CITRUS COUNTY FL: YARD PEST: THE POCKET GOPHER AND WINTER EVENTS
January 11th, 2020 By Linda Thomas in Blog,Gardening
Each year as residents we look around and say…those pocket gophers are worse than ever! Fortunately, most gophers stay on the vacant land tunneling away…but every so often they make it into a yard. Pocket gophers leave huge mounds (some realty customers new to the area have asked, “Are those ant hills?”) They are not hills full of fire ants! They are pocket gophers…messing up that beautiful landscape! SO what to do about gophers? See control methods below…
I had heard that if you are taking care of your lawn and treating it with chemicals for routine maintenance…you won’t get them—not so! This blog’s information came from various resources- listed at the end of the article.
Pocket gophers, often called gophers are burrowing rodents that get their name from the fur-lined, external cheek pouches, or pockets, they use for carrying food and nesting materials. Pocket gophers are well equipped for a digging, tunneling lifestyle with their powerfully built forequarters; large-clawed front paws; fine, short fur that doesn’t cake in wet soils; small eyes and ears; and highly sensitive facial whiskers that assist with moving about in the dark. A gopher’s lips also are unusually adapted for their lifestyle; they can close them behind their four large incisor teeth to keep dirt out of their mouths when using their teeth for digging. Gophers are only 10-12 inches long but are capable of digging a tunnel system that may extend for 500 feet or more, although 145 feet is normal. As they dig, they push =piles of loose dirt to the surface, characteristic that has earned them the name “sandy mounters.” or salamander. They plug the hills to prevent snakes and other predators from entering.—Judging the mounds we have around Black Diamond, it appears they have no natural enemy to kill them! ( I have learned at that coyotes and owls go after them—but not many of them here!) Gophers don’t hibernate and are active year-round, although you might not see any fresh mounding. They also can be active at all hours of the day.
Gophers usually live alone within their burrow system, except when females are caring for their young or during breeding season. Gopher densities can be as high as 60 or more per acre. Gophers reach sexual maturity at about 1 year of age and can live up to 3 years. In non-irrigated areas, breeding usually occurs in late winter and early spring, resulting in 1 litter per year; in irrigated sites, gophers can produce up to 3 litters per year. Litters usually average 5 to 6 young.
Pocket gophers often invade yards and gardens, feeding on many garden crops, ornamental plants, vines, shrubs, and trees. A single gopher moving down a garden row can inflict considerable damage in a very short time. Gophers also gnaw and damage plastic water lines and lawn sprinkler systems. Their tunnels can divert and carry off irrigation water, which leads to soil erosion. Mounds on lawns interfere with mowing equipment and ruin the aesthetics of well-kept turf grass.
So what do you do if they invade your land? Which method do you prefer to get rid of them? Poison them? Trap them? Put a repellant down? Gas them? There are many opinions and options… I used several sources for information. To successfully control gophers, the sooner you detect their presence and take control measures the better.
Newest device I have seen is by Thanos (available through Amazon…but not good reviews). Thanos 8X Solar Mole Groundhog Repellent Repeller Spikes Gopher Deterrent Chaser Vole Away No Killing Traps
Trapping is a safe and effective method for controlling pocket gophers. Several types and brands of gopher traps are available. UKill‘Em in Inverness 352-860-1183 has supplies and trapping services available. https://www.facebook.com/UKillem/. Trapping requires patience and effort and is successful is placed correctly. See detailed directions:
Poison baits can be very effective in killing and controlling gophers on your property. Once applied, you have to keep applying the bait. You have to find the main tunnels by using a probe, checking about a foot away from a fresh mound soil plug.
Gassing gopher holes can work if you know where the active tunnels are established and the tunnels and mounds are not under construction.
Be sure all children and non-target animals are out of the area prior to using a gasser.
Do not use gassers indoors or under any type of building, porch, fence or any other structure
Avoid breathing in gasser cartridge smoke
Do not use gasser cartridges in areas where grass or other vegetation is very dry as it can catch fire with this method.
CC EVENTS 2020
We invite you to join us for our next LIVE EVENT on Saturday January 18.
Two performances of FLASHBACK FOUR.
Showtimes are at 3:00pm and 7:30pm.
The Flashback Four are four dynamic lead singers who have wowed audiences in Las Vegas, Walt Disney World, Atlantic City, and around the world at countless special events.
Their show is an exciting mix of world class vocals and interactive comedy featuring the rock-n-roll harmonies of the Billy Joel, the Beach Boys, BeeGees, The Temptations, and Huey Lewis.
Tickets are available online at http://www.valerietheatre.org or at our Box Office on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Noon til 4pm and on Sundays from 1:30pm til 3:30pm.