Moles and gophers

IMAJJanuary 29, 2005

If anyone out there has a solution to this problem

please let me know. The best and only thing that

has really helped is my cat, and I can't depend on her.

It is getting really expensive to buy new plants and

have the pests eat the roots. Thanks


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mscratch(z6 S.E. Mo.)

There is no easy solution..the only one that works for me is to kill their food source so they will move somewhere else. If you only have one or two then trapping might be your option, but I have been over run with them for years and find that the only thing that has proven effective is granules and most people do not want to use pesticides on their lawns, etc. I do after having to replace a pool liner and twisting my ankles so many times! We have no cats or dogs by choice and they do make very good hunters of these varmits but they never get them all. I even tried the so called mole repellant, Castor Bean plants, that was laughable..makes a lovely plant but was totally useless.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2005 at 9:37AM
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sunkeeper(5 Ontario)

For moles or voles which ever they are, only thing that I've found that works is Juicy Fruit gum. You chew a piece up for a couple minutes, pop it down their hole and they like the smell/taste of it and eat it. Good thing about it is they can't digest it and they die. Don't know about gophers but it works on the little varmits.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 4:04PM
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dpinker1(z4 NY)

We will try the Juicy Fruit gum. Great tip. thanks

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 2:53PM
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Are we brand sensitive for this to work?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 2:31PM
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chrisanne1(Z6 SE PA)

Will the gum work on voles? I hope so--I'll try it this weekend. They just munched the roots of another rosebush...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 5:58PM
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Well, I heard that pouring castor oil along their tunnels works, and I'm going to try it this summer.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 3:01PM
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marlo_ar(Zone7a AR)

I bought REVENGE RODENT SMOKE BOMBS at the Farmers Co-op. They weren't very expensive and they got rid of all my gophers. I haven't tried it on moles yet but I plan to this summer. I had to use them about 3 times to get them all but I haven't had any since.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 2:09AM
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Moles have literally taken over my yard and done extensive damage. I used Gopher & Mole Med which seemed to work for a few days. But it has rained alot the past couple of days and it looks like there is new damage in my garden (maybe its old damage, I can't really tell for sure). Anyway, at this point I am willing to try most anything short of pouring gasoline down the holes and lighting it.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 3:29PM
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JMSimpson(z9A CA)

I live on property that borders miles of open space. Gopher heaven. I also have a neighbor that likes them and doesnt want anyone on the street to kill them.

Heres some facts you might find interesting (it helps to know what you are up against):

They vary in size from 6" to 13" long

Usually found in the top 18" of soil but can burrow down to 6'

One can construct as many as 300 soil mounts in a year and move 4 tons of soil.

Gophers reach sexual maturity at about 1 year of age and can live up to 3 years. Females produce one to three litters per year. In nonirrigated areas, breeding usually occurs in late winter and early spring, resulting in one litter per year, whereas in irrigated sites, up to three litters per year may be produced. Litters usually average five to six young.

Gophers usually live alone within their burrow system, except for females with young or when breeding, and may occur in densities of up to 16 to 20 per acre.

So basically if you have 10 on the property (which I know I certainely do) and 5 are female, 5 females X 2 to 3 litters per year (10 to 15 litters) X 5 young = 50 - 75 new babies per year + the original inhabitants, thats 60 - 85 gophers per year I have to get rid of. (as soon as I get rid of some, more move in from beyond the property line)

Killing them all and having the problem go away is never going to happen. The best you can hope for is control.

I plant everything (except stuff they dont eat) in wire baskets with a 2" lip above the ground. I use the gopher gassers whenever I see they are in a certain run. Open the run and check back in 10 minutes, if its filled in they are there and thats the time to gas them. Dont waste a gasser on a run where you dont know that the critter is right there. (its very fustrating to find a new dirt mound with a used gasser on top).

I use the box traps (steel and wood) to kill them when the above method shows the gohper is not right in the area. Once you learn how to set them properly you should catch the critter 80% of the time. I dont like poison as there are other animals that may eat it.

Does anyone have a list of plants that they dont eat? So far in my yard they dont eat amaryllis , daffodils, datura, crinum, sage, canna, most iris, geranium.

There has got to be more.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 2:10PM
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Bizfarmer(z8,Gilbert, AZ)

THIRTEEN inch long gophers??!! Omigod! Here in Gilbert Az, the biggest one we've trapped (out of maybe 40-50) was guinea pig sized, and we were amazed at that. Usually they are much smaller.

Let me tell you about gophers! On our acre, we tried everything to get rid of them. I tried flooding them, never saw a one. I tried the gopher gas bombs, never knew if we got any. I even bought a unit that you load up with poison seeds and push into the ground where you suspect gopher tunnels, and it dispensed the seed underground. Don't know if we got any gophers, but my well-meaning wife did poison about 6 doves when she dropped a few of the seeds on the surface. Now THAT was a surprise. I even tried the method of my Grandpa Duncan: attach a flexpipe to the rototiller exhaust and stick the other end down a hole, add some oil to the gas so you will see the smoke come up from any holes in the vicinity, and plug the holes. Was supposed to kill any critters in the tunnel system. After it ran for 20 minutes I noticed flowers disappearing about 30 feet away and we actually saw the gopher popping up to get them. I managed to shoot that one with my air rifle(best shot I ever made!) But I believe he was the only casualty, except for the fouled sparkplug on the rototiller I had to replace.

Then my Uncle Pat came visiting from Oregon and suggested we go buy the vicious little spring-loaded traps from the local Home Depot. I shied away at first, picturing digging up some half-dead furry little creature, and having to dispatch it manually. Ugh! Pat managed to catch two right away, which he christened Pete, and Re-Pete. I was hooked, and ever since then I have kept an eye out for any new gopher hills. Then I dig a hole between them (using a probe to find the tunnel), put a trap in each tunnel(I use a weeder to dig out the tunnel big enough to receive the traps), cover the hole with a piece of wood, and check it regularly. If the mounds are fresh, you usually catch the little buggers right away. To date I have only dug up one that was still alive. I caught that poor little sucker by 1/2 inch of his butt, and I was appalled to pull up the plywood and see him looking up at me. I was thinking how ironic that my daughter has a hamster in her room that looks just like you that she treats like a king, and yet YOU have to die. This gopher hunting is not for the faint-hearted! Anyway, don't forget to use a piece of chain or cord connecting the trap to a stiff wire you can stick in the ground. Otherwise they will pull your trap back down the hole and you will be out $3.50. Good luck.

You CAN rid your lot of gophers, but you have to be on top of it every day. We had a standing joke at work about me running my "trapline" every night after work. It did the trick, though. Just this last weekend we had the first gopher activity along our fence in several months. Try as I might, I never got him, but he left the yard and that's good enough for us. Get the traps, you won't be sorry, but the little rodents will be!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 9:11PM
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JMSimpson(z9A CA)

13" Gopher, scary huh? The biggest I have caught is about 9", big enough and the trap I caught him in didn't do the job. I use the box traps and I picked it up, turned it over and it tried to bite me and hissed. I really did feel sorry for it and had hubby put it out of its misery.

I hate killing them but if you want a garden you have no choice.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 12:12PM
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I was lurking here and saw Mole and had to commit, we are fortunate enough to have moles, voles AND gophers. We have been able to trap quite a few and we've used the smoke bombs and car exhaust, poison...etc. Then a friend e-mailed to tell me about using our used cat litter and it works, haven't had a single one since! Now out in our back pasture is another story, we've just started working on that area. Another friend posted on the TX forum saying to put rose cuttings in the tunnels, supposedly their blood doesn't coagulate and they die shortly after they run across the thorns. We have seen several bodies after trying that one in back. BTW, we didn't have any rose clippings so I've been using briars and wild blackberry vines
Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 1:25PM
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maddigger(z6 NW Arkansas)

I have tried poison gas until I almost did myself in. I tried poison peanuts, castor oil, you name it. Then the lady at the garden center told me she heard Juicy fruit worked. I bought several packs. She said not to touch the bare gum with your hand or the scent would make it ineffective. I just made sure I only touched the tin foil. I had an epidemic od moles and was about to quit gardening but one treatment and the moles were gone! This spring they migrated from the fields surrounding us and I just put out some more gum and that took care of that. Other gum may work, who knows but why mess with success. I have enough trouble with a few cats to try the cat litter. They think my nice beds are public johns for there personal use. I sprinkle red pepper and moth crystals around for that plus in the rocks to keep the snakes out. Happy mole kill, Jim

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 12:42AM
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JMSimpson(z9A CA)

Used kitty litter I have an abundance of! What do you do with it? Pour it down the holes?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 12:09PM
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LAA668984(z4/5 ny)

Has anyone tried fox urine ? I've read that foxes are a natural predator of gophers and this may scare them away. My problem is that my gophers have a hole underneath my storage shed, so I can't get at it to throw the juicy fruit or mole bombs down there. I can tell you what they didn't eat in my garden last year: salvia, snapdragons, marigolds, dianthus, nicotiana, vinca, scabiosa, gypsophilia, and thats about it. Everything else, they ate, even delphiniums which are supposed to be poisonous. This year, my garden is going to be mainly the those plants that they didn't eat. But, I'd still like to grow a few things that aren't "gopher proof"

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 5:13PM
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I first disturb the mound, (gophers and moles) with voles I disturb their pathways/tunnel to see if they are still active.With the voles I open up the runway drop the litter inside and cover it back up. With the gophers/moles I drop it down the hole in the mound, if it's active. Yesterday we were dropping the litter in some tunnels out in the back pasture and we actually saw the vole running out of it about 15' from us.

LAA, there has to be another entrance somewhere and tunnels.
Good luck

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 5:53PM
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JMSimpson(z9A CA)

I will add the kitty litter to my arsenal.

Does anyone else have plants they know they wont eat? So far the list is:

Amaryllis, daffodils, datura, crinum, sage, canna, most iris, geranium, salvia, snapdragons, marigolds, dianthus, nicotiana, vinca, scabiosa and gypsophilia

I can add Sea Statice to the list and I also noticed the salvia (as mentioned above) as something they have never touched in my garden.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 6:11PM
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LAA668984(z4/5 ny)

I forgot a few others: they didn't eat my dahlias and ageratum either. Once I replanted all the things the gopher ate with those plants I mentioned above, it was a pretty garden after all, although not the one I originally planned.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 8:52PM
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JMSimpson(z9A CA)

Oh Dahlias are on the top of my gophers list of tasty things to go after. I have to cage them and even then they make a mess going around the cage trying to get into it.

I have noticed there are some things they will leave alone for years and then WHAM they go for it. I had a beautiful fountain grass about 3' around. I have had it for 6 years and as of this afternoon I noticed it was about gone. If the pieces put together equal 4" around I would be suprised. This weekend it goes into a basket.

I hate gophers.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 12:24AM
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gmatx zone 6

Now I am a lover of most all critters - however, I hate those pocket gophers with an absolute passion that scares most people who bring up the subject to me! I actually came home the other day and saw one sticking it's head up out of his tunnel....never had that happen before. The ***@@@#!#@## was far enough away from me that I wasn't sure what it was, so I ventured out toward the mounds (which I had been baiting) to check it out instead of going in to get my 38 first. Lo and behold, that sucker just stood there in his tunnel opening and challenged me!! The tunnel must have been at least 6" in diameter. Off to get more poison grain and set two more traps! Gotta admit they can really work up hard packed ground, but cleaning out two - yep, two 16' culverts - that they have filled up to travel through isn't my idea of fun. They are traveling in the direction of what few of my daylily beds that are left, and my next step will be to get the backhoe or trencher out and start following the mounds until I get a lot of the tunnels open so I can directly put poison and traps in them. I'm DESPERATE!!


    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 11:56AM
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LAA668984(z4/5 ny)

My sister also said that used kitty litter works. She threw it down a few holes and they left. My problem is my woodchuck has a hole under my shed, and I can't get at it to throw things down there. I haven't seen any other holes, although I know she must have one. My property is surrounded by woods, so the other entrance hole is probably in the woods. My shed is on unlevel ground, so one side is on cinder blocks and the other on the ground. Its not high enough on the side on blocks to actually get under and take a look. But, today I cleaned my kitty litter box and put it on a shovel and threw it under the shed as far as I could push the shovel under. I am hoping that having it near their hole might scare them away too. I'm going to keep putting it there (no shortage of kitty waste!)and hopefully, she'll leave. My husband doesn't want to trap her, so I am trying to repel her with the kitty litter, fox urine and red pepper spray on the plants. If all that fails, I am going to trap her.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 8:20PM
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wacoastgardener(z8 WA)

How do I tell a mole hole or tunnel from a vole hole or tunnel? I wouldn't even know the difference between a mole and a vole if I saw them.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 10:10AM
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WA, my yard looked worse than this.
Good luck

Here is a link that might be useful: vole damage

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 5:28PM
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This problem is new to me.
I like snakes (or some other natural enemy?), and wonder if introducing some (we are in town) into the tunnels would help.
The cat litter and gum sound good. There is a fox scent deer hunters use that should put the fear of Renard into them-will report back if it helps.
People say one needs to eliminate the grubs. Any suggestions on that short of heavy poison?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 1:37PM
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I hate those little buggers! I have gophers, they ate my plant roots & destroyed my garden last year. I'm trying to get out and get them first this year. I also have tried everything and nothing works! We even sat out and tried shooting them but they are too quick! I was wondering about the buzzing stakes you put in the ground. Has anyone tried them? I looked them up & found the best price. My friend said they worked for her but there are a ton of bad reviews on there. Looking for more insight on those before I buy.

Here's what they ate: peppers (every pepper I planted): habenero, serrano, red bell, yellow bell, choc. bell, jalapeno, zucchini, summer squash, pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe, artichoke, lobela (pretty blue little flowers they ate like candy!). I think they ate pretty well!

Here is what they did not eat: tomatoes, corn, cucumber, rosemary, basil, oregano, onion (green, red & chive), mariglod, sunflower, and gourds.

This year I am digging up my garden and am going to lie down the gopher wire. But before I do that I am going to spray the area with ammonia. Take that you little f***er!

Happy hunting!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 5:22PM
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JMSimpson(z9A CA)

I have to say that this weekend is the only time I have felt kinda bad for killing a gopher. The hole was open and there was evidence that it was close by so I lit a gasser bomb and right then it stuck its head out of the hole, it pulled it in, stuck it back out and looked at me. The next time it went in it was followed by the gasser.

Felt bad for about a minute.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 11:40AM
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LAA668984(z4/5 ny)

I am considering buying a havahart trap. I was going to just try the repellents, but after planting my new lilies, I decided not to. I am tired of those woodchucks planning my garden, always plannning around what they won't eat. I wanted to grow lilies and I am sure they'll eat them too. So, I think I am going to get a havahart trap tommorow. For any of you who've trapped these critters, what do you use as bait? I've heard they love strawberries, is that the best thing to use? I also read that they have their babies in April, which means that very soon, my woodchuck (a female I am sure because we have babies out there every spring) will be having her babies and I don't want to trap her and leave them to die in their hole. I'd like to get her this week, before she gives birth. Any suggestions as to the best way to catch her would be appreciated,

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 8:44PM
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Well, I never feel guilty for killing them because of all of the hard work I do on my garden and they come in and destroy it! Plus they cost me so much money. Either there are a ton of them or my last 3 bombs have failed! I poured ammonia down the hole this time supposedly it makes them leave...but to where? I will let you know. I only tried a trap once & I caught a baby bird so I have not tried that again since. I'm going to start shooting them again, they seem to pop up while I'm drinking my coffee, what a wonderful way to start the day! BTW, I was wrong about them not eating my potatoes. I just never saw them do it until the other day. They took down the whole plants, they must have eaten all of the potatoes!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 1:10PM
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LAA668984(z4/5 ny)

I bought a trap last week, and have been setting it out every day. So far, I've caught nothing. It's a bit of a hassle because I bring it in each night, so I don't get skunks and oppossums, which are nocturnal. I've tried to cover it with leaves, to make it less conspicuous, and to tempt them with goodies: fruit, veggies, etc. They are too smart I guess, or else they'd rather wait for my garden delicacies to come up.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 2:49PM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)


[ People say one needs to eliminate the grubs. Any suggestions on that short of heavy poison? ]

That will work in the short term for moles, not gophers.
I used a granular product for grubs last year that worked well. But now the moles are back looking for grubs again. They must be finding them. Guess it's time to re-treat my beds. You spread the product according to package directions and then water it in.
It is a temporary fix, though, as I stated initially. I've heard that treating your yard with milky spore is the only real sure fire way to eliminate grubs (beetle larva) on any sort of permanent basis. Otherwise, you'll have to treat with the granular stuff a couple times per year.

Ya know, I've never in my life intentionally harmed an animal. But those *^@%! moles have torn up my flower beds so many times that now I feel it'd be quite satisfying to play whack-a-mole and see how many I could take out.

Good Luck.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 2:08AM
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OK, about the used kitty litter.....and at the risk of sounding like an I want to use the used part with the "lumps" or the "non-lumps"?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 4:42PM
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Gophers and voles. Number 1 and 2
Good luck, so far so good for me.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 5:57PM
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patusho25(z11 Mexico)

Does anybody know if mole or gophers likes eating young fruit tree roots (citrus, mango, jackfruit, etc)?

I bought the poison pellets peanuts at home depot, and will try the cat litter and the gum. But should I get rid of them if they dont eat my young fruit trees roots?


    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 8:24PM
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AgastacheMan(z7 CA)

if you live outside city limits or the countryside, there are 4 things you need to control gophers, groundsquirrels, moles, and voles. They are: shotgun, burning sulfur, bait, and a propane flame thrower. Enough said. I count the bodies everyday. I can't say this will work within city limits.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 1:14AM
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i just posted a question on the integrated pest management spot about burying L-shaped fencing underground facing away from the garden fence. does anyone know if this works against gophers?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 2:22PM
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JMSimpson(z9A CA)

Considering gophers can burrow down 4 feet or more, L shaped fencing probably will not work.

If you completely line the bed or plant in wire baskets it will help but you still have to use other control methods.

With just baskets, the gopher will circle the mesh eating all roots that extend beyond the enclosure stunting the plant and if the wire does not extend above the surface of the soil, they will emerge and walk over to the plant to eat it.

As for eating young fruit tree roots, it wouldnt surprise me if they even ate the trunk.

Nasty critters.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 12:45PM
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Has anyone had any luck with the Victor traps? I set them but the little bugger manages to set it off without getting caught. I think she had yard is suddenly a huge mess!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 11:40AM
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gemfire(z9/10 AZ)

My friend said she had alot of those tunneling critters
messing up her yard. She planted Caster Beans and
now her yard is varmit free. They are poison to dogs
and small children so watch them carefully if you plant


    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 8:30PM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

13" gophers? LOL. Is that the same as 13-lined ground squirrels? Please send ALL the ones you Havahart trap to us in Wisconsin. We've been trying to get colonies established in our yard for 4 years! Good to know that some wildlife-loving individuals are considerate to these little creatures. Here in the midwest 13-liners produce only one litter a year, at most 2 but not usually.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 11:47PM
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Not only what part of the kitty litter do you use but does it hurt the plants I am trying to grow? There are no mounds. Just tunnels under my plants. I do not know what "they" are. In WA there were mounds and they were moles. There are tunnels all over my yard. They sink in
making the ground uneven.

They do not seem to be eating the plants except maybe my dahlia bulbs? They just expose the roots and that causes the plant to die slowly if I don't catch it. I go around with a spade fork and poke around my plants looking for tunnels. When I find the tunnel I dig it up with the spade fork and stomp down the dirt.

My dogwood tree has leaves that are turning brown and curling on the edges. Is it just that the roots are exposed to air from the tunnels underneath it or are they actually eating the roots of the tree?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I did read all the posts before posting this. I need to know how to identify what I am fighting.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 4:36PM
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johnpeter(10b LongBeachCA)

I don't have moles or gophers, but this thread is most interesting. Can anyone tell me what chemical is in the "gas" used to kill tunneling animals. I'm wondering how lethal this might be to a human who unwittingly inhales the stuff.
I think cyanide pellets are used on coyotes. I'm not up on this stuff. My biggest problems are with weeds.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 6:38AM
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Would you like to rent my jack russell "Mickey"...ha ha

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 8:57AM
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lil_louis(z6a NJ)

My pop used to talk about groundhog hunting along railroad tracks as a kid. He said he and his brother would walk along, and when they saw a GH, he would whistle one long note. The GH would sit up on his hind legs to see what was going on, and POW, a nice clean shot. Years later, we have some groundhogs. I don't have gun, but I did try that whistle, and darn if the things don't sit right up to see what's going on. So if you are going to go the Clemenza/Tony Soprano route with the critters, that trick might help you get a good clean shot. Remember to check out what's *behind* the critter, of course, before shooting. Happy hunting.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 5:00PM
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gardenklutz(NC 7)

I was just on the Integrated Pest Management Forum and read 'Chipmunks eating plants?' posting. Someone suggested getting a Rat Zapper 2000. I looked up the web site and it sounded good to me, ordered 2 of them. Hope it works as well as they claim.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 8:29PM
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JerseyGirl57(z6 NJ)

Can anyone tell me if cats will suffer the same fate as the moles if they ingest juicy fruit gum? I would like to try this route of controlling them, but I don't want to hurt the neighbor's cat who has managed to get a few of them himself.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 9:43PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

a garden guru on a local station recently said to get the man of the house to pee down the gopher holes - worth a try especially since most men of the house have such a lousy aim in the bathroom anyway.

another idea i heard once was to put dry ice down the holes.

and yes i watched a baby fruit tree shake and fall over years ago. it was my introduction to gopherland. min

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 11:16PM
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At first I thpought that my tomato plants had a virus/fungus because they would wilt all at once, but then "They came back to life, only to wilt again a day after"!
This morning I noticed the tunnels around my "maters" (which I raised from our seed), & I now believe that my very healthy "mater plants" are suffering from their roots being attacked by this mole.
Is gum the only solution or will mothballs,garlic hair, urine etc. work?

Feel free to e-mail me at

Keep The Spirit of 1776!


    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 12:28PM
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PatNewMex(z6 NM)

Do you have moles or pocket gophers? Pocket gophers are incredibly difficult to get rid of. Gum will not work on them nor will drowning them or smoking them out. You have to trap them. This is hard because their tunnels are so extensive and they only use a tunnel for a few days and move on so you have to keep moving the trap.

You will know if you have pocket gophers because you will see on top of the eart small mounds of dirt but no "hole" underneath the dirt. Read up on them an get info from your extension office. My cousin has them and they have to bury EVERYTHING they plant in chicken wire and said her pocket gophers even ate HORSERADISH!!! They are the devil himself!

BE aware that the kind of gopher is NOT the normal gopher most folks are talking about. Pocket gophers are different. Read up on them! (Hopefully you don't have them as they are impossible to get rid of.)

I would NOT pour any kind of oil on the earth. But that's just me.

Good luck and hope you don't have the "pocket" kind.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 1:34PM
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catmom50(z5 Central OR)

An M80 dropped and lit down in the hole works wonders! (yes we have used it many times)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 10:39PM
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tdsfbay(z9 SFbay)

Great forum and thread here, it would be funny if I were not so incredibly PO'd!!! Of ten huge healthy 6' tall 6' wide tomatoe plants we were just beginning to see ripe tomatoes on, suddenly in the last week half have been killed. I finally figured out, they're getting chewed off right at ground level, and yes, we have tons of moles or perhaps pocket gophers in the area and in this yard. So I'll try the remedies above (Juicy Fruit, pepper spray, chicken wire, etc etc) and let you know what works.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 6:24PM
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tdsfbay(z9 SFbay)

This is UC Davis site on pocket gophers and moles, they say most of the home remedies including chewing gum are just wives tales but I'm trying them anyway. Good to read.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 6:25PM
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les52(Z6 NJ)

I too am having trouble with moles... at least I think they are moles. Has anyone tried the gel poison with warfarin in it? So far I don't think they are "biting" They seem to be just moving to a new part of the yard. I may try the juicy fruit method though I hate chewing gum... maybe I can get my daughter to do the chewing. Love the man of the house peeing in the holes .. what a conversation the neighbors would have about us then!!!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 11:12PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

For pocket gophers, I use both the Victor "black tunnel" traps and strychnine-poisoned grain (biodegradable, but quick-acting).

I dig into a fresh tunnel and set the trap on the same level as the tunnel, so it is like an extension to the tunnel. It doesn't have to be a deep tunnel. I put a little soil in the bottom of the trap, on the gopher side of the trigger. In the hole on the other side of the trap goes a piece of carrot wrapped in parsley leaves. I put soil around the edges of the trap entrance, sprinkle a little soil over all places where light could be visible from inside the trap, and cover the excavation with a disk from a tractor (a cheap, old hubcap and a rock for weight would also work). This keeps other animals from poking around in the area and excludes traces of light.

Sometimes, if I uncover multiple tunnels, I put the poisoned grain down the ones where I have not set the trap. I fasten a plastic measuring spoon to a long handle so I can tip over a spoonful of bait at least a foot inside the opening I have made in the tunnel, which I then pack with dirt. If there is a curve in the tunnel, dig until you find a straight section in which to deposit the bait.

Most often, the trap gets them. They must like carrots and parsley. But sometimes the poison gets them first. After I find the trapped gopher or am confident the poison worked, I fill in the hole and water it down to disperse the strychnine.

I thought I had caught some big gophers, but none of them has approached 13 inches.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2005 at 1:31AM
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banders(z7 VA)

Gardenklutz, is the RatZapper working?


    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 10:31AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

Has anyone used the Rodenator Pro?


    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 12:41AM
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What ever is in my garden in not even close to 13"'s huge...about the size of my elder dog so I'm leaning more towards calling it a woodchuck. The animal is devouring our zuke plants down to the stem-nothing left of them. I've filled in the entrance hole....filled it up with large rocks, tilled the area all of which was unsuccessful.

I've pulled a book out of my garden library titled "Protecting Your Garden From Animal Damage" ORTHO BOOKS. There are some very good suggestions in this book that I am going to try. I don't even want to tell you how much vegetation/produce these things can consume in 24hrs....

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 10:50AM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

thought these things were nocturnes?? theres a day shift too! i have been out in the garden twice and found them kicking dirt out of their "main interchange" tomato hole, my new heirloom "jubilee".

the juicey fruit is a no go, actually i had heard that before, but was bazooka. the kitty litter does stun them for a few minutes, but they have retaken the western front, and seem to be making a traditional pincer movement from both flanks.

i have been here 4 growing seasons and this is the first that ive had any real trouble with these varmints. i had a electronic gopher and mole repeller that makes a horrible racket but they are dealing with that. i have relocated it several times, seemingly to no avail.

the ground is to rocky for carbon monoxide or water to be effective. i have had limited success with road flares, if the fumes dont get em then the lack of oxygen will, if its not too rocky.

has anybody tried something simple like say, dish washing liquid or sour milk or ??? anybody? NAPALM?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 7:43PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

what justa doggone minute. maybe the gum did work. it just took a couple of days. their "main interchange" suddenly has alot less traffic than it used to, or maybe they just moved the whole operation a little closer to home MY HOME

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 10:19AM
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I've been using gassers to no avail. I did make sure that someone was home too. So someone mentioned to me that they had heard of hooking a hose up to your vehicle and then sticking the other end down the tunnel....carbon monoxide poisoning. Has anyone tried this? What are pros and cons. I'm just stuck, I don't deal with dead animal bodies very well, especially when there's a possibility of it not being all the way dead and then I'd have to finish it off myself(this is why I can't do traps). I'm a wus!(and the gophers know it)
Anyway, if anyone has tried this technique......would you patent it?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 7:24PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

well the juicy fruit is definately a no go as a weapon for the varmints. the inactivity that i was seeing was them remodeling after i busted their bunker, they have regrouped, rebuilt, and what was their main interchange is now their foyer. found a mass of tunnels about 2 to 3 feet down that covers about a 4 by 6 foot area on surface. the one "sonic repelller" they filled with mud so badly it stopped working. the other i got, that makes a click every 30 seconds or so, remains inconclusive to date, but neighbor swears its working there.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 12:19PM
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DPallas(z6, SW Mo)

I've tried the poison pellets and gels, but there are so many moles (yard surrounded by woods and pasture) that it's hard to say if I ever got any or not. The feral cats, snakes, and other wildlife get a few babies, but not enough to control them. Gases, borax, gum, etc... might have got a few, but again, not enough to control them. Killing grubs with lawn treatment year after year doesn't do any good so long as there are plenty of earthworms for them to eat. Spring traps have been a waste of time, and I've never managed to get one with a pitchfork even when I can see it pushing up the soil. Someone mentioned a Jack Russell, and I was seriously considered that until I realized it'd probably dig up the entire lawn hunting them down, and I'd have an even bigger mess.

I finally tried some MoleMover repeller stakes, and they actually work. I've had them planted roughly 50' apart for sixty days now, and I can see that the moles have moved outside the treated area, including leaving two underground cities they'd built. They might be worth a shot on voles (which I don't have) since Lowe's will take them back within 90 days with the receipt. Don't know about other retailers' return policies, check first. I got a defective one - the buzzer grew weak after 2 weeks - and didn't have any problem exchanging it for a new one.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 11:56AM
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maddigger(z6 NW Arkansas)

I can't believe the juicy fruit gum didn't work.. I had moles runs and holes in several of my gardens and all around my yard. They were so bad I almost quit gardening. Then I heard about the gum trick and it worked like a miracle. In two days no more tunnel mounds. After the first night I stomped the tunnels down. I had to treat the area a couple times this year because moles from the surrounding fields moved in but I'm once again mole free and happy. I was told to make sure when I put the gum in the hole to wear latex gloves and not touch the gum. I never used the gloves but was careful to only touch the wrapping foil and once I dropped the gum, if it didn't go in the hole all the way, I'd poke it in with a stick. I tried all kinds of poisons and traps but nothing worked till the gum.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 12:29AM
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SweetB(z6 OR)

Okay...moles the best way is to trap them! I've done the castor soap lawn spray, etc. Usually you only have a few moles causing all the damage! It just looks like they dug a platoon full of bunkers in your yard!

Gophers on the other hand can be quite difficult to kill!
Some of them you can get with gas but others you need to trap!

Moles will not mess with the plants other than uprooting them as they eat the vermin that collect around the plant which is usually in the damp moist soil! Moles love the moist soil!

Gophers on the other hand will eat the plant roots!

In both instances a good way to protect your plants is chicken wire down in the soil around the root ball of your plant! Basically make a bowl of chicken wire that comes right up to the top of the soil! The pesky rodents won't burrow into it! Will save your plants that way!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 8:18PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

been there, this thing is HUGE it actually seems to have a drain to drain off the water that is inundating their home, leaving them high and dry. they have taken up residence in the terraces of my garden. at each "step" of terrace there is a gopher "bunker". when i probe around with a bunker buster(digging bar) i can hit into two or three levels of den, and the bottom always has gravel that the bar hits (about 3 ft)also found where they have taken up residence under an old stump, come burn season that will be the gopher version of DRESDEN or gopher-que2005(i hear they taste like chicken, though)

i have used the "baskets" in the past for things not in the "garden proper" but chicken wire is not the answer, if you use chicken wire it MUST be doubled, round these parts we need 1/4 inch hardware cloth, and any basket must be at least 3 inches above the ground, as they will get over anything that isnt.
the cats seem extra interested in the dens now though, have caught them laying waitng for something to pop up out of the holes like they hear something happening down there and its just a matter of time before lunch arrives

being ever the optomist, i am finding that the soil that is coming out of the bunkers is the most beautiful, rich brown, loamy, not from round these parts, kinda stuff. but by no means, worth the trade.

hoping that the electronic clicker works, as yet inconclusive. anyhoo, 2005 will go into the patriot nutrients & controls books as "the year of the gopher".

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 10:53AM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

i read on the thread that you chew it first, and then "bombs away!" down the hole. went through 2 plenty paks of jf, and the only enjoyment was me on sugar. unless theres sooooo many of these varmints that as soon as i terminate one theres a fresh new recruit to fall into the previous ones foxhole and begin the fight anew.

the "giving up gardening" thing has crossed my mind, but then again it did in the "year of the deer", "year of the rabbit" and the "year of the rat" too. this is what PATRIOT NUTRIENTS & CONTROLS was borne of, the desire to naturally rid my garden of pestilents

i am curios regarding the "mole mover" stakes? are they chemical or electronic? the one that i am currently trying is a "go'pher it", the package says give it a couple of weeks, as i said previosly the neighbor swears that its working there, am thinking in a couple of weeks no tomatoes left and they have to move on. cant sit and wait know theyre out there rending my garden to shreds. hmmmmmmmmmm, not good, need help, kemosabe.

anybody had any luck with the broken glass? my area is too large to cover the whole thing with it. has anybody heard of using lemon grass as a border. i have heard that lemon grass and members of the euphorbia family will actually keep them at bay?? dont know if its too tough to chew or if its a chemical thing?? anybody??

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 12:48PM
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DPallas(z6, SW Mo)

The MoleMover stakes are electronic and they say "Go'Pher It II" on the top of the green plastic screw-on top, but the package says "MOLEMOVER". They take 4 alakaline or rechargable C batteries, and are 14.75" tall. They make a very loud buzz every 28 seconds out of the ground, and once they're planted you can hear the lawn beeping. It's barely audible, but with several going, it is noticable. I don't find it bothersome, in fact it's handy to know the batteries are still good and they're not malfunctioning. Unfortunately, 3 out of 4 of my feral cats ran away from home when I put them in, and only two came back. These may be the same thing you have, and they do take a couple weeks to work.

I don't have gophers like you, I have moles. According to this paper from UC Davis (linked below), gophers aren't as easy to scare as moles, and repeller stakes aren't proven effective on them. Sorry :-( You might leave them in for a little while and see what happens, though - it can't hurt, so long as you're working on trapping or baiting them in the meantime.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 5:35PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

thank you for responding. sounds like the same thing with a west coast package. gophers instead of moles! i have seen the gopher intelligence report from UCD and it is not good. i have an extra cat if you would like one, one left from litter. moms a good mouser, too!
my observations regarding the drainage project that the little antagonists have been working on, i noticed on my last recon of the perimeter that my lowest tier in the garden is doing better than the other 3, coincidence, i think not. my guess is that the varmints have an underground training facility there, where they are perfecting their underwater demolition skills, gopher seals, as it were.

LMAO, this is getting WAY too much like caddyshack!!

anyhoo, i have no conclusion regarding the mole movers/gopher it. but they have not been able to kill any of my tomatoes, yet, not for lack of trying. the yellow brandywine and the tula blacks are struggling. also wondering if this has something to do with the fact that i have not loofah set on the vine yet??
wonder what pernicious pestilents next year will bring?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 2:37PM
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DPallas(z6, SW Mo)

Since gophers eat roots and castor bean roots are poisonous, have you tried planting castor beans in your tomato bed? I started one in a pot and it grew incredibly fast. Attractive plant, too. It might not repel them, but it will make them quite ill if they take the bait.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 9:56PM
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I also agree with the Juicy fruit gum idea, worked great for us. Don't chew it first, just stick it down the hole. My dogs trashed my front lawn trying to dig these critters up, what a mess.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 12:27PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

thanks for the input, my dogs couldnt give two hoots about them.
i have looked in some other threads to see what was up there, and they are talking ammonia in the hole. i tried that in the varmints new foyer(my heirloom tomato"jubilee") and it has been a couple of days and knock on wood nothing yet(havent been out there this morning yet). with the ammonia at least the tomatoes will love the nitrogen, if nothing else. someone in the other thread was using wriggleys spearmint, saying his gophers would accept no substitute. lotsa trappers in there, also. as for the castor beans i am sure will deter them, but have no idea where to find castor bean seedstock. another possiblity that was brought to light was the old rose stems in the hole trick(thanks! Janice, the deer fix is in the mail) still looking for a neighbor that can keep roses from them.
another concept that was broached in the other thread was the use of landscapers marker flags. the flag flapping in the wind creates a vibration in the wire that they cant stand. i am sure that is the same concept as the gopher stakes, at considerably less cost, and solar powered, too!no batteries! the person was saying that they had pushed wire into the tunnel and walked away. did this person live in the altamont or san gregonio pass? i have some breeze but...? what will that little wire do to the den that is 3 feet below ground? maybe they arent dealing with these mountian gophers? if its the vibration what about putting the gopher/mole stakes in close proximity to some t-posts to enhance their listening enjoyment, or in a length of conduit to amplify the symphony!
BTW still havent watered the lowest tier in the garden and its doing as good as any of the others, all things considered. AND the jury is still out on the electronic stake. am going to try the conduit trick and see if that has any effect. also, going to see if the sonic repeller that they packed so full of mud, it killed it, is going to work now that its dried out some, they obviously didnt like that one! and everyone is so very positive about the gum i will be rethinking the handling of the weaponry! but am still waging war with these things and willing to try about any means necessary. these things are little subterrainian deer is all, just need to figure out how to offend their senses!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 1:56PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

well the ammonia seems to have worked! i dumped a cup into the mounds of fresh earth that were in the foyer and NO NEW activity. this was the sudsy ammonia(99cent store) not the good stuff. all the other spots that i dumped the stuff are the same. had to water though and this will dilute the ammonia, i know tomatoes love nitrogen but dont want to burn them by reapplying. thinking its not enough to kill them if the gas, road flares, propane, vehicle exhaust werent? i have re-upped my supply of juicey fruit and will be laying the "mines" today being VERY careful not to chew it first!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 11:24AM
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CSemerad(8b PHX)

Holy cow! This thread has been the most entertaining ever! We just got our first gophers a few days ago, and I was researching how to get rid of them when I came across here. Ours are day raiders as well as night, and seem concentrated, so far, in just one area of our landscaping, though they have recently started to branch out into the edge of the lawn. The seem especially fond of my dichondra silver falls, lantana, and moss rose. I think they also killed off our flowering plum that was already struggling, and seems to have just up and died overnight since the little varmints have appeared on the scene. Our neighbor came over and stuck a couple of gas bombs down the holes, and I have yet to see what has happened, but I am taking mental notes on the suggestions of ammonia, kitty litter, Juicy Fruit gum, etc., for future use. We are in the middle of lots of new construction and landscaping all around us, and lots of farmland beyond that, so I expect a never-ending battle here. I will be checking back here often to see if there are any new ideas, and to see how well the old ones are working. I'm sorry the darn gophers are so destructive, but you guys are all extremely entertaining!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 11:45AM
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I love the postings here! The king of plants that gophers do not eat is lavender, which is why I have 500 lavender plants! I grow mostly "Grosso" and "Provence". Everything else except daffodils, I plant in gopher baskets. We live on 7 acres in N. California and there are literally thousands of gophers on this former apple orchard. I might try the chewing gum idea, but all of the other methods didn't work for me. I didn't try poison as I have two gopher hunting dogs who work in tandem, digging in towards each other and eat the gophers! Yeah! I give them a treat and high praise, though gopher breath smells BAD!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 3:31AM
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One way I got rid of my gophers, although not in a humane way, was to take my industrial size drain snake, and attach a 3 foot length of barbed wire to the end, and then feed it down into the hole. After a few minutes you will know if you got it or not. It worked for me, but this is not for everybody. Let me know if it works for you. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 5:03PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)


well, the gum is a non issue here. i peeked down a hole that the cat was peering into and the little minions of satan were having a contest to see which one could blow the biggest bubble!

the ammonia definately stuns them for a few days but they come back, even went as far as pouring ammonia over the 1 inch pool chlorine tabs(dont try this at home) to NO AVAIL, thinking the lil suckers have gas masks!!

the "gopher it" stake is a NO GO here!

still havent watered the lowest tier in the garden and it continues to live with only a gourd as an innocent casualty, according to my "embedded" intelligence reports.

last year i couldnt kill a tomato plant and left hundreds of tomatoes on the ground because the neighbors got tired of living on a "toll" road. every time they would drive by, i would make them take their toll.

this year i cant get enough fruit to make a batch of salsa(beautiful with all the different heirlooms), and am now concerned about getting seedstock for next year. i have spent several years acquiring these strains and am seriously wondering about next year. OH I WILL BE GARDENING and am sure that as soon as the crate from the ACME GOPHER EXTERMINATION COMPANY arrives, things will be different then. they dont call me Y LEE for nothing!! LMAO


    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 6:19PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)



    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 6:24PM
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CSemerad(8b PHX)

Well, have tried ammonia (no), drowning (no), gas bombs (no), poison (no), stabbing (no), pepper (no), and digging up each plant to destroy the holes (no). Nothing has worked. They leave for a day and come back with 3-5 new holes, and more grass and plants destroyed. Gum is the only thing I haven't tried, and cats would be a no go around here with all the coyote action. Was hoping the coyotes would eat the gophers! Can't we all just work together??

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 12:49PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

been out around the "neighborhood" gleaning information from the locals and found that at least one of them persues the "big game" method.

it is very time intensive, but there is no way that the long toothed imps will waddle away from the fray!

this method involves a "gopher blind"(similiar to a duck blind), a couple of wine coolers, a 22 rifle, and some patience! (OH, and a bullet)

you find a tunnel that is being used, and dig up the mound of earth to open the tunnel. then you retire to your "gopher blind" and imbibe in the specified refreshments, until you hear the gopher trundling down the tunnel to rebury his throughfare that YOU have breached. it is at that point that the 22 will be employed to render said "minion of satan" up to his maker!

according to the teller of the tale, the process will take about a wine cooler and a half

i actually tried this, sans wine coolers, and the damned cat was so interested in the hole when i finally did hear the gopher(clicking noises) "la gato" was head and shoulders in the hole and i didnt want to risk a "friendly fire" casualty! so i let her have her go at it and that one lived to "tunnel" another day!!

i am hoping the neighbor is doing this in the afternoon but you never know, around here. not sure what time "high ball" hour is at his house. lmao


    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 1:42PM
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Bethany_Z5(Rural Z5)

Sorry I didn't read the comments above so forgive me if I am repaeting already given advise but THE ONLY WAY to rid yourself of Moles is to kill the grubs in your lawn by either going the natural route by using Milky Spore, or chemical route, Merit.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 10:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Bethany, you really really need to read the previous posts before you add comments!!! REALLY! Sigh....I hope the entertainment isn't over!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 10:45AM
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Boy oh boy, my moles went from building runs to building subdivisions!!! Dogs and cats don't seem to help, they just dig up the gardens to catch the moles, the vibrater sticks haven't worked, I have used the ammonia and it moves them for a bit. I wish I could come up with a sure cure for this problem, cuz I sure would be a rich ma ma:-) It's like a cat and mouse game I move them and they sneak back in! I think I have tried everything, and I just can't come up with anything that works!! The little varmits have a little bitty pea brain and we can't control them!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 1:54AM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

i have NOT ONE clue as to what has transpired. all intelligence reports indicate that the enemy may be regrouping. all is quiet on the front. TOOO QUIET! the last time this happened was just before the "RAT OFFENSIVE", back in '98! the lil "weasel wannabes" had a labyrinth of tunnels underground,including barricks, supply depots, hospitals, mess facilities, and an officers club!! all fortified by the rocky outcroppings of my garden, the enemy was well entrenched,............i am laughing too hard to type!
dont know what seems to have happened but suddenly the garden has a burst of growth, outposts that i had bugged out of, can now be recaptured and resupplied. i may be able to reestablish my seedstock supply lines.

i only threatened to use my "weapons of mass destruction" on them!

BTW, still no water on lowest tier of garden, looks like there will be some yellow brandywines after all!!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 11:46PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

just one doggone minute there, louisiana!!!
havent seen you round these parts before, BUT, this forum is in the midst of some serious scientific research!!

where on this green earth did you get the idea that your dogs and cats should, or would, for that matter, be aiding and abetting the myopic maraurders? KEEEE-RIST, the gophers are bad enough!! CAN YOU IMAGINE THE SIZE OF THOSE TUNNELS!!

as i stated previously, louie! in this forum, we are all SERIOUS scientists, out standing in our fields!!
it is the nature of this business that we collectively collaborate, conive, conspire, contemplate, converse, concur, consumate, contrive, consent, construct and consider our current controversy, sometimes contentiously.
SO, WE DONT NEED ANY "LOUIE COME LATELY!", just waltzing in and grabbing for the brass ring with dogs and cats!! do you even own a gopher blind, yet?!

feel free to peruse the archives and find that we clearly have been able to SCIENTIFICALLY synthesize a very successfull method, because we're scientists, damnit!
but first, you need to get the parts together for the "instrument". (all these items and plans are available thru ACME GOPHER EXTERMINATION COMPANY, contact them at

1)gopher blind, 1 each
2)wine coolers,
3)22 rifle, with ammunition
4)gross polluting vehicle, aspirated, 1 each
5)landscapers flags
6)road flares, 2 cases
7)chewing gum, unchewed. the flavor of gum is determined by your sunset zone
8)kitty litter, previously employed
9)gasoline, jerry baker can
10)sodium hyperchlorite(7% solution),55 gallon drum
11)anhydrous ammonia, train carload
12)large propane torch, (military surplus flame thrower works very well as a suitable substitute)
13)more wine coolers
the cooling plant of the current prototype model uses a "run to waste" system, that consumes about 1000 gallons/day of water/neem oil mix, with a few drops of dish soap to break the surface tension.

well, what are you waiting for?? i thought that you couldnt join this forum, unless you already owned a gopher blind?

welcome to the hood
my sides hurt!!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 1:45AM
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Jeff, I haven't tried pouring wine coolers down the tunnels :-) but it might just work! The little pea brained varmits might just get loaded and stumble into the trap that was rigged for them, you know the one where you dug the whole and put a coffee can under, so they would fall into it and you then can throw them into the yard of a crooked politician or other :-)
Jeff,I haven't been here befor dahlin, I frequent the hypertufa forum and a few others, but I was lookin for a solution for another problem and stumbled onto the mole thingy and I couldn't resist:-) and with all the Katrina and Rita stuff goin on I needed a bit of humor and spice added to my life. Thanks

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 7:33AM
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I'm fairly new to gardenweb and have just discovered this forum. Found this recipe some time back and has worked for me.
In a blender, mix 2 ounces castor oil with 1 ounce liquid dish detergent. The mixture should become as thick as shaving cream. Add an equal volume of water and blend a second time.
Then fill a watering can with warm water, add 2 tablespoons of the oil mixture, stir and sprinkle over the mole infested area.
I've found I get the best results if I use this remedy after a rain or a good watering. Repeat in 2 weeks.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 9:22PM
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patriotnutrients(butte co, Calif)

now thats what i'm talkin bout, some good ol fashioned chemical warfare like gramma used to do!! we have already established that the lil things do not like castor beans/oil and this is a good distribution system. but would it just drive them farther underground?? how did the blender fare in the fracus!!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 10:05PM
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gemfire(z9/10 AZ)

I haven't tried them out yet but my friend grows
caster beans and says the moles and voles will
disappear. She gave me some beans to plant.
Will let you know.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 7:58PM
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CSemerad(8b PHX)

DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD!!!!!! I have no idea what happened, but after much warfare the little buggers have given up and moved out! The last thing I did was open up a new hole and pour poison pellets in it, left it open, came back and it was covered up. I never saw them again after that, and it's been almost 2 weeks now. Yippeeeeeeee!!!!!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 11:28AM
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garden_grump(O-Zone 10)

I was stumbling around the net looking for a way to keep racoons from digging up my garden and figured I'd also look up gophers while I was at it to see what I could learn.

Didn't find what I was looking for regarding racoons, but this gopher thread has been such a delight!

I am impressed with the ingenuity involved in the many scientific schemes for getting rid of pocket gophers and other critters of annoyance.

I spent many years doing scientific research on killing fleas on my dog, including using fels-naptha soap, putting the dog in a plastic bag with dry ice and holding the bag closed around his neck (with a fan in front of his face), doing the same thing and instead of dry ice, using chlorine ammonia mix etc. Somehow the dog managed to survive - but he's dead now (19 years is long enough!)

So I feel right at home here, even being a newcomer to this gopher subject as I have a lot of scientific experience. And it's nice to know there are a lot of other scientific folks around.

In the past few years I neglected our garden and now after returning to it's attention I find gopher burrows everwhere. It looks like they learned a lot from the Caltrance engineers that designed the L.A. freeways. So nowI have to get back into action.

In the past I managed to control gophers pretty well. I learned this from my dog. To get rid of these varmints requires persistence, ya gotta keep at it every time you see a new mound.
I do this: each new mound gets opened up to expose all of the connecting tunnels (if possible) and then pour a cup of ammonia and a cup of liquid bleach (the amount depends on the mood) into the hole and close up the opening real fast. Don't breath the fumes, and be sure to not let it leak - I believe the stuff generated is phosgene gas and is much toxic. The mixture boils and roils and makes toxic fumes that travel around in the tunnels and do their work. A little extra ammonia along with the critters adds nitrogen to the soil, so there are some plusses.

Considering the nature of the science, this is no more dangerous than gopher blinds and shotguns, so it could work pretty much everywhere.

A Gardner friend mentioned that gophers don't like fish emulsion in their burrows. It will probably call all the racoons to come and investigate. I haven't tried it yet.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 5:30PM
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zeusnjacky(N CA)

Gophers are definitely a reoccuring problem here. I usually get about 15-20 a year (between dogs, swimming pool, and different extermination techniques). What I have found that works the best is the metal traps assuming they are in an area that you can increase the size of the hole easily. I typically use 4 traps in separate locations and usually will get the gopher within 1 to 2 days. Recently however I was faced with the issue of about 5-6 holes a day appearing in the middle of our lawn and rose bushes. Also last year all of my raised beds were invaded by gophers and both locations are not great for expanding holes without caussing considerable damage to surrouding fauna. I just tried a unique solution today that I felt should be posted. I read in several different articles on the net that carbon monoxide due to its weight is much more lethal to gophers than the gopher bombs and other fumigants. I tried a gopher bomb yesterday in a hole that was extremely clear.. I put the bomb in and it totally disappeared down the hole. Anyhow the gopher was back the next day so it didnt work.

Anyhow my first attempt was to use my rototiller since it doesnt have a catalytic converter (much more toxic than a car). Unfortunately that test didnt go well because I attached a garden hose to the exhaust with a makeshift adapter. The hose melted after 30 sec. Hmm time for a redesign.

My second attempt was more promising. I went to the hardware store and bought some flexible dryer piping. I hose clamped that to my cars exhaust and then used the same melted hose as before and put that in the other end with rags stuffed around it so it didnt leak. I check the airflow in the hose and it was good so I put in the gopher hole and put dirt around the hose so it didnt leak out the opening. After a couple minutes everything seemed fine so I checked my other traps I had in the area. Upon returning the gopher was sitting in the lawn apparently trying to get a breath of fresh air. Problem solved. Incidentally the gopher came out the same hole I put the gopher bomb in and covered.

Now if the gophers in my raised beds return I have a way to get them as well and test if this was just dumb luck. I have heard that the golf courses in the area use exhaust from their vehicles to keep the gophers out of the courses and supposedly it is 90% effective. That was the reason I decided to try it.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 6:35PM
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I've been peeing in my backyard along w/ my male beagle and it has worked very good.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 9:08PM
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cat22woman(z7 OK)

Hahahah, this is great! I have something (kinda sounds like pocket gophers to my horror!), and I wouldn't notice them much except my dog is digging up my garden and back yard trying to get to them. I've never noticed that she's caught one, so I've never seen one close up. If they start tearing up my garden too, I'll at least know to come back here to get info on destroying them! :)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 3:47PM
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flowerfloosey(z8 NCal mnts)

owl boxes!! A friend of mine that lives in Oregon, told me that her gopher population has dwindled down to nothing after she installed an owl nest. My local high school wood shop makes them for anyone who wants one for a small charge. The only problem that they have to go up in a tree at least 30 feet. Mine is on order so will re-post as soon as I find out what happens. The master gardeners here in my town swear by them too!Guess they mostly feed on small rodent like animals.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 10:01PM
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I have had gophers destroying my two acres. I have tried all of the above. I recently started trapping with the Victor BlackBox and have had close to 100% success. the trick is to make their tunnel unlivible for the next one that comes along. I have a sprayer dedicated to pure ammonia, which I spray in the tunnel after a successful trap. the fumes linger for a long time and I have yet to see one re-occupied. (It's actually best to destroy as much of the tunnel that you can)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 6:58PM
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I'm back :-) I just heard the other day-put exlax in the runs, don't know if it work yet!!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 11:52PM
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slogal(CA z10a/Sunset 16)

Has anyone tried Underground Exterminator? It's a rubber coupler that attaches to a car exhaust pipe and then to a garden hose and into the hole. The gnawing ones are killed by CO -- a painless death, no maimed bodies to finish off and dispose of and no risk of secondary poisoning of predators. Seems to be a good method IF it's effective.

Someone earlier on in the thread mentioned the Rat Zapper, which has worked very well for us in killing rats. One of the rats was so large my husband had trouble getting it out of the Zapper -- it took quite a bit of shaking to get it loose.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 7:10PM
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foothill_mark(Mother Lode foothills Z7)

After losing four of my first ever planted heirloom tomato plants .... the main stem of my beautiful Brandywine was chewed completely through just a inch below the surface and left to wilt, hanging like from a gallows.

The REVENGE factor runs high here! I've tried exhaust from a 3 wheel Honda 250cc motorcycle, steel fanged spring traps, full pressure from a garden hose for over 45 mins (never seeing a drop of water much less a soggy gopher emerge, a Gopher Gasser flare bomb, .22 Remington Long Rifle Sub-Sonics, Wilco Type 1 strychnine poisoned bait, peeing down open holes, a home brew propane/oxygen blaster, and most recently "Juicy Fruit" gum.

I figure the attack on the Brandywine was the rodent's revenge for our attempt to get him with the blaster. War has casualties and I'm sure we've inflicted some, but the small victories only seem to delay more damage. It's a battle against insurgents that must be persevered. Semper Fi! Hoo-RAH!

Sometimes the casualties are ourselves. Hope you enjoy this short (3 1/2 second) video as much as the gophers did! You can analyze the sequence of events by hitting the play pause button repeatedly for stop motion effect. No injuries, but it did scare the begeezes out of the photog (me) and prompted some modification of our home brew rodent blaster.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 7:14PM
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malorn(7 S.E. Mass)

I know a few paople have said this..but since using clumps of used kitty litter at every entrance/exit hole I more of them..I just put a clump in the hole...I have 5 it was a cheap way to get rid of them...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 8:14PM
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TwoMonths(So Calif)

well, in S CA it makes no sense to use a vibrating repeller, I mean, we shake all the time, every day....just look at the earthquake site USGS and look at the San Jacinto fault in Riverside and San Diego Co....3.8 last night. but we get almost constant shakes it seems even not on the they like The poison pellets do not work here, they just push them out...and I do not touch them...use a spoon.

anyone ever tried putting a M80 firecracker down a hole? not out for gas lines, lol. Or how about a firecracker thatis a Roman Rocket...might do some damage, lol.

I do not want to repell...that is how we got them in the neighbor on corner repelled them all around from his back to our front and the other used road flares and drove some to the back least the ones that his dog did not eat (8 at last count). I want to KILL...we are thinking of a Caddy Shack sign for our fences and front yard. They are driving my husband to the grave...

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 1:12PM
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Does anyone know if ground squirrels go underground/hibernate when the weather is very hot... near 100'? I have not seen any of my pesky friends for about 5 days now, since this heat wave we are having.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 9:02AM
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I posted this some years ago but I thought it might help to post it again.

To get rid of gophers I begin by washing my hands and putting on latex gloves and cloth gloves over them. I first find an active area. Not one with a 6" high mound but one just started (I used to mow the ground and see who started to kick dirt up - I have 1.7 acres). Next I use a 1/4" steel rod that I can bend but retains its shape. I use this to locate the actual hole and direction of the tunnel. Using a narrow hand trowel, I dig out the entrance to the tunnel. I try to be the least invasive as possible.

I place the trap in the hole as far as I can without tearing up the ground. I use McAbee kill traps (I'm sure most open spring traps are the same) This is a tedious process, and I typically trigger the traps 4 or 5 times just to get one set right. The trap is tied to a stake using bailing wire - they will chew through string. I then put a stick of gum directly behind the trap.

I've read and heard from a number of sources that they use Juicy Fruit out of the wrapper to kill gophers. Theory is that they can't resist eating and either choke on it or are unable to pass it through their body and die. Hearing of this, I integrated this into my "system", but I use the juicy fruit in the foil wrapper (only) as bait.

If I am working the tunnel entrance I leave it uncovered (on the theory that the gopher may think this new hole just caved in). However if I return to find the entrance filled in, it probably means you are very close to a main tunnel. When working a main tunnel you have to put a trap in each direction.. After I set a trap in each direction, I cover it with nearby grass and sticks, and cover it lightly with the dirt I removed from the hole.

I find that committing a lot of time over a short period is better than a little time over a long period. After buying our home I finally got around to doing something about the gophers. After I put together my process I caught 14 in one day using only 10 traps. Ultimately I killed 85 gophers on my property in about a month, almost all of them in the first 3 weeks. I have not found poison to be that effective, and definitely less satisfying. My current count is 118 dead in 15 months.

One other thing I've heard is that you should leave the dead gopher in the hole so that other gophers won't reoccupy the same hole. But with a dog on the property I would not want over 100 dead gophers in the ground on my property. Rinse your traps after each time you use them, and wash them regularly in soap and water. Some people use vegetable oil to lubricate them

The only thing I would add is that I now remove all dirt kicked out by the gophers. I use it on my property to fill old gopher holes (isn't it ironic). Otherwise you end up with large areas of compacted dirt without anything growing out of it.

Using this method I was able to completely kill all the gophers on my property, not merely chase them into a neighbors yard like some methods do. In the spring I defend my property boundaries and trap any new visitors at their first sign. I also use poison and believe it works, but you can never be cetain if you don't see the body.

Oh and by the way, if your biggest garden problem is moles, consider yourself lucky. While moles can create annoying and messy problems in a yard, gophers can completely take over your property and destroy your plants.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 2:33PM
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ventura_ca_royce(10b CA)

I have successfully trapped gophers using a spring trap and a potato. My father taught me to set the trap and put a raw potato behind it. The potato must smell really good because the gopher runs to get it and hits the plate on the trap. My father also taught me to push the dead gopher back into the hole to repel other gophers. He never told me what to do with the potato, so I usually push it back into the hole too. One day I caught a gopher in the middle of our lawn and buried it in the hole with the potato. The next morning I saw something round and potato-shaped in the middle of the lawn, about ten feet from the gopher hole, and went out to look at it. It was the potato from the gopher hole. I thought a cat or a racoon had dug it out, so I pushed it back into the hole and packed it in hard with dirt. The next morning I looked outside and the potato was back in the middle of the lawn again. This time I dug up the burrow to see what was going on. The dead gopher was still there. A second gopher had packed dirt against the dead one and then tunneled around it and thrown the potato out of the hole. I have changed my mind about potatos. I now believe that gophers HATE potatos and the reason a potato is so effective in drawing them into a trap is they are running to get it out of their tunnel.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 6:52PM
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Our method has proven fairly effective:

A young, active cat combined with repeated application of JUICY FRUIT (very important) gum.

Use at least a couple of packs of gum per application. Tear each stick of gum in half, roll it up, and place six inches from the mound. Surround each mound in this way.

Buy the gum in bulk and repeat this several times - it took three applications for us. While I cannot prove definitively that this is what eliminated the problem, I do know that by late August the mounds stopped appearing.

I cannot complain about our mole problems, which have been minimal, with these effective control methods.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 8:06PM
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I bought what I assume is a harpoon trap - an ungainly steel contraption. It would not stay set, and requires a major hassle digging a large deep hole in your lawn. Setting it is extremely difficult and dangerous; mine would not even stay set. I will not buy another one and would not recommend these.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 8:12PM
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Well I do feel foolish! I registered yesterday, posted a message in another forum asking a question that this forum deals with. Thats what I get for "NOT" following the instructions. Anyway, I have been experimenting with companion planting for several years and this year I planted a variety of herbs and alliums with the tomatoes and had a 100% reduction of the varmints and like I said in the other forum the only bugs I seen were bees, wasps and butterflies on the borage. I don't know if I have moles, voles or pocket gophers but next year I'll see if I can "getem" out of the potatoes and watermelon.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 12:21PM
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Sorry the link to my photo didn't work. Try again.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 1:25PM
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Put ex-lax in their tunnels, they won't be back. ANAEROBIC

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 10:12PM
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After many attempts, seminars, and close to deadly experiences I have found two things that consistently work to kill most burrowing pests.

FIRST, a few hints:

Burrowing animals only use most tunnels once or twice for feeding. You need to find an active run (probably common knowledge) before using any method of control. Smash a 2 inch section of their burrow and see if they rebuild within a couple days. If they do then it's active. Specifically with moles, they don't like their holes open, so if you open it and it gets filled in within a day or two at the most then that run is active. The tunnels to the mounds are only for disposing of dirt and should not be used for trapping or poisoning. This will only result in irritation, you need to find a tunnel they travel in regularly.

Burrowing creatures are cautious if anything seems out of the ordinary to them, so keep tunnels the same diameter if setting traps.

Use gopher traps for gophers and mole traps for moles. This is because moles will push dirt onto and over gopher traps, while gophers will walk over the trap first because they don't mind open holes.

Moles are active in 4 hour shifts. In most parts of the world they are most active at dawn and dusk with the least activity is happening around them. So watch for their activity in the calm of the evening or morning to know where the active tracks are and the best places to set traps.

Moles dig one main active tunnel in a direction, then dig side tunnels for feeding and pushing dirt out that they have dug up. So look for intersections, and set traps at the "T"s connected to mole mounds that are active. The mole won't return to the mound again, but will probably pass by it again if it was recently active.

No trap, bait or home remedy will every work if not placed used on an active run under ground. This also means using these things during very wet, dry, or cold weather is probably a waste of your time considering the fact burrowing animals tend to change their habits and how deep they stay in their burrows to match environmental conditions.

Always wear gloves, it is true that pests will bury or avoid traps set by people not wearing gloves because of the smell. Also I rub my gloves in the dirt before setting bait or traps so additional smells will be transferred less.


The only poison I have found that is legally available to a homeowner and is effective is bromethalin bait. An example can be found at (though possibly not the best deal, shot around)

When using this bait you need to either find an active runway by probing, or use the method I will explain here. You can't just drop the bait into the hole under a mole mound because it won't reach the active tunnel. Wear gloves when using this product, both for your own safety, and to make sure the pest doesn't smell you and bury the bait. You will need a wire claw like the one pictured here.

The manufacturer doesn't tell you this, but a third of the worm will kill most small pests so split the worm into 3 pieces (don't set down the bait and leave a piece unburied, it will affect other animals that find them such as the neighbors cat!). Find an active tunnel, and carve the mound off the top. Use your gloved hand to probe and find the entrance to the tunnel. If you just drop the worm in nothing will happen because the mound tunnel is only a side shoot from the active track which is probably 8 to 12 inches away from the mound. Grab a piece of the worm with your wire claw and insert it as far into the tunnel as you can get it, farther is better. Wiggle it around to make sure it won't go in any more (is it in at least 6 inches?) then pull it back a half an inch and release the worm from the claw in the hole. Wiggle the claw back out, and cover over the hole. This method for killing pests is my favorite because it is low impact, no holes left over from digging in traps.

If you do use a trap, the best one on the market is the Victor® OUT O'SIGHT® Mole Trap. This is also the only way you will know for sure if you are succeeding without waiting a week or two to find out. Ideally you will find a tunnel within 6" of the surface to set your traps. Here is my method for setting successful traps...
First, unplug mounds, and squash surface runs in 2 inch sections to check for activity. If they are dug out again or bumped back up within a day or two then follow the hole from the mound back to the active track that it branches off from. Be sure to wear gloves to mask your odor! Use a high quality trap like the victor out o'sight mole trap. Dig out the hole, then reshape the tunnel edges the same size as the rest of the tunnel. Find a wad of coarse, dry grass and crunch it up into a flat pancake or a ball. This grass will be used to plug the hole directly under the trap where the mole is moving through so the animal will have to push the grass up and out of the way, triggering the trap. Make sure the hole where you are setting the trap is the same diameter as the rest of the hole on either side, and make sure their are no rocks. Burrowing animals tend to like smooth, compact tracks to run in. Place the trap over the tunnel that you have dug out and make sure it is centered. If you push the trap into the dirt too far it won't react fast enough, if you don't push it down enough then the trip plate will be too far up to be effective. Place your grass in the tunnel to obstruct the traveling pest under the trip place, then put the trap into place. Fill in the area on top of the trap with lightly compacted dirt so it doesn't block the trap from being set off. However, keep in mind the hole around the trap needs to be sealed fairly well, otherwise the mole will sense the fresh air and might push dirt down the hole in front of him and bury or set off the trap at the wrong time. (this isn't as much an issue with gophers since they open their holes on purpose) It is a nice when possible to leave an inch or so of the trap sticking out of the ground because it is easy to tell if the trap has been set off or not without digging it up. Take a bucket and a brick. Place the bucket over the trap, and the brick on top of the bucket to protect the trap and neighborhood pets from the trap. Check the trap daily, if after three days the trap has still not been set off and activity is still occurring in your lawn then move the trap to the location where the activity is centered and re-set the trap. Burrowing animals tend to migrate around lawns following their food source (in most cases grubs and worms).

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 2:31AM
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Woo Hoo and Victory Dance!!! I am thankful this thanksgiving to have my first perfect kill in trap on a pocket gopher! The fiend had been burrowing back and forth of the property line for a week, menacing my fruit trees and all the vegetables we eat and causing some minor damage to my Suriname Cherry. Using advice on this thread (thank you) and googling I correctly set two traps wired to post in a main tunnel with a granite slab over, before several days of incredible rain, and when rain stopped I found him, an adult near the surface impaled through the heart (MacAbee knockoff trap), so he didn't suffer waiting for me to finish the job. What a relief! Snow Queen and the low-chill Cherry trees have been spared! He was laid to rest in his tunnel, under the raspberry bush. A molemover deterrent stake purchased at discovery of the unwelcome guest remains on guard nearby. I bought it because of the glowing expression of satisfaction made by a credible, intelligent customer at the hardware store seeing me considering the available remedies.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 8:08PM
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Bill Murray went for the shotgun method, but even that didn't work.
Stabbed through the heart? You are one sick mother.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 9:28PM
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Why do we need perfect lawns ....Moles aerate the soil and eat japanese beetle larvae Which is a good thing@!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 11:28PM
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Over the past two years I tried just about everything recommended on this site. What seemed to work last year for the chipmunks and voles was a mixture of peanut butter, sunflower seeds and D-Con, placed in plastic containers laid on their sides next to the holes.I covered that with up-ended buckets, to keep other animals away from it, and it was eaten whenever I checked it. This year I have only found a few holes, but we had a record-setting amount of rain this spring (one storm dropped 4 inches in two hours), so maybe the varmints drowned. This year I tried something different on the new holes, soaking some paper towels in ammonia and using a straightened wire hanger to poke them in as far as I could. No new holes or runs have appeared. I also did this to some mole runs and they are gone. The ammonia seems to work as well as kitty litter or those urines from the garden store.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 6:32PM
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Gardeners need to stop viewing wildlife as intruders. They have no intention of bothering us. They simply want the same things as we do: a safe shelter, sufficient food, and a good place to raise their families. We owe them some kindness and respect. We'll have a clear conscience if we treat them humanely.


Moles are fascinating mammals. They are often called "the gardener's best friend." Moles are insectivores, not rodents. They feed day and night, and ridding the lawn and garden of grubs, slugs, slug eggs, beetles, moth larvae, earwigs, snails, and sow bugs. Only occasionally do they eat a little vegetation. If something is nibbling your tulips it could be voles, who sometimes borrow mole tunnels.

Moles have heavyset bodies 4" - 6" long, short legs with five fingered "hands," and eyes that are almost blind. They spend almost all the time underground in tunnels, temporarily used feeding tunnels near the surface and deeper, more permanent tunnels up to 30" below ground. Tunnels near the surface appear as narrow strips of slightly raised earth. A mole arranges its excavated earth in small circular hills with a plugged hole in the middle. In contrast, gophers push the earth into fan-shaped mounds with the entrance hole at one side. Moles are highly territorial and do not tolerate overlap with other moles. Therefore, if you have evidence of mole activity, probably just one active mole is there, patrolling its tunnels for grubs and insects. As one gardener has written, "A single, resident mole is a welcome tenant."

Your grass may be greener and stronger in areas where a mole is active due to the mole's beneficial aeration and grub removal services. Because of all their assistance in soil aeration and pest control one gardening blog states, "The best way to control moles is to do nothing at all. Live peacefully with them."

Moles rarely come to the surface, although a friend who works at a nearby industrial park discovered one in his company's corridor during renovations. He used cardboard and a wastebasket to transfer gently and carefully the nearly blind creature outdoors to a nearby thicket with recently watered, moist earth, thankful that it was he who came upon the confused, nearly blind creature.

Once you are sure that you have a mole in your garden you can decide simply to leave it alone. It's easy to tamp down the slightly raised tunnels near the surface. Simply smooth out molehills with a rake.

If necessary, moles can be deterred using the following non-toxic strategies:

1) Reduce your lawn and you'll reduce moles. If you have a large, generously watered lawn you are providing an ideal habitat for moles. It is best to avoid over watering (and wasting water).

2) Use non-toxic methods of grub and insect control, thus reducing the mole's food supply.

3) Distribute a castor oil derivative such as Mole-Med in your garden. Castor oil spray is also effective for gophers. It does not harm plants.

4) Around areas you want to protect, install 1/4" hardware cloth 12" deep with a 12" section projecting at a 90° angle underground.

5) A number of experienced gardeners advise not to insert dangerous things into mole tunnels, not only because they don't work but because they can also put your kids and pets at risk.

6) Daffodils are said to repel moles, also the Allium genus of plants (garlic, onion, leek, chives, shallots).

7) Live trapping should be the last resort. It is risky for moles because moles cannot survive more than a few hours without feeding. Live traps must be monitored every hour, and relocation of moles must occur immediately. Be sure to keep hands away from a trapped mole as he will be very frightened and try to defend himself.

As many gardeners point out, trapping or killing does not work due to the presence of deep, underground tunnels and food that moles like. Another mole may soon move into the vacated area. The trapping could go on forever, and new moles would continue to be attracted to the area.

For helpful information on dealing ecologically and humanely with gophers visit "How to Get Rid of Gophers," message of 7/31/11 on the Garden Web.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 7:56PM
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With all due respect - and I mean that - the situation is much more complicated than people just getting annoyed at wildlife trying to share our space. In my entire life I have not witnessed anything like this. It's not simply a matter of wildlife losing habitat - - it's much more serious. An excellent case study is the way the eco-system recovered in Yellowstone when the wolves were re-introduced. Even the streams improved! Our entire eco-system is out of balance and the ridiculous monoculture lawns, use of glyphosate and other pesticides, and ornamental gardens full of exotic plants are actually *causing* the mole and rodent problem to worsen by creating an imbalance in the sub-terranian organism population. I'm about as deep green and pro-environment as you can get but until you have lived with a full on onslaught you simply aren't in a position to judge. I have a vole or chipmunk hole about every two feet throughout my entire front lawn and nearly everything in my veggie and herb garden has been eaten by voles or deer and they have even done significant damage to the foundation of my house. We are dealing with an imbalance, not simply resentment of other animals sharing our space. I have to keep neighbor children off my lawn for fear of someone breaking a leg or worse in one of those holes. I could go on and on about this but suffice it to say nothing is simple, least of all this subject.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 8:34PM
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LaurieK123(7b Oregon)

I had a really really bad gopher problem. I tried to be humane. We bought thumpers and other things that emit sounds and vibrations that the gophers were supposed to hate, but they continuted to dig their holes right next the the supid devices.

We tried the lame water thing too and that didn't work.

Next we tried bait and that didn't work. We had to be very careful about the bait, because it is not good to use that kind of poison/bait in a vegetable garden.

Lots of $$ gone now from my plants being destroyed and $$ out from all this stuff that isn't working, we started using flares and smokers. The instructions say to light it and put all the way into the hole and cover it up for an hr. So, I come out an hr later and the flare has been pushed up on top of the ground still smoldering and the creature has already rebuilt his tunnel (within the hr that it was supposed to be dying)


Then we decided the gloves were off and we got spiky traps. I have to say that the ones that spike downward were a joke for us. But, now we are to the end of the story, which also happens to be the end of the growing year with half my garden destroyed and we are to the last thing we tried.

We were now trying the rat-trap looking devices. We opened a hole up and put one in and laid some nastritium on the other side of it for bait. This was their favorit plant in my garden. AND, it worked, the trap closed on it, but didn't kill it. We had to try to pull him out and he got away.

Turns out the awful truth was that the trap was painted all pretty from the store and the spikes were not sharp enough to do the job. So, we sharpened them with a grinder repeated the steps above and we got both of them. I did not want to kill them, but I was ready to do them in at this point and I was glad to see that it was very apparent that they did not suffer.

I hope this helps someone.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 4:48PM
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I've been fighting gophers for 50 years. I've used a blaster which does great destroying their burrow so new ones won't move in but scares the local cops and horses so I don't use it much. I used the McAbees for years but if they pinch but don't kill a gopher, you won't ever catch him. Old ages is the only thing that's going to do in that gopher. I now use the black box and have wonderful results. They die! I'm trying now to catch the pinched ones and am using various baits like peanut butter or sunflower seeds or tomatoes. Not much success yet but I'm still hoping.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 2:59PM
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The only thing I've found that works for pocket gophers is bait. It's tedious...poking around and digging to find the tunnel, then deposit the one-feed-kill bait. I try to get 3 to 4 tunnels in one treatment. Fortunately, there are not a lot of gophers per acre and poisioning seems to keep them at bay for several month. One got both of my Pozo Blue Salvias...ate the roots! Now I'm seriously on the hunt. I'm in the process of creating vegetation free zones along they yard/pasture fence lines, as well as vegetation free paths and other landscaping areas in the yard to remove as much food source as possible. Wire and built up flower beds help...and when I get the vegetable beds in, they'll also be built up with wire underneath...along with using old water troughs and other containers for gardening.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 1:47PM
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I live in OK and I trap moles and gophers. I have been at it for just six months or so. I have always gotten gophers very quickly and moles are trickier, at least for me.

I have gotten gophers while I set my other traps. The moles however are sneaky little buggers, but I do get them with the trapline traps advertised below.

Never seen any success with chemicals baits etc. that do not cause problems to wildlife you don't want to rid yourself of and believe the traps, as violent as they may seem to be are far more humane than putting them through poisoning or bleeding out over a period of time. Once captured it does not appear that they last more than a few seconds or minute or so.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:35PM
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In the past we used the battery operated gopher chasers which emit a sound the gophers don't like. When we lived in a sandy area, all our gophers disappeared and a neighbor told us she'd never had so many problems with gophers in the 20 years she'd lived there. :O We told her where to buy the gopher chasers.
Now that we're in an area with more solid, dense soil, they don't work as well. I love the traps and will be buying some to keep the gophers out of my new garden area. I will plant in chicken wire baskets, buy Juicy Fruit, and continue to flood them out for our Catahoula to catch. He LOVES killing gophers!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:24PM
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vja4him(z8 CA)

Gophers have done extensive damage to my garden, and I was just about to give up gardening completely. I didn't even go into my garden at all for about two months (December 2012 through January, 2013). I decided to try a new strategy ... I've been burying lots of containers in the ground, including some large tubs and a few baskets. So far, the gophers have not bothered any plants in the buried containers.

I've tried using smoke bombs, flares, Sound Devices that are supposed to bother the gophers (they are completely useless!!! I've invested several hundreds dollars in many of the solar-powered ones, and have watched the gophers pulling large plants down under right next the Sound Device!!!), Rat Poison, Juicy Fruit and Spearmint Gum, Flooding, Gopher Poison, putting poison in Potatoes (the critters love Potatoes!), Traps, Shooting, but they still keep destroying my plants.

I had over 500 Pea plants and they only left me with about a dozen! They steal ALL of my good plants: All Greens, Peas and Beans, some Herbs (Mint, Dill, Fennel, Chamomile), some Flowers (Cosmos, Pansies, Sunflowers, Marigolds), All Root Vegetables).

These are the few plants in my garden the gophers have either left alone, or haven't taken very many: Verbena, African Daisies (purple, yellow, and orange), Calendulas, California Poppies, Peppers, Tomatoes, Basil, Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Henbit, Stinging Nettles, Rosemary, Garlic, Geraniums, Carnations, Snapdragons, Bachelor Buttons, Ice Plant, Four O'Clocks, Pokeweed, Lemon Grass, Cilantro, Chamomile, Lilies, Rose (only one plant left!), Maple, Oak, Mallow, Thistles (don't know what kind, hoping to identify and that it might be Edible ...).

So, my new strategy now is to plant things that I want to keep in containers buried in the ground. I have at least 60 containers buried now, including four large tubs, and some large pots for Peppers and Eggplant. The gophers stole almost all of my Eggplant last year!

I dug several large holes and lined the bottom and sides with old boards. Have around 50 Potato plants which the gophers have not yet bothered.

These are some of the plants I've planted from seeds in the buried containers, which the gophers have stolen from the ground in the past: Cosmos, Nasturtiums, Carrots, Fennel, Dill, Eggplant, Potatoes, Yams and Sweet Potatoes, Beets, Radishes, Kohlrabi, Turnips, Chinese Cabbage, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Collards, Swiss Chard, Green Onions, Kale, Marigolds, Peas, Beans, Chives. The snails destroyed all of my Beans so far, except for only two plants! So I have to replant the Beans, and use more Snail Bait ..... They also nearly destroyed my Chives, so will need to replant Chives too.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 2:45PM
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While there are a lot of people that will sell you most anything, and "guarantee" that it works, the only tried and true method of control for either of these is traps. Most everything else being sold is simply some means of seperating you from your money.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 7:29AM
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kimmsr is right trapping is the most effective way.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 5:49AM
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vja4him(z8 CA)

Unfortunately, trapping is really not much of an option for me. I have a very small garden space, and over 100 gopher holes. I would have to destroy all of my garden to effectively trap these nasty buggers ....

I'm considering getting a gas mask and pouring ammonia down an active hole, then pour some bleach ..... If there were no gas line, I would pour gasoline and light it .....

I'm going to go back to one of my old strategies, which I think helps ... I cut small slits into a Potato, then put poison gopher pellets into each slit, and put the Potato down the active gopher hole/tunnel.

They do love Potatoes, and snatch them up quickly. Usually, the gopher activity will cease for around a week, sometime two or even three weeks when I use this method.

I've also thought of lacing Juicy Fruit Gum with deadly poison, but I don't know where to get the deadly poison in liquid form, so I can put a drop or two on the Juicy Fruit Gum ....

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 11:04AM
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They're baaaaaack! I just saw a CHIPMUNK at the feeder:-(

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 2:11PM
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vja4him(z8 CA)

Another strategy I'm going to try .... Since I have lots of containers buried in the ground already, and many more still to bury, I was thinking about continually planting stuff the gophers like in the ground in certain spots, eventually leading them away from my garden, so that way, hopefully, they will have plenty to eat and leave my buried containers alone ....

I might even try putting some of the Poison Gopher Pellets in the Beets (they love Beets, and take EVEYR SINGLE Beet in my garden!!!

I might even start pulling up some of my veggies (laced with poison) and putting down their holes .....

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:39PM
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I didn't take time to read all of these posts. When you say moles and gophers, do you mean moles and voles? Voles tunnel under plants and eat their roots. They love hostas also. When they tunnel up to the surface, they leave a perfectly round hole. I have been using pelleted rat poison and it works like a charm! It's called Rozol, by Lipha Tech. I know an Iris farmer who introduced me to it. The varmints eat it, then pull the dirt back in on itself, and dies inside their tunnel. Simple. I hope many of you will find relief in using it like I have!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 8:36AM
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Veggies laced with poison sounds like an interesting plan! I found a chart with loads of different types of poison compared, which you might find useful. It looks like poison is the way to go.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 3:50PM
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quone(10a Sunset 21)

I read all the gopher threads I could find after they started tearing up our lawn. I started with Juicy Fruit, which they simply pushed back out, then went on to poison pellets, then gas. Nothing worked. I didn't want to do the traps you have to bury because that would require digging up even more lawn, and it seemed like it wouldn't be a sure thing--you have to use 2 in each tunnel, sometimes they pack dirt in them, etc.

Then I found a message board talking about gopher wire vs. hardware cloth, and there was mention of Cinch Traps. You have to buy them online, but it was worth it. No extra digging, you just put them down the hole and when they come to block up the opening, BAM! I caught 6 in as many days and I'm ecstatic!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 5:53PM
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poisons don't pick and chose what they kill and when eaten don't stop there they kill whatever eats the item that ate the poison like owls and other birds of pray so please don't use them. moles and voles are telling you that you have a bigger issue going on in your yard, grubs and other lawn pests or you have a lot of earthworms, so get rid of the food and they will move on this can be done with a ground type grub killer or nematodes. gophers and groundhogs love to eat the same veggies we do so if you have a garden use fencing both around and under to keep them from tunneling under. again remove or limit their food and they too will move on. there is also a product call shake away that uses fox urine which uses their natural prediator fear to chase them away. there are also other natural way to chase these away, humans use way too many bug sprays and poisons without looking at the effects we are having on all the other animals and bugs that we do need. use natural preditors bugs instead of sprays.
I for one enjoy the groundhog that lives in my yard, it lives under my shed and even though it has eaten my pumpkins and sunflowers I planted I can not be mad she is just being a groundhog. she helps me clean up the apples that fall from my tree, she keeps the skunk out of my yard as the spot where my fence does not quit hit the ground is at her hole and she is not too happy for the visit and with having dog to let out for the bathroom at night not running into a skunk for me or my dogs is fine by me.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 10:57AM
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