Gophers is the collective name for six genera of burrowing rodents, with over 35 species amongst them, that have come to be regarded as pests by many farmers and gardeners in North and Central America, where they are endemic. If not gotten rid of, these small animals can cause big harm to your flower and vegetable gardens. Here are some ways to get rid of these pests in as humane a way as possible.
Getting Rid of Gophers Naturally
If you are not ready to use harsh chemicals and inhumane methods that will wipe off an entire family of gophers, including the babies, then you may try the following methods. These pesky creatures are harmless, but they destroy an entire yard or garden with their digging and eating.
- The best way to get rid of them naturally is by recycling kitty litter. Kitty litter is the best available option that won't kill these pests but will get rid of them naturally. All you need to do is take used kitty litter to their burrows and pour it inside. You don't need to worry, as it will decompose naturally and add to the ammonia content of your soil. As for the gophers, the smell of ammonia is a natural repellent for these pesky creatures.
- The next way to get rid of these critters without killing them is flooding their tunnels and burrows. Normal garden irrigation just makes the soil damp and easy for the gophers to dig around. So, you need to take your garden hose pipe and insert it deep into the burrow of this rodent. Then, flood the hole with water for about 5 minutes or so. This won't drown the gophers and they will be forced out of the hole. The wet soil will not allow them to get back inside, as they won't like to get their fur and claws all sticky with it. So, they will have to shift their family elsewhere. Also, see to it that there are no high spots around for them to take refuge from the deluge.
- You can also use fish emulsion to get rid of these pests. Gophers hate bad smells, and fish emulsion is as annoying as ammonia for them. You should water around the plants and shrubs with fish emulsions regularly. This will prevent gophers from digging up your plants. You can even use dead fish carcasses instead of fish emulsions. If you have an aquarium at home, you can pour the dirty fish tank water into the holes; the stench is enough to pull out a gopher from its hole. Also, all this is biodegradable matter that will add to the fertility of your soil.
- You can even try preparing a mixture of half a cup of castor oil, one teaspoon of tabasco sauce, and a few drops of peppermint oil in a cup of water. Shake well and dip cotton balls into the mixture. Wear gloves and drop these cotton balls into the active holes. This is an effective gopher repellent.
- You can grow plants that gophers dislike, as they can kill or irritate the pest. You can try planting castor bean plant, which is poisonous to these rodents, or oleander plant whose roots too can prove dangerous for them. The putrid odors of onion and garlic can also act as active gopher irritants, thus helping you get rid of them naturally.
- You can even try placing a fruit or vegetable in a trap to attract the gopher. Once trapped, you can release the animal far away in the woods or open area, away from any residential areas. This way, you will be free from these pests and they can continue a happy, content life elsewhere. You can also bring home a cat or try to attract owls to your garden or yard. These animals are natural predators, and will help you get rid of the gophers in your yard.