect individual plants. The openings in this material will prohibit gophers from getting through, provided you install them deep enough. That way, if gophers do find their way into your yard, you’ll still be able to protect the spots you care about most.
  • Use a Repellant
    Gophers really don’t like foul smells. If you use odors to your advantage, you may discourage gophers from taking refuge in your yard. Even if you don’t think you currently have a gopher problem, you can apply a liquid or granular repellant into the soil or any existing burrows or tunnels you’ve seen. In addition to commercial repellants, you may find success with used cat litter or a device that involves a tin can (with both ends removed) and a rag soaked with urine. These options certainly aren’t pleasant, but many gardeners find they do the trick.
  • Plant Some Daffodils
    If you’re a fan of narcissus plants, you may be in luck. Many gardeners have found that planting daffodils on their property have alleviated the need to trap a gopher (or many) entirely. There are certain chemicals that are found naturally in daffodils that are toxic to gophers. They’re actually toxic to other animals too, so if you have curious cats and dogs around, you might want to plant with caution. But if you’re mainly focused on keeping the gophers out, go nuts with these lovely yellow flowers.

How Do I Get Gophers In My Yard Out?

Now, if gophers have already found their way into your yard, you may need to take more drastic action. Instead of trying to trap a gopher yourself, you’ll have better luck if you contact a gopher removal service. While the U.S. pest control industry n the U.S. has around 27,000 businesses currently in operation, gopher removal services are much more specialized — and are generally much more effective at getting rid of gophers the first time.

If you’ve had no success in trying to trap a gopher or several, give us a call. We’ve made this tricky business our central mission, and we know how to get results. For more information, please get in touch with us today.

Holy Gophers: What Homeowners Should Know About Gopher Holes

how to tell if you have gophersAmateur gardeners and yard enthusiasts beware: the gophers are here and they might invade your property at any time. Of the 34 different species of pocket gophers that can be found in the western hemisphere, 13 of them reside in the United States. These little creatures may be kind of cute from afar, but they can wreak havoc on virtually any green space around your home. If you’ve been asking yourself, “Do I have gophers?” you may want to look for the number one telltale sign.

How to Tell if You Have Gophers: Look at the Holes

The yard damage from gophers is pretty distinctive. If you have a gopher problem, you may have already noticed the physical signs; you just may not know who’s responsible for it. The way gophers form their tunnel networks is actually quite impressive — and destructive.

You see, gophers create tunnel systems that consist of many narrow burrows underneath the earth’s surface. These burrows actually lead to even bigger openings that are used to store food or waste, nest, and eat. Their systems of burrows can span anywhere from 200 to 2,000 square feet and can extend six to 18 inches below the ground’s surface — though some of the key areas (like food storage and nesting spots) can be located up to six feet below. And the setup of their tunnels can change constantly as these creatures dig new paths and seal off others. That means you could have a lot of yard damage that you don’t even see!

But creating this underground network does leave visible evidence on the surface, too. When gophers dig these tunnels, they relocate a certain amount of dirt; their teeth and claws are great for digging, but they also cause soil to be thrown up into the air and build up on the other side. This action ends up forming little mounds on top of the ground. They’re shaped sort of like a horseshoe with a little plug that seals the entrance. These mounds can range in size, but they’re typically anywhere from two to three inches across. You might not realize what it is at first, as they look like a circle of dug-up ground among the grass.

So now you know how to tell if you have gophers when you’ve noticed the dirt mounds. But there are other signs you might be dealing with these yard pests. If your sprinkler system or water lines have been destroyed, it’s possible gophers are to blame. Tree damage, particularly in the roots, may also point to gopher activity. And chewed electrical wiring may also be a common way to determine whether you’ve got a gopher infestation.

If you’re ever in doubt and want to have your suspicions confirmed, you should call a gopher removal service. We definitely know how to tell if you have gophers on your property and will come up with an effective plan to get rid of them on the very first try. For more information, get in touch with us today. We’d love to help you improve the look of your lawn and restore your peace of mind.

Why Is My Yard a Gopher Magnet?

remove gophers

If you are reading this, you are asking one of two questions…

Question 1: “I have gophers in my yard. Why do I have gophers?”

It’s pretty simple: your yard is delicious. If your yard has any significant greenery or gardens in it, a gopher is ready to make it into its home.

They eat around 60% of their body weight in vegetation each day, including the roots, trees, grasses, herbs, and flowers in your gardens. If you notice your vegetable garden slowly disappearing and suspect your resident gopher is to blame, you are likely correct.

Gophers also enjoy yards that have soft, diggable soil and few predators around like cats, dogs, or birds of prey. If this sounds like your yard, there’s your answer — you have accidentally created a haven for gophers.

Question 2: “I don’t have gophers, OR I have already had to remove gophers. How do I keep them away?”

If you have had to remove gophers in the past, you know how pesky they are to your garden and yard. If you’re simply being proactive about keeping your green spaces pest-free, good for you; here is how to possibly deter a gopher if you’re worried about one moving into your land and want to avoid eventual gopher removal.

First off, remember that there are many gimmicks and wives’ tales circulating about what gophers don’t like. Suggestions like hot sauce, high frequency noises, and dryer sheets won’t deter or scare away gophers.

The best method for preventing yard damage from gophers is making sure your plants are protected and inaccessible to the underground intruder’s tunnels. The best method for this is planting in alternative spots such a window boxes, planters, and raised beds lined with heavy-duty gopher wire. If food is scarce or difficult to get to, your yard will be much less attractive to the furry pests.

For added gopher insurance, you could try to grow plants around your garden and yard that are theorized to be unattractive or repellant to gophers. One common plant is Euphorbia lathyrism, also called ‘paper spurge’ or ‘gopher plant’. Some people claim other plants such as castor beans, daffodils, marigolds, or oleander are unattractive to gophers, although the evidence is mostly anecdotal.

Still have questions? Still concerned about past, present, or future gopher issues plaguing your yard? Smith’s Gopher Trapping has all the answers you need with the experience to back those answers up.

Everything New Homeowners Need to Know About Gophers

If you’ve seen the classic golfing movie Caddyshack, you’re familiar with the damage gophers can cause. The tiny rodents may not be as cute and cuddly as the one Bill Murray faced off against, but their ability to dig tunnels and wreak havoc on your lovingly cared for lawn and gardens is accurate. New homeowners are especially susceptible to the common pests as they may not be prepared for the fallout or know how to remove gophers. With the basic know-how, you can tackle the beasts head on and avoid yard damage from gophers.

To Defeat Your Enemy, You Must First Understand Them

You have to know what you’re up against before you can move forward. With an average lifespan of one and three years, the same little guy can cause damage over several seasons. Their tunnels can span between 200 and 2,000 feet, depending on how much time went by before you decided you needed to find a gopher removal service — that could cover the entirety of your yard and even cross over into a neighbor’s. It’s better to keep an eye out for any and all signs of gopher damage so you can jump on the problem before it really becomes a problem.

Warning Signs

Since gophers eat around 60% of their body weight in plant matter every single day, odds are you’re going to discover evidence of their habits without even knowing what you’re looking at. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • gopher mounds: admittedly the most identifiable, these kidney-shaped piles of soil denote tunnel entrances
  • girdled or clipped vegetation
  • root damage or root exposure
  • water collection on surface: indicative of poor irrigation due to the existence of tunnels beneath the grass/surface
  • gnawed sprinkler or electrical lines

So You’ve Got a Gopher Problem, What Now?

You don’t need to lose your mind on a one-man mission to remove gophers from your yard like in Caddyshack. There are plenty of gopher abatement and gopher trapping services in this country as gophers are found just about everywhere, including humane services which protect the rodents and release them into uninhabited areas where they can tear up the ground to their heart’s desire. Do your research and find one that fits your lifestyle and budget, and enjoy your lawn and garden in all its pristine glory.