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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.