You may never have seen these ground kings and queens but chances are you’ve seen the aftermath of their activities. They are a great problem for homeowners and can cause great damage to grass lawns of gardens. That’s not something you want, right?
As these creatures burrow underground in search of food, they can kill plants by eating their roots and even weaken the ground. Fortunately, gophers seldom stay away from their tunnel. The fact that they rarely migrate their homes underground makes it easy to kill them while in their homes.
What are Gophers?
They are small herbivores that live build their homes underground. They are called pocket gophers, popularly christened gophers. This is because of their pocket-like cheeks where they normally carry their nests’ building materials and food. They boast of small eyes and ears. Their whiskers and tail helps the navigate their tunnel networks.
Characteristics of Gophers
- They thrive in destroying plants and soil.
- Have sharp teeth and claws and can measure up to a foot in length.
- Their homes can run to hundreds feet.
- They are territorial and loners.
- They are active 24/7.
- They breed in spring and their gestation is approximately three weeks.
- They prefer sandy soils to clay soil.
Benefits of gophers
Love or hate them, gophers serve as ecosystem engineers and positively impact the soil where they live.
- They increase the speed at which plants decompose and are important to the plants biodiversity.
- They help aerate the soil by moving it from one point to another.
Well, probably that’s to remind you that everything has its own advantage and disadvantages. However, considering the nuisance and the amount of damage caused by gophers, humankind is better off without them in their lawns of farms.
How to Get Rid of Gophers
So here you are, you have gophers digging all over your lawn and are now almost burrowing tunnels into your house. Fret not! As a matter of fact, there are a number of ways you can eradicate gophers. One of the major and most effective methods is killing them by use of bleach and ammonia. Before we get there, here is a quick overview of other ways you can kill gophers.
- By use of irritating gas from vehicle exhaust pipes. Simply connect a hose to the exhaust and direct it to the gopher hole, then start the engine. It rarely works, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
- Drop some chewing gum into their holes. The gum is said to interfere with their organs thus killing them.
- Use of traps called gophinators. If done correctly, these traps may help. However, as expected, they do the eradication quite slow.
- Use of cats. Outdoor cats feed on gophers, you might decide to give them a try.
- Grow crops that repel gophers. Such plants are garlic, rosemary and castor beans.
- Use of ultrasonic gopher repellents: These devices are normally powered by batteries and their vibrations can help repel gophers from your lawn.
- If gophers have been feasting on your natural grass lawn, you can replace it with artificial grass to make it less desirable for gophers to carry out their hobbies-tunneling.
- After gophers leave your yard, fill those holes to prevent future gophers from migrating into them.
- Use of a garden hose by entering in into the gopher complex. Honestly, this is the last method I would like to hear someone mention to me. I ever tried to use it to kill gophers and I somehow made those small creatures personal. You might think attitudes apply only to human beings but that’s not it, they apply to these animals as well. My act resulted into more gopher mounds here, there and new dirt piles virtually everywhere. Well, maybe the liked my water supply. I hereby tell you about the method that was and remains all time favorite.
How to kill Gophers with Bleach and Ammonia
Ammonia’s awful smell was somehow a blessing in disguise, as far as Gophers are concerned. For them, the smell of ammonia is the last thing they want to encounter. It totally repels and suffocates them. A mixture of bleach and ammonia which produces a poisonous called chloramines gas is a perfect way of killing them, ammonia alone just suffocates them. Here is how you proceed with the mixture of bleach and ammonia when killing gophers.
- Use a shovel to cut the hole into half. This is not a must though, but it could help increase the almost assured effectiveness more quickly.
- Insert a funnel into the hole. Again, you could need to elongate it especially if you hadn’t shortened the hole.
- Pour down a gallon of the bleach through the tunnel.
- Follow it up with a gallon of ammonia.
- This causes the bleach to decompose into hydrochloric acid. It then reacts with ammonia to cause the toxic fumes.
Caution: Please note that the two chemicals mix down the hole, they are not mixed in a container and then poured inside. Doing so could poison you instead of gophers. Be careful.
Advantages of using bleach and ammonia to kill gophers
- It’s cheap. This low-cost system is probably the cheapest for all the burrowing rodents you have in mind, e.g. gophers and squirrels.
- It’s almost 100% guaranteed to kill the gophers. Very effective.
Disadvantages of using bleach and ammonia to kill gophers
- Highly corrosive and irritating fumes. Long exposure to smell of ammonia causes burning of nose, eyes and the respiratory tract. This can cause lung damage, blindness or even death. That being not something you want, always wear goggles to protect your eyes and gloves to protect your hands. Ensure the wind is blowing away from you so as to decrease chances of you inhaling the ammonia fumes.
Precautions when killing gophers
Chances are that you have animals like dogs and cats in your yard. This means that using some of the methods mentioned above, such as poison and traps could injure or even kill them. As such, always mind these other animals and take the necessary precautions to prevent them from any possible negative effects.
Prevention of Gophers
While this doesn’t go as guarantee that they won’t invade your lawn or farm, if you don’t irrigate, the soil will be less accommodating to them since they like moisture.
These underground animals are talented in finding your plants and destroying them. They are also known to multiply rapidly. You don’t want to imagine them destroying your plants and constantly gnawing through your irrigation pipes and what have you, isn’t it? Thankfully, using bleach and ammonia as explained above might save you a great deal. What’s more, the method won’t drill holes into your pockets. Success in killing ‘your gophers.’ Thank us later.