Tag Archives: pocket gopher

Who’s Been Digging In My Yard?

When you find holes, mounds of dirt or torn up turf, in your beautiful landscape, you’ve been visited by “wildlife” on the hunt for food and/or a place to live. You can identify your trespasser, most often, by the damage they leave behind.

Pocket Gophers (often referred to as just gophers) are probably the most destructive, though less visible, of all the landscape rodents. Gophers are herbivores, nearly always living underground, and you can640px-camas_pocket_gopher_4-1 lose a lot of your favorite plants to gophers and still never see one. One day you have a beautiful squash plant and the next day it’s gone, disappeared! You’ve got a gopher.

These relatively small rodents seem to eat “ten times their weight” in expensive ornamental plants, vegetables and fruit trees. In reality they consume about 60% of their body weight each day in vegetation.

Gophers make horsegopher-in-lawn-june-2016-corkys-2shoe or heart shaped mounds and their tunnels are usually in a straight line between feeding areas. They make two types of ankle twisting holes, a plugged one surrounded by dirt and another used for above ground feeding, without dirt surrounding it.

Voles (also called meadow mice) are small rodents found in areas mexican-vole-large-with-attributionwith dense vegetation. Although occasionally seen scurrying above ground, voles spend most of their time in burrows. Their presence in an area is given away by grass covered trails, called runways, that connect vole-damage-to-lawnburrow openings. Voles are mouse-like creatures with compact bodies, short legs and short furry tails. Unlike mice, voles rarely enter homes but prefer yards and fields with good ground cover. This is where they find the tender plants and grasses that make up their diet.  Voles tunnel through grass or low-lying plants, eating their way to their burrows. This above ground tunneling leaves very distinctive patterns in the vegetation. Vole holes are found hidden under leafy areas and low-lying plants and are not surrounded by dirt mounds.

Moles are insect eating,  mammals.  They are not rodents but belong to a group of mammals known as insectivores.  Moles are nearly blind and live most of their lives underground, tunneling beneath the soil in theimole-in-mole-hillr constant search for food. They can tunnel up to one foot per minute and can cause extensive damage to all areas of a property including lawns (grass), flower beds, tree roots, and gardens.  Runways and mounds are two identifying features of a mole infestation.  Runways are long shallow tunnels skimming just beneath the surface of lawns or garden areas.  An active runway can be determined by flattening it, then leavinmole-hill-3615125_960_720g it for a day.  If it becomes rounded and tunnel like again, you have a very active mole.  Mole mounds are conical,  like a volcano, as opposed to the horse-shoe shape of a gopher mound. The dirt of a molehill is fine and the hole in the top is usually covered whereas the gopher’s mound has clotted dirt and the hole is often exposed.

Shrews are the closest living relative of a mole. California is home to the Ornate shrew (on the endangered species list). It’s territory extends from Northern California to Baja California, Mexico.  Shrews live fast and furious lives. They’re in constant motion, rarely stopping to slornate-shreweep. A shrew will eat it’s body weight or more, in food every day.  Like moles they eat mostly insects but unlike moles they will feed on mice, small birds, snakes and slugs, seeds, flowers, fruits and vegetables. Shrews are often mistaken for mice because of their size, color and occasional appearance inside a home. They may dig a dime sized hole in order to reach an existing mole tunnel to use for nesting, but they prefer to let their larger relatives do the heavy digging. shrew-in-handTheir most outstanding feature is their pungent odor.  They mark their territories as well as set up social order in colonies, with their smelly gland secretions. Their odoriferous nature is one reason they are unwelcome guests in homes.

Fun Facts: 1. Shrews have the highest brain-to-body mass of all known vertebrates. 2. Because of the shrews’ poor vision, they have developed echo-location, just like bats, to navigate through their territories.

Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill!  Corkys Pest Control, can start getting ridGOPHER IT - lets gopher it | Meme Generator of  these digging pests today. Same-day service , is offered when you call before noon.

So, Go-pher it!  Pick up the phone and dial 1-800-901-1102 or Schedule an appointment on line today.

Where Did These Gophers Come From and Why My Yard?

The most asked questions about gophers are; (1.) Why my yard and (2. )where did they suddenly come from?                                                     The easiest answers are:
Gophers migrate from neighboring properties where populations house-427154_960_720have gotten out of control, or where food sources have become scarce.  They also have a preference for cool, soft, well irrigated soil with good drainage and lots of tasty plants. So, as to why they pick your property, it may be that yours is just what they are looking for!

The most important thing to understand about gophers, is that they do not discriminate between, fields, forests, gardens, lawns, your yard or that of your neighbor.  Wherever food is plentiful, that’s where the gophers wgopher-holes-in-park-2ill be.  Like all living creatures, they need food, water and shelter to survive and our Southern California properties provide these commodities in abundance.

To understand gophers, let’s start with some Gopher basics. There are five species of gophers found in California, but the most notorious and numerous, in Southern California, is the Botta’s Pocket Gopher.

Pocket gophers are herbivorous and feed on a wide variety of vegetation, but mostly prefer fresh, tasty plants, shrubs, and trees, feeding on tender stalks and rGopher in gopher holeoots. They are burrowing rodents that are designed primarily as digging machines.  Their talent for digging holes and ruining landscapes is legendary.

Being highly640px-camas_pocket_gopher_4-1 territorial, these rodents will defend their burrows to the death from another gopher.  Other than in mating season, they will seek exclusive control of large territories that can exceed 2000 square ft. and a network of tunnels can total a mile ipocket-gopher-tunnelsn length. And by the way, their tunnels can be as deep as 6 ft. underground.

diagram of gopher burrow
diagram of gopher burrow

Pocket gophers are loners except during the breeding season (spring and summer) or when females have young with them. The young develop quickly, remain in the nest for five to six running-goperweeks, and then wander off above ground to form their own territories. This is why in the spring and summer you will see gophers scampering above ground.

Gophers are one the most frustrating creatures to invade Southern California properties.  Just when you think you have gotten rid of them, thego-for-it-cartoony reappear with a vengeance, leaving your yard or gardens looking like a battlefield .

This is why Corky’s Pest Control’s Gopher Control Service is so important.  It alleviates the stress caused by unsuccessful,  do-it-yourself failures, by eliminating active gophers and keeping others away from our customers properties.  And we do this with a consistent, proven successful, treatment plan.

Call Corky’s! 1-800-901-1102  and Schedule your service Today!


Gophers Survive Exploding Volcanoes!

Well, we have it from the experts that even a volcanic eruption can’t discourage gophers from their daily tasks of digging hvolcano-mount-st-helens-exploding-b-woles and burrow systems and eating whatever vegetation they fancy.

The May 8th, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens ripped the top off the volcano, obliterated 235 square miles of forests, killgopher-in-lawn-2020ed 57 people,  and blanketed much of the      Pacific   Northwest in ash. What it didn’t do was take out the resident gopher population.   Pocket gophers survived underground, under the volcanic deposits, and later went on to burrow in the old forest soil.

Suddenly, Pocket Gophers became ECO Heroes, helping plants thrive again by turning up soil as they were feeding, encouraging plants to start growing, and restoring the mountain wilderness.

As much as we would like to honor these little burrowing machines, their hole digging and burrowing antics, plus voracious appetites, wreck-havoc, in our lush lawns and beautiful gardens, not to mention the ankle twisting hazards they create and their ability to destroy whole farms.

Needless-to-say, gophers are not welcome here!

Can yards and gardens be successfully saved from these hungry, destructive, digging machines?  The answer is, yes! You can try doing it yourself or you can gopher-central-2get it done hassle free by a professional.  Do-it-yourself Gopher control is a time consuming and often expensive undertaking when homeowners, property managers or anyone else, tries to face off with these subterranean nightmares.  Home remedies; smelly repellents, noise makers, Juicy Fruit gum, gas and smoke bombs, traps and the ever unsuccessful water in the hole method are mostly ineffective, take time and persistence, can pose a danger to the gopher hunter and with the price of water these days, can break the bank. gopher-reserected-2
Even when you think you have gotten rid of gophers, one will pop up as though there has been a miraculous resurrection, but it is no such thing, just a neighborhood gopher looking for new digs and finding an empty burrow in your yard.  He’s hit the jack pot!

Persistence and Professionals are the two P’s of gopher control. When you hire professionals, you save a lot of your precious, personal time and they are equipped and committed to taking on gophers with expertise and total diligence.  Gopher Control demands consistent, persistent, and timely attention and nothing less than total commitment.

Even professionals will differ in their methods of control. In Southern California, Corky’s Pest Control is a major player in the Gopher Control Business.

gopher-x-machine-and-gopher-for-blogUsing their secret weapon, Corky’s Gopher X Machine, in combination with a proven repellent and a fantastically efficient service schedule, gophers don’t have a chance.

What Do You Give a Gopher for Christmas? The “Boot”!

Gopher It! Give Gophers the Boot!
Gopher It! Give Gophers the Boot!

That gopher that’s been living in your front yard for the last 2 years,  now considers himself part of the family. Just like creepy Cousincouch-potato Earle, that came to visit two Christmases ago and is now living in the basement, your gopher is entrenched and living rent free in your yard.   So, what do you give your gopher this Christmas?  The same thing that you give Cousin Earle.  The boot!

Pocket gophers live solitary lives in underground tunnel systems (sound like Cousipocket-gopher-close-upn Earle in the basement?), which they vigorously defend. They prefer loosely compacted or sandy soil for easy excavation. Their systems are typically made up of shallow feeding tunnels that run downward into deep nesting tunnel systems that can be several feet underneath the shallow systems. The average shallow tunnel depth is between 6-12 inches.

Gophers can heave up large amounts of soil in random mounding patterns, each forming a crescent shaped mound. (Mole mounds are conical in shape and form almost linear directions pocket-gopher-tunnelsin their digging patterns.) Gophers will forage above ground very near the tunnel opening for food and nesting material, just like creepy Cousin Earle, who makes his way up the stairs from the basement to raid the fridge. They have been known to create up to 70 mounds a month destroying gardens and lawns alike.

Gophers do not go dormant or hibernate, but they will take prolonged rest periods when temperatures or humidity reach uncomfortable extremes, and will go to deep nesting runway systems and live off stored food caches. Sounds like Cousin Earle again.

The most frustrating thing about gophers (and Cousin Earle), besides their year-round, daytime and nocturnal activity, is their ability to thwart your most creative and diligent eviction tactics.

Gopher resistant plants, natural predators, smelly repellent concoctions, Juicy Fruit gum, noise makers and vibrators, gas and smoke bogopers being blown upmbs, water boarding (tunnel flooding) and poisons, can all be part of an eviction program.  But the essential action you must take is consistent attention. No matter what method you decide upon, it is important to follow through, keep vigilant and act immediately when activity is observed.

When is it time to hire a professional exterminator? When your best efforts have failed, and all you want for gopher-and-snakes-cartoonChristmas is your beautiful yard and garden back!

To Get Rid of Gophers, Prepare for War!

It seems that in the world of “Gopher Control”, nothing is foolproof.  Methods of extermination abound and stories of success and failures run rampant.  Whether your preferred method is to repel them and make them go elsewhere (like the neighbors’ yard) or to outright kill them, it seems they either find their way back or are somehow miraculously resurrected. gopher-reserected-2

So to begin the Gopher Wars…….Prepare your battle strategy, fortify your perimeters, and stock up on your ammunition.  The battle begins………

GopheGopher resistant plantsr- resistant Plants: Consider ringing your gardens with plants that repel gophers or change up your garden to include plants that gophers just don’t like to eat.

Natural Predators:  The enemy of my enemy is my friend. This holds true for those creatures who prey upon gophers. These predators can be yGopher and black catour allies, maintaining air and ground cover; owls, hawks, cats, dogs, gopher snakes and even coyotes.

Smelly Repellants: Peppermint oil, garlic oil, moth balls, castor oil, tabasco saucegopher stinky fish, fish oil or fish heads, rotting eggs, used cat litter, dog poop and urine (any kind you have available). Whip up your own concoction and place it into and around the gopher holes to discourage them from targeted areas. These methods need to be continually refreshed.

Noise makers and vibrators: Rattling gophers pinwheelspinwheels, Ultra-sonic noise makers and vibrators, a radio (that can be placed inside a gopher’s tunnel, will scare gophers away.  If you really want to scare them away for a long time, use a roto-tiller.

Juicy Fruit Gum: Does more than double the gophers pleasure but not much. Rumor is that gophers love Juicy Fruit Gum.  Place a couple oGophers and Juicy Fruit Gumf sticks in a hole and if the gopher is in the mood for gum, he’ll chew it and swallow it and depending on the gopher’s digestive system it may block the intestinal track eventually killing the gopher.

Gas or Smoke Bombs: Highway flares, smoke bombs, gas bombs and forcing carbon monoxide throughout their tunnels are all effective in encouraging gophers to depart their current living quarters but they are not long term solutions. Without a long term strategy or maintenance program they will return.

Death by drowning: This popular method is probably one of the least effective and most wasteful, considering gophers naturally buildgopher holes hose and water nests, food caches and chambers that can be barricaded against heavy rains and flooding.  They are well equipped physically to block passages and effectively divert the flood waters, leaving wasted water (a high water bill), muddy ground and annoyed neighbors (with wet soggy yards) as a result.  Oh! And don’t forget the water police (here in Southern California), you might even get a fine for using too much water.

Poisons: Vitamin D3 naturally upsets the gophers’ ability to metabGopher Poison old picolize calcium and overdoses lead to death. On the harsher and more dangerous side are products designed to inhibit blood clotting causing internal bleeding and death, to restricted products like strychnine that kills gophers and anything else that might eat it or the poisoned gopher.

Is there a way to make their disappearance final?  Can yards and gardens be successfully saved from these hungry, destructive, digging machines?  The answer is a definite maybe! when you do-it-yourself.

The essential action you must take is consistent attention. No matter what method you decide upon, it is important to follow through, keep vigilant and act immediately when activity is observed.

When is it time to hire a professional exterminator?

When time, money and patience have run out and the gophers seem to be enjoying the “game” and you start to dream of them laughing and planning their next assault, it’s time to throw in the shovel, turn off the water and call for help.  In Southern California, Corky’s Pest Control has been keeping gophers under control for hundreds of  customers, with their Gopher X Machine technology and  granular repellent applications. But what makes it successful, is consistent attention and a maintenance system that works.

Got a favorite method to get rid of gophers? Share what’s worked for you?  Leave a comment below.  Thank you.