Pocket Gophers will cause a lot of unwanted damage to crops, garden, lawn, ornamental plants, shrubs, orchards, and even irrigation lines and lawn sprinkler systems. There are many ways to manage Pocket Gopher damage, but first the species must be understood to correctly treat for the rodent.
A Pocket Gopher is a burrowing rodent with the perfect body type to do so, consisting of very powerful legs, round bodies, and large claws on their front paws. They contain small eyes and ears, and have very large cheek pouches that are lined with fur for storing food and other materials. Pocket Gophers are herbivorous animals that feed off of much of the vegetation within its habitat. They also adapt to various environmental conditions.
Constantly burrowing, Pocket Gophers create very intricate tunnel systems that can cover up to 2,000 square feet. Throughout their burrowing system, gophers will push dirt up to the surface, creating very distinct horseshoe-shaped mounds. Sometimes a gopher will create several of these mounds in only one day. By being solitary animals, a gopher can run an entire burrow system by itself. The only time it is not in their tunnels by itself is when mating or caring for its liter.
There is a variety of control methods available for managing Pocket Gopher damage, including trapping, fumigation, gassing, exclusion, IPM (integrated pest management), habitat modification, and gas explosive devices. “In terms of being cost friendly, efficient, and successful, the best choice for managing Pocket Gopher damage would be baiting,” said Blake Hazen, president and CEO of Wilco Distributors, Inc., a company specializing in rodent control.
When baiting, simply locate the gopher’s tunnel system by use of a rod, stick, or another type of applicator equipment. One can easily find a tunnel system by first discovering the horseshoe-shaped mounds that Pocket Gophers like to create. Probe 8-12 inches from the plug of the mound until a sudden drop or lack of resistance is felt. This means that the tunnel of the burrow system is located. Then with a long-handled spoon or applicator, dispense the required amount of bait directly into the runway. It is suggested to do a couple bait placements per tunnel system. Kick over each mound to make it easier to detect if there is any future activity. It has also been suggested to place a flag at each burrow system that has been treated for caution purposes.
There are many different types of rodent baits available with different active (poisonous) ingredients. Zinc Phosphide is a popular choice when using poison bait for controlling gophers. Wilco Zinc Homeowner Bait contains the acute toxin Zinc Phosphide (2%) and is presented on wheat. A single-feed solution, treatment only requires 1 teaspoon of bait into each active burrow. It is available for homeowner use in 1 lb. Also available is Wilco Zinc Ag Bait (restricted use permit and/or license required), available in 25 lbs. and 50 lbs. The Wilco Zinc Ag Bait label is available for use to control multiple rodents, including Pocket Gophers, Ground Squirrels, Voles, Prairie Dogs, Field Mice, and more!
For more information, please contact 1.800.769.5040 or visit www.wilcodistributors.com