Any gopher solutions? Part 2

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

At the request of Evelyn_inthegarden, I'm creating a second thread. That other one began in 2005 and was getting perilously long.

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/494110/

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Thanks! I still have loads of gophers.

Vista, CA

D G Members have been very helpful to me as i have asked questions about different plants and flowers, so i will repay that help by describing the one sure and definitive way of ridding your property of gophers. When i moved to our half acre property in Vista last Spring, which is located smack in the middle of Gopher Heaven, having lush, undeveoped land on three sides, there were probably fifty fresh gopher mounds on the property, which had been neglected for many years.

Having had experience in gopher control before, I immediately located a "Gopher Getter", one of several simlar devices that consist of a hollow tube, a small container for poisoned grain or pellets, and either a trigger or a crank that will release a small portion of the bait. You stick the hollow tube down in the tunnel, pull the trigger, smear the mound with your foot so you can tell if there is further disturbance to the mound, and move on.

We have Cavalier Spaniels running in the yard and if i thought there was any chance of danger to them, i would allow the gophers to remain. But having killed probably hundreds of gophers here and in Idaho without seeing any come to the surface to die, i do not believe there is any more risk to the dogs than the Castor beans that are growing across the fence, or the Oleander tree down the street, or even the potato vines in the garden, all of which are also poisonous. And, even if the dogs did eat a poisoned gopher, the amount of poison it would take to kill a gopher should not be lethal for a dog that weighs many times as much as the gopher.

To go back to the circumstances here, After the treatments of the many hills and tunnels last Spring, there was an occasional new hill as gophers would move in to re-occupy the existing tunnels, which i would treat, but no new mounds had been seen for the last few months.

Below is a picture of three Artichoke plants next to undeveloped ground. The lower leaves had been allowed to completey cover the ground, and unbeknownst to me, a gopher came under the fence and chewed off two major stalks from the middle plant. The difference in size compared to the other two, illustrates the damage a single gopher can do. I treated the tunnel, and have not seen any further activity.

Ernie

The picture mentioned above is not coming up for this post, so i will send this now and send the pictue in a separate post. E

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Thanks Ernie for the info. I also battle gophers in my garden.

Vista, CA

This is a second attempt to attach the photo of Aritchokes that illustrate just how much damage one gopher can do to our work in the garden, described in my prior post sent earlier.

One more remark on using the Gopher device. You will clearly feel the tunnel as you push the probe into the ground as the resistance will disappear as the probe hits the tunnel. Do not pull the trigger until you feel that lack of resistance. It will tell you on the instructions how to locate the tunnel from the shape of the mound.

Ernie

Thumbnail by ERNIECOPP
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

I was also told to place a rock over the hole before you kick the dirt over it so as not to cover up the bait with dirt.
Ernie, are you talking about the gopher device that has a handle to dispense the bait or is yours homemade? I bought mine from a landscape supply but didn't have much luck with it.

Vista, CA

Weegy,

The one i have down here is different from the one i had in Idaho, but similar principle, and i think i have seen other designs. I bought the first one from a Nursery Supply place, and the one i have now from Home Depot. All have a hollow tube with a movable cap down at the bottom of the tube to just dispense a measured amount of the bait. The one i have now has a little crank on top of the bait box. Flimsy but it works.

If you have been feeling the tunnels lack of resistance, you have been placing the bait properly. If you have not felt the tunnel, then it will not work. Sometimes i do not cover the hole made by the tube, just trying to figure out what works the best. It is not uncommon to have other gophers come back to the same spot but the return trips rapidly diminish.

I also think the dead gopher bodies in the tunnels must keep some of the others from moving in, because i have seen them working on the other side of the fence this summer but only the Artichoke bandit came over, or under i guess is the proper word.

Be sure and kick all the fresh piles as you treat them so you will notice any new activity and please keep me advised if you do not start getting results. I do not want to mislead people if this only works for me.

Ernie

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

I have a new dog that digs huge tunnels, he is part Bull TERRIER, so now I can't poison. I am so upset, because that did help keep the numbers down. That along with my every 3 to 4 months. application of pured jalapenos has made me only see the near demise of one Josephs Coat cl. rose and for the second time the same rose was cleaned down to one large nub of a root. (must be delicious) anyhow, it has been in a pot for a few months and is not dead so must be developing roots once again. This rose will remail in a pot from now on since it seems to be so tasty to gophers.

I do feel like it is an exercise in futility to some degree now with the new dog in our yard. We have found gopher snakes in our yard which is not very comforting since they go under the house. If they just stayed there eating gophers it would be great. Not appearing in the lawn.

No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

I had a gopher snake tangled in some bird netting this spring - scared me to death when I found him by moving the ball of netting with hands. At first glance I did not know it was not a rattler! At first I thought he was dead, but then, my neighbor and daughter carefully cut the netting to release him - lastly cutting the net out of his mouth. We gave him some water to drink, then released him into an existing gopher hole. I can only hope the little guy was able to get to work earning his keep!

Our gophers are very cheeky and will stand with their heads out of the holes watching the dogs or me, even right next to my shoe! One Miniature Pinscher was able to catch one and chewed on him, but more typically the dogs just end up making the gopher holes larger. They are not so active right now, but that Gopher device sounds great - especially since the dead bodies do not have to be handled. My neighbor and his nephews had several of those traps they put into holes this year and were able to get about a dozen gophers, but then someone has to pull that dead body out in order to reset the trap... Yuck.

Thumbnail by quiltygirl
Tolleson, AZ(Zone 9a)

I have one of those Ernie and it works pretty good as long as you keep it away from young boys who think it make a great weapon!! I was able to have almost no activity for a while but they are back in full force this year. i need to try and find mine and get some more bait

Vista, CA

Thanks for the confirmation that it works for you, too. New ones do come back, as it is easier for them to move to an old tunnel than to dig a new one, so i expect to have to kill some more, too. But i mowed an easement that runs across the back of my lot, and found a new hill just outside my fence, so i got the jump on him, and will keep fighting them.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

What kind of bait are you using Ernie?

Vista, CA

I have used three kinds. Up in Idaho, it appeared to be made from Oats, but of course it was dyed bright colors. The first pack i bought here in Vista, at Hydroscape, was a small round grain, either barley or Milo Maize, and the pack i am using now is a pellet form, so i do not know what the carrier grain is. I liked the small round grain the best, but the gophers seem to like them all about the same. I think the round grain runs through the machine faster, so may be more expensive, but i want to be sure it does not plug up. Home Depot is where i think i got the pellets.

Ernie

Rosamond, CA(Zone 8b)

I bait my black hole trap with old hard colored marshmellows and they like it, plus I think it is easy to put poison inside them. As I said, I can't poison now with my new dog. Arg!

Vista, CA

hellnzn,

The old Doctor that holds forth on FOX Sunday mornings says there is a little bit of deadly poison in every medicine people take. So perhaps you could talk to a vet and see if the small amounts of poison it takes to kill a little animal like a gopher would be deadly to a dog. Sometimes people have more fear of things than is necessary. I remember one time on the Nursery a worker accidentally sprayed me in the face with high pressure Roundup, when it was new. I did not even have time to close my eyes and mouth, and i thought i was in serious trouble, so i hurried to the house. I did not have one single reaction or problem, no stinging, not even a bad taste was left in my mouth. So i am no longer afraid of Roundup, but have not tried gopher poison yet.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Thanks so much for the info, it does help. Ernie, please don't try gopher poison!

Vista, CA

weegy,

I certainly do not intend to try gopher poison. But then i never intended to try the Roundup, either. lol.

Ernie

Santa Ana, CA(Zone 10b)

When in doubt, one can always look up the MSDS ( material safety data sheet) for the product on the manufacturer's site.

San Bernardino, CA(Zone 9a)

We have gophers back for the first time in years. I have found a silver lining to this. The man living next door swears by the waterhose. It's fun to watch him run the hose into a hole and then watch all over for a gopher. I've never seen one come out but I wish one would. He says he'll catch it when it does. I'ld really like to see that.

Vista, CA

Back in 1950, i lived in Norwalk, CA, and had gophers. I stuck a hose down the hole and was holding it right at the hole, and the gopher came up along side the hose and bit my finger. Scared the stuffing out of me, as I was not expecting it. That may work on short tunnels, but some tunnels are so deep and big they will never fill up. I have not seen any actual gophers lately, but have dropped poison near two new piles of dirt, and have not seen any more fresh piles either place. Cottontails are coming THROUGH the wide meshed chainlink fence so i have been double fencing with 24" Poultry netting.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Ernie, that is funny! Probably not for you at the time though!
Water doesn't work here either. I dread going to the garden to see the mess that the gophers have made there and hope they aren't filling up on my irises.

No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

A man down the street spoke of when he put those smoke bomb things off in a gopher hole, then saw smoke coming out of holes all over his AND his neighbors property.

Yes cottontails must be like rodents as they fit through spaces seeming smaller than their bodies.

Back to the battles!

San Bernardino, CA(Zone 9a)

My brother did the flares and it worked for him. I'm going to pick some up in case they show there faces around here.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

I just might try the smoke bombs. The neighbor next door has a lot of gophers also. Thanks everyone.

Vista, CA

Another method of gopher control that is sometimes successful is to tape a vacuum cleaner hose on to an automobiles exhaust pipe, and send the exhaust down in the tunnel.

But one of the most difficult factors we face is that we do not know how extensive the tunnels are. I have been amazed at how far from the visible gopher holes we have found tunnels, as we dug and graded around here. So, if the tunnels are far enough away, that gives the gophers time to just push up a plug, and stay on the dry side or the non smoky side of the their tunnels. That is probably why sometimes smoke or water works and other times it does not.

Tolleson, AZ(Zone 9a)

Ok so where do you get smoke bombs? My cats seem to be on strike and I am seeing many new holes.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Did I hear that they banned the smoke bombs?

Vista, CA

If you cannot find the smoke bombs, you might try those highway flares. They put out a lot of acrid fumes.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Hmmmm...those should be easy to find. Thanks Ernie.

San Bernardino, CA(Zone 9a)

I think the cats around here are on strike too!!! Maybe we need to cut back on the cat chow?

Vista, CA

Weegy,

I do not know what they call the flares now, but the original names were Railroad Flares or Fusees.

San Bernardino, CA(Zone 9a)

In the emergancy kit in the car they just say roadside flares. No brand on them.

No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

I have heard the flares/smoke bombs do not work very well.

San Bernardino, CA(Zone 9a)

They worked really well for my brother. But like the opening to this thread. He had several rocks available to put over other openings where smoke came out. In fact he had a friend helping him because there were so many openings. My mini pin was good at getting them but when we got the boxer pup and he started playing with them, she started to play with them. The last couple of years we had quite a few outside cats around the neighborhood and the gopher problem went away. This last summer it seems like the number of cats went down and now the little monsters are back. I'm thinking about getting some outside cats. Of everything that I tried, the cats were the best and the least amount of work. If I wait for the dogs to catch them, I'll be living outside and the gophers will be inside.

Vista, CA

I never tried either smoke or gas, as i have been satisfied with the poison. Since i have never seen a dead gopher from all i have poisoned, i feel safe using it, even with the Spaniels we have in the yard. But i know a lot of people worry about their pets, and i would never suggest anyone that worries about that use poison.

I hope everyone finds a solution, because it is terrible to see the damage. When they nearly killed the big beautiful Aritchoke plant here, it almost made me sick at my stomach. I saw some fresh workings in the easement behind my place last Friday, so i poisoned those mounds, and there has not been any more dirt shoved up, either over there or on my side of the fence, so i am in good shape now until some more move in.

No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

I really need to use your system, Ernie!

One of our miniature pinschers had one last year, but another time I saw the dogs lying in the sun and a gopher's head out of his hole watching them - and I think laughing at them!

Vista, CA

Did your dog try to eat the gopher, or chew it enough to draw blood? I saw my farm dogs with either gophers they had caught or that had naturally died above ground, a couple of times, but the taste or the smell kept them from breaking the skin, and they soon dropped them and I did not see them do it again. Cats may be more likely to eat them as I have had a couple of outdoor cats in past years that would do that. Good luck with your efforts. One more observation. There is a healthy gray feral cat that i see frequently, that has been living off the wild animal life around here, and i toss it the squirrels and rabbits i trap or shoot, so he does the local cleanup jobs. I do not see him inside my fence, but he would have been at risk, if any, from the poisoned gophers, but i saw him just the other day, looking good. I admire him. I saw him dragging a rabbit i had shot that was nearly as big as he was. It may be a female, for all i know.

San Bernardino, CA(Zone 9a)

I think the poison would only be a real problem if the dogs dig. My dog digs so I would be afraid to use it but if he didn't I would have no trouble using it. I wonder Ernie, could you get that cat to teach my cats. A mouse got into the house about a month ago and kept running across the kitchen sink when I was doing dishes. I have four inside cats. I put out those snap type traps. Nothing! Four cats, four traps, no mouse. The cats would sit in front of the refrigerater and stare at it. Finally caught it with a sticky trap. Kept telling the cats they better start earning their keep, they just roll there eyes at me.

Vista, CA

QG, If you do use the poison probe, keep in mind that the pile of dirt is not at the end of a long tunnel, it is usually a short side tunnel, so i probe around 8 or 10 times trying to find the main tunnel to drop bait into. I have been having such good luck, i sometimes wish a few more would show up, so i could kill them, too. Need a little bit more revenge for what they did to my Artichoke plant.

MM, You may be able to discourage your dogs from digging if you keep their toenails clipped as short as possible, because that may cause them some discomfort when they try to dig.

I am not a house cat person, but people would dump cats along the road when i was on the farm, and if they survived until winter, i would help them survive by keeping feed and warm water in the barn for them. I never saw rats or mice around the barn, so i am sure they learned how to catch them. One would bring parts of her kill to the door step sometimes. The other cat was a big Siamese Tom, in Norwalk, 60 years ago, and he always had food at home but his hunting instinct was so strong and so many gophers around as Norwalk was in the country then, that he stopped eating cat food and lived mainly on gophers. He got thin, and the Vet said his choosing to eat only gophers was killing him. But he left a lot of blue eyed kittens in the area before he died, so he probably died happy. If you could put your cat and a mouse in a cage or room and leave them there until the cat got hungry, that might ignite his hunting instinct, but if he does not have that naturally, i do not think you could train him.

San Bernardino, CA(Zone 9a)

If my cats had to catch their dinner they would starve. I put them in the garage once to catch mice and I found them huddled on the washer. They must all come from a very long line of spoiled house cats because they have no hunting instinct. I move their food dish and they get confussed.

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