3 Common Yard Pests Homeowners Should Know About

how to get rid of ground squirrels

When homeowners put a lot of time and effort in making their yard look nice, pests can be extremely bothersome. They can destroy the ground, plants, trees, and more. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to tell which pests you should be worried about. So let’s take a look at a few common mammal pests you should be aware of.




While they’re certainly beautiful creatures, deer can cause a lot of damage in a yard. They eat plants, vegetables, bushes, and trees. They can even cause damage to trees when they rub up against them with their antlers. Fortunately, deer are fairly easy to keep out of your yard. Installing fences can make it more difficult for deer to enter certain areas. Furthermore, planting deer-resistant plants and shrubs can make it so they’re not tempted to enter your yard in the first place.


Squirrels and Rabbits


Squirrels and rabbits alike enjoy eating seeds, bulbs, and tender plants. Squirrels can also get into bird feeders, which takes feed away from birds and can cause damage to the feeder. Many homeowners often wonder how to get rid of ground squirrels and rabbits. To prevent rabbits from getting into gardens, homeowners should install a fence that goes both above and below ground, since rabbits can burrow underneath. And as for how to get rid of ground squirrels, ground squirrel traps and squirrel bait poison can help trap, remove, and repel squirrels from the yard.


Moles and Gophers


Some of the most difficult pests to prevent and catch are gophers and moles. This is because they can quickly tunnel underground. Not only does this make them difficult to catch, but their tunnels can completely destroy a yard. Furthermore, gophers and moles eat plants, chew on tree roots, and can chew through plastic pipes. To prevent damage from these pests, mole and gopher netting and traps can be installed. Netting can prevent them from tunneling further and traps can remove them from the area completely.


With homeowners planting a greater variety of shrubs, flowers, and trees, pest numbers have also increased. Fortunately, the pest control industry is increasing as well, having grown by 2.9% between 2012 and 2017. So if you are experiencing problems with any of these pests, make sure to contact a pest control company today.

Easy Ways To Keep Ground Squirrels Away From Your Yard

ground squirrel repellent

Ground squirrels can be a nuisance at worst and a serious threat to your yard and home at worst. If left unchecked, ground squirrels can cause damage that will require expensive repairs to your house. This might be why the pest control industry is so successful; by 2020, the U.S. pest control industry is expected to bring in approximately $13 billion. If you want to avoid potentially expensive ground squirrel removal, here are a few tips on how to get rid of ground squirrels using ground squirrel repellent methods you might already have on hand.


  • Spice it up: Getting rid of ground squirrels doesn’t have to be too complicated; one of the easiest ways to keep ground squirrels out of your yard and garden is to make your plants taste bad to them. Sprinkle spices like cayenne and red pepper around your plants that you want to keep safe; the spiciness should keep ground squirrels away.


  • Sprinkler surprise: If you’re looking to keep ground squirrels away from your yard, get a bit creative with your sprinklers. Set your sprinklers up with a motion sensor, so any unwanted rodents will be deterred by the surprising spray. Let your automated sprinklers help you get rid of yard pests, and you won’t have to do much else to manage the problem.


  • Basic ground squirrel prevention: The easiest way to deal with ground squirrels is to not let them make their home in your yard to begin with. Make sure you keep your garden and yard fenced in, and place any trash bags into closed trash cans. Avoid creating places for ground squirrels to make their home; seal up any cracks or gaps in the walls of your home, and make sure that there aren’t places that ground squirrels might start building their homes in. By making your yard inhospitable for pests, you should be able to prevent ground squirrel problems.


Of course, if your ground squirrel problem is larger or if these ground squirrel repellent methods don’t work, you’ll need to contact a professional. Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service can help you get rid of ground squirrels and other pests. If you’re looking to remove gophers or ground squirrels from your yard, contact Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service today.

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.

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.


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.

How to Identify Gopher, Mole & Ground Squirrel Damage

How to Identify Gophers & How to identify Moles:

To some folks, the sigs of burrowing pests are all to easy to identify. If you live in an area regularly infested with gophers, moles or voles you will know the signs immediately. Piles of soil, ridges in lawns, holes in the grass and chewing on plants will give away the presence of these pests.

For some folks though, these are not usual things to see, but a one time fluke. They have a new critter that wandered in one night and took up residence, and their damage is less obvious or pronounced.

It can sometimes be difficult to identify a gopher or mole problem. The included videos will help illustrate the specific damage caused by gophers and moles as well as raccoons and squirrels.

If you have any uncertainty as to what kind of burrowing pest you have in your property, please give us a call, email or text and if you can send some pictures of the damage you are seeing. We will help you identify and resolve the problem.

Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service, your Bay Area Gopher Guy, is happy to answer questions over the phone on how to identify gopher damage, and how to reduce their impact or get rid f gophers completely. Give us a call for free advice or a quote.

Examples of Gopher Damage in the Landscape and Garden

Examples of gopher damage by the bay area gopher guy, Mr “get rid of gophers” Zach Smith

I thought I’d write on something that seems simple enough, but for some folks may not be that easy to see. I will give some basic tips on how to spot a gopher or mole in your garden. Some will be basic signs that most will know, but we’ll post some more difficult to see activity that you can look out for. See pictures with captions below for some good examples of gopher damage around the San Francisco Bay Area

Gopher Pile Not a Mole
Examples of gopher damage- While moles make symmetrical, volcano-shaped piles, gophers piles always have a fan or kidney-bean shape, though it’s hard to tell sometimes. This picture is a classic example of the soil plug where the gopher filled in his hole after discarding the soil that he excavated to expand his tunnels.
Examples of gopher damage
Examples of gopher damage- This is easy to identify gopher damage to a lawn that most people are familiar with.
This is a small popup hole that a gopher made. These are tupical of older activity where no soil pile i needed to make new openings. These holes are often used for feeding on grass.
This is a small popup hole that a gopher made. These are tupical of older activity where no soil pile i needed to make new openings. These holes are often used for feeding on grass. This may be 2″ across or less














Check out our special on craigslist for winter!  Smith’s Craigslist Special


Smith’s, your bay area gopher guy, services San Jose, San Francisco, Marin, Oakland, Danville and the surrounding greater bay area communities.   We get rid of gophers and we get them fast!  Check us out on yelp.com Smiths Yelp.com review page