Get those Gophers!

Photo 1. Characteristic horseshoe shape and plugged side hole of pocket gopher mounds (photo: Luke Milliron)

Photo 1. Characteristic horseshoe shape and plugged side hole of pocket gopher mounds (photo: Luke Milliron)

Pocket gophers can be far more than a mere nuisance; girdling trees and wreaking havoc on drip irrigation tubing. Walk your orchard blocks to look for fresh horseshoe shape and plugged side hole of pocket gopher mounds (photo 1). This postharvest period is a key time to manage your gopher problem and make sure you’re giving yourself a clean slate for 2020!

Late fall through winter is a great time to manage pocket gopher populations. Population levels are typically low and more manageable and yet mounding activity is high. Heading out to set traps in the tunnel networks connected to those fresh mounds is an incredibly effective management approach. Being persistent and heading out multiple times to set and check traps is critical. For example, two trapping sessions can result in an over 90% reduction in the pocket gopher population. Take advantage of extra time in your schedule this time of year and get those gophers!

We have more information on trap types, as well as the possibility of pairing other management options such as baiting with trapping for increased control. UCCE Farm Advisor Katherine Jarvis-Shean filmed a how-to video with UCCE specialist Roger Baldwin on properly setting pocket gopher traps.

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2 Responses to Get those Gophers!

  1. Karin Kryski says:

    I wonder if there isn’t another way of managing these pests without the use of traps or bait. I volunteer for a cat rescue and there are so many feral cats that are wonderful hunters who need homes. All you need to do is provide some shelter and some food-they do all the rest. It’s the BEST, long term IPM solution available.

    • Luke Milliron says:

      Hi Karin, just getting back to this, many months later. I reached out to Roger Baldwin our Wild life specialist. He noted “I would strongly advise against ever releasing cats on a farm to control rodents. Having a barn cat around your house to control rats and mice is one thing; they can be effective. However, when released on the landscape, they kill a tremendous number of native wildlife species. The harm they do to the native ecosystem is far greater than any benefit they may provide.”

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