New Unwanted Neighbors? How To Figure Out Which Pest You Have

best way to catch ground squirrels

So you’ve looked out into the yard and seen signs of an unwelcome guest; maybe you saw a suspicious hole in the ground or a motion in the bush. Is it a ground squirrel, or a gopher, or a chipmunk? How can you tell? If you’ve realized you’ve got some new unwanted neighbors in the form of a common pest, here’s how to tell what you might be dealing with.




Gophers can be an irritating pest that damage your plants and yard fairly quickly. Gophers consume around 60% of their body weight in vegetation every day. They love to eat roots, herbaceous plants, trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowering plants. If you see signs of yard damage from gophers, contact a gopher trapping or gopher removal service as soon as possible to prevent the damage from worsening.


Gophers typically stay more hidden than ground squirrels, as they prefer remaining underground, even to eat. It’s less likely you’ll see a gopher, instead seeing more of the damage that they cause. Gophers tend to plug their holes to help them stay hidden; these unique holes can be a sign you’re dealing with gophers.


Ground Squirrels


It can be difficult to know the best way to catch ground squirrels when they show up in your yard, but it’s important to stop them early. Ground squirrels, if left unchecked, can do tons of damage to your yard and even your utilities. Because ground squirrels can burrow several feet deep, it’s possible they might dig into your utility lines. Make sure you contact pest removal services to avoid longer-term damage to your property.


Ground squirrels are more easily spotted in your yard, occasionally standing up remarkably straight on their hind legs. Their holes usually remain unhidden and uncovered, making them more easily recognizable.


Need help identifying which pest you’re dealing with or catching gophers and ground squirrels? Contact Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service today. Smith’s Gopher Trapping Service can help you figure out the best way to catch ground squirrels, along with providing gopher removal services to help protect your yard.

3 Facts About Unwanted Gophers

trap a gopher

If you asked a homeowner or a property manager how to spell the word “nuisance”, what do you think the answer would be? It would probably look a little something like this: G-O-P-H-E-R. Pocket gophers burrow relentlessly, creating a problem that can be seen and needs to be manually rectified. To do this, individuals and pest control professionals need to trap a gopher.

Unwanted gophers can create havoc anywhere, especially in an area where cultivating a lawn or garden is involved. Animal and pest control to eliminate gophers is a huge business area in which this problem specifically is dealt with. You might not need to trap a gopher to eliminate the problem, though. There are other ways.

For those who might think that gophers are adorable, cuddly, fuzzy little charmers, here are three things about gophers that might make you change your mind and consider another point of view.

Gophers Cause Damage

First of all, pocket gophers dig and burrow and along the way they consume a lot of vegetation, especially in North America. Every day, they consume about 60% of their body weight. That is a lot of food! They eat flowers, leaves, trees, roots and more.

Gophers Mature Quickly

In general, gophers reproduce about once, maybe twice, per year. They do not reproduce incredibly quickly. However, after being born, a baby gopher is ready to go out on its own before it is just six weeks old! This makes it difficult not only to trap a gopher, but also to control the population.

Grassy Areas are Prone to Gophers

Pocket gophers burrow, and they need grass and land to do this. This can lead to problems in crop fields and flower beds. Also, golf courses and even your yard are both very vulnerable. But how to remove gophers? One good and non-lethal repellent to use is castor oil granules. It does not hurt gophers, it just makes them run away. The gopher problem is a threat and a nuisance that only gopher removal can solve.

So, if the problem of gopher abatement ever occurs on your property, remember to look for a professional pest and animal control company. Currently, the pest control business has about 27,000 establishments in operation in the United States.

Make sure the service is courteous, efficient, and above all, look for a guarantee of at least two years. You deserve an effective and thorough business that gives you the results you are looking for.

5 Ways to Prevent Property Pests This Fall

get rid of yard pests

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

get rid of gophers

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.

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.

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.