In this episode, Matt describes what it’s like to deal with pocket gophers, a very frustrating varmint. Matt goes over some do-it-yourself methods for eliminating pocket gophers and speaks with gopher experts Jim Martell, who is the director of Canyon County Idaho’s Weed and Pest Control Commission, and John Turpin the owner of Idaho Gopher Control.

Eliminate Pocket Gophers - Pocket Gopher Emerging from Hole

What’s the difference between a pocket gopher and a ground squirrel?

You will almost never see a pocket gopher. Ground squirrels will stand outside of their holes and run around until you get close before running back into their hole If you have pocket gophers, all you will see is a big pile of dirt. The gopher will always plug the opening to its tunnel. The only exception would be if you scared it before it could plug it but it will plug it once you are gone.

What do gophers feed on?

Roots. They will pluck vegetables from your garden and pull down flowers.

What are some do it yourself options to get rid of pocket gophers?

One option is to find the tunnel and place a smoke bomb into the tunnel. Make sure to cover the hole used to find the tunnel so the smoke can disperse into the tunnel. Smoke bombs are sometimes ineffective if the pocket gopher is deep in the tunnel and is able to tunnel to the surface to wait it out. Carbon monoxide from a tail pipe can work similarly to a smoke bomb but it has the same weakness. Poison pellet is another option where you take the probe and pull the trigger of the probe to release the pellet. The aim is when the gopher returns to the mound that the poison is consumed. A downfall is that if the first time the poison pellet is used the gopher eats enough to be sick but not exterminated, it will identify the pellet as a bad food source and never consume it again. Traps are another option. A “gut clench trap” otherwise known as a DK1 trap. Set the trap at the entrance and every branch you can find. Make sure to spike it down into the ground. Other traps are available but the DK1 has been the most successful for Matt. Cats may also be successful catching one or two as well as using an owl box to attract owls to take care of the pocket gophers for you.

What if I would prefer someone else to do it for me?

You can hire professionals to do the any methods above. Other methods professionals have that you may not have is fumigation with high pressure that will get the poison throughout the tunnel more effectively. Another professional option is to have a mixture of propane and oxygen pumped into the tunnel that is then triggered for combustion which destroys the tunnel entirely.