Moles & Gophers

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  • Gopher trouble - any recs or suggestions?

    (5 replies)

    We appear to have a gopher in our backyard. If you have any suggestions or experiences regarding ways to get rid of them, we would love to hear them! Ideally, we’re looking for non-toxic solutions.


    Our neighbor recommended this team out of E. Palo Alto (but they travel ALL over the Bay Area).  They caught 6 of our neighbors within a couple weeks and caught ours within a week or 2.  There are a lot of "remedies" but if you want a reasonably priced EFFECTIVE team and in general to get that gopher gone, I'd call them:

    Try filling gopher holes with used coffee grounds, pack the holes full with the grounds.  Good Luck!

    Gopher traps are very effective and non-toxic (not non-lethal, though). I don't have a brand recommendation, but this video lays out the general approach:

    Try the gopher hawk- it’s the best trap. Easy to set, works like a charm

    Two suggestions:  (1) Use spring traps.  You can buy these (still?) at Ace Pastime Hardware on San Pablo Ave. across from El Cerrito movie theater.  It takes a bit of work to dig into tunnel opening enough to fit trap and allow room for the "arms" to swing unimpeded by tunnel walls/ceiling. Many tips online.  And you have to be willing to deal with dead gopher (just pull trap from tunnel, open "arms/jaws" and drop into ... yard for raptors?  Garbage? This method can take time, many trap resets, and really refining your trapping techniques.  (2)  There are sulfur bombs (size of small cigar) (Ace) that you can light and shove down the tunnel, then quickly cover the opening(s) ... tight!  The sulfurous gas kills the gophers, and they die in their burrow(s), and not a "poison" like rat poison that can then kill going up the food chain, to whatever might eat a dead gopher.  Good luck, and start soon.  Rodents multiply quickly.

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Questions & Advice  


Gophers - how do you get rid of them?

Nov 2013

I've had gophers for two months and can't seem to get rid of them. I've tried repellents and it keeps them away for awhile but then they come back. I have a dog and have to do something that won't harm him. Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated. Linda

I am gopher free at the moment. My neighbors and I had severe problems front and back garden this summer. I tried the water bourne repellent. It may have worked for a bit. The smoke bombs you stick in the hole cause lots of smelly smoke and seem effective for a bit longer. I finally relented and bought the gopher stakes at OSH Hardware. They were two stakes to the box. They take lots of D batteries. You bury them to their top in the ground. They emit a beep every few seconds. After about two weeks, the gophers were gone and have been gone at least 1 1/2 months now. I passed them on to a friend. They are working for him, too. Good luck!

I have always wondered if dry ice would work. You would pack it into the gopher holes, as far as possible, and cover it over again. The dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide, which is evanesces into a heavy gas; it would displace the air in the holes, and the gophers would asphyxiate, and remain buried to fertilize your garden. This does mean killing the poor little fellers, and dealing with your feelings about that, but it's a painless way to do it. Tom

We've had great success using these simple gopher traps from Home Depot, about $10 for 2 traps. You place them in the gopher hole, so you may have to watch your dogs so they don't get caught up in them. But they usually catch the gophers in the evening and/or overnight. Good luck!

Just like with ants, you exclude them from where you don't want them because you will never be able to kill them all. However, a feral cat rescue person said that a marginally domesticated cat could kill them all for us. We are considering adopting a feral cat. (The rescue is based in Oakland, I haven't looked into it.) Gophers will just keep coming back (just like ants). With gophers, you need to line your garden or vegetable beds with the gopher wire. Or plant each item in a gopher basket. Even doing that, a gopher can make a mess of your yard. Piles of dirt show up and cover your lovely ground cover. You can catch a gopher really easily, easier than a mouse, by using a gopher trap. Just follow the instructions and it works within an hour, usually. It will only work if the hole is fresh (that is the ''active tunnel''). After a while you get to learn what is fresh or not. My method is to scoop out a shovel of dirt from where the hole is, which is basically taking off the roof of the gopher tunnel, then I place the trap in the tunnel/hole. I place the dirt back on top if it's still consolidated. If not, just use a flower pot or something else to put over the trap so that you don't trip the trap, but you block the light. The gopher will then be compelled to fix its home immediately so that's why it will work usually right away. With trapping and exclusion, you can keep them at bay. Another thing by the way is they don't like herby stuff like sages and in fact ''euphorbia'' have bitter and/or toxic secretions that they won't eat so I have started planting some of those around to keep them at bay as the roots emit the secretions, too. They seem to leave lavender alone, too. (Ants are easier to manage than gophers!) Good luck Trying to Be a Gardener

This worked for me. Watch the Youtube video on how to set. -I HATE GOPHERS.

Moles are burrowing into our yard

May 2013

We are planning to do some work on our backyard--remove a lot of rock, put in some grass, a garden and some fruit trees. Our problem is moles (or gophers, I forget which the pest guy said they were) that are burrowing from our neighbor's yard. He said based on looking into her back yard, that it has quite a lot of evidence of gopher/mole activity and that she's probably had them for a long time. For various reasons, this is a neighbor that we don't speak to, and we suspect doesn't have the resources to pay to have them removed (assuming that she would want to). I've heard of burying mesh in the ground around planting beds and trees to protect them. Can this be done under the entire back yard? Is it possible to dig a trench along the fence and put the mesh vertically to prevent the critters from entering our yard? If so, how deep do we have to go? We would love recommendations of people/landscapers who could help us with this. Thx!

Having been a landscaper and a home owner w/ gophers in my yard, I think you are at a dead end. The only way I know of to protect plants from gophers is, as you said, to bury each one surrounded by wire mesh. This of course won't keep them from digging and making a mess elsewhere. Our gophers have dug up under our flagstone patio. A mesh barrier between properties won't work unless it's really really deep and'd have to surround your entire garden. My husband tried poison, but because we have dogs I put a stop to that and I'm also very anti any kind of toxin. We finally got a wind mill kind of stakes into the ground and the wind turns the top creating a vibration under the ground. It seems to work pretty well. I've also heard of things that emit a high pitch sound that they don't like....but neither do the dogs or cats of the neighborhood.

We also got a cat (not for the gophers) and the cat is doing a good job at catching them (and my terrier dog kills them...that's nature).

So, as far as your neighbor goes.....There are a zillion gophers around the area. Be glad they're in your neighbors yard and not yours. If she does something to get rid of them, they may very well end up in your yard.

I doubt there's anything legal you can's kind of like saying 'the deer that hangs out in your yard eating your plants is coming into my yard...make it stop'. Gophers were here before we were. They're wild animals. We're encroaching on their turf. Live with it. anon

Gophers or moles - need a service to remove them

April 2011

I've noticed just this week that I have a rodent problem. Not sure if it's a mole or a gopher. I'm looking for a service that can trap and remove them. I'm terribly squeamish and can't imagine dealing with this on my own! I've searched BPN, and called a few trapping services, but no one deals with gophers and/or moles that I've found. Any advice welcome!

The problem is that even if someone was willing to come in to trap for you the animals would return. Sometimes you would get a break and be gopher free for 6 months but eventually they will be back. What works really well are gopher cages - they are cheap and you can purchase them from Peaceful valley farm supply - they protect roots of plants enough for them to grow. And gophers don't like everything - we found that many natives were fine with gophers. Lining raised beds with chicken wire also works. Go here to learn more about gophers: Gardening with gophers

Call Helmut Tutass at Bay Area Pest Elimination 510-717- 3506. He's an excellent exterminator and is a bulldog when it comes to getting rid of all types of unwanted critters. He's very reliable, easy to work with and a nice guy too. Larry

Gophers dug up drainage pipes

June 2007

There is an imbedded drainage pipe in the up-sloping hill behind our house. The hill collects rain water and the pipes (drilled into the hill when the houses were built) directs the water into the underground pipe which then goes to sewer. Gopher (an army of gophers?) invaded the area and dug up absolutely everything. Now water does not go into pipes any longer but comes out springing from under ground in very many places, including going towards our house.

To fight the gopher, we tried poison, gas, sonic devices, traps, everything we could read about. The gopher stays, digs new holes, creating new water springs in random places. We are at a loss - we are guessing the underground pipes are clogged by gopher activity (soil? rocks?) so water finds alternative ways. We tried talking to EBMUD but since all this is on a private property, they said it's our own problem. We're so scared the underground tunnels and water springs will crack our foundation, destroy our house. What should we do? Can we do it on our own or must it be a major engineering project? If we need an expert, what kind of an expert?

Please help! Maria

Shake Away and the web site is www.shake-away/ We used the one for rodents like voles, moles, mice and rats. It contains garlic oil. They have another product for Small Critters like gophers and a number of other animals that contains fox urine; we did not use that product. They charge $15.95 for each of their cans.

We also used garlic tablets from another company called They also sell castor oil which apparently repells moles and gophers and is the most cost effective product. They also have Shake Away for $19.95.

We used the garlic oil from shake a way once and the garlic tablets from once. The next day the gopher disappeared; we have only had gophers twice in the last year. One gopher can make many tunnels and they are solitary animals. You probably have only 1 gopher.

Gopher traps are another option. Let me know if you want info on that; we did not need to try the traps. JUDY

Gophers ravaging my backyard

Sept 2006

Anybody have advice on how to rid my backyard of gophers?! It's taken me over 3 months of my hard labor to relandscape my backyard and now a gopher is eating my plants! I prefer not using any poisons as I have a dog. I actually saw the gopher pop its head up out of the tunnel, but by the time I got over there, it had disappeared. My dog did not even notice it even tho he was only about 10 feet away! A friend told me to set a trap, but you need to know which tunnel to place it in being that there is a main tunnel plus lateral ones. Any advice would be appreciated! Gopher driving me crazy

Here's a site you might want to look up: Their Gopher Repellers are the most humane and environmental friendly way of keeping gardens and lawns free of destructive gophers, moles and voles. Gophers have a very acute sense of hearing and sensitivity to ground vibration. The technology in their repellers exploits this sensitivity to produce a penetrating sonic sound that irritates gophers, moles, voles and burrowing rodents which may utilize tunnels dug by moles. They can get rid of your gopher problem without dangerous traps or poison. Their products are safe for use around pets and children. Good Luck! anon

We've had good luck with a product called Go'pher It that my husband bought at OSH. It's a battery-powered metal stake that vibrates at a frequency that gophers and moles don't like. It seems a bit far-fetched, but we quit finding new gopher holes after we started using it Pam

I'll preface this by saying I'm not into animal cruelty, but a gopher in my back yard would really push my limits. Friends have them and lets say its been tough going. One of my gopher friends is trying something new(as of a few days ago)...she heard that juicy fruit gum might work. You chew a piece or two lightly and pop it down the gopher hole. She was told by someone they like it and choke on it. Sounds awful. It worked for her moles/voles. Good luck Anon

Gophers or moles are ripping up our lawn

Dec 2003

I have seen the previous posts about rodent control and exterminators but nothing specifically about gophers or moles.We have some gophers or moles ripping up our lawn and would like some advice in getting rid of them or services we can call. Judy

I certainly understand your distress having done battle with a mole in our backyard this summer. First thing is to identify if indeed you have a gopher or a mole--they have different mounding/tunnel tendencies. From our experience, if you have a mole, you might just learn to live with it, because our various attempts to get rid of it, were utter failures. We hired ''Critter Control'' to put out the ''guillotine'' type traps to kill it, but after a month and $100, we all called it quits. I talked to Contra Costa Animal Control about it and they didn't give me much hope either. The one thing that worked a little (maybe?) is that the mole was tunneling under our irrigated lawn and it was recommended that we change our watering regime to early morning (rather than the evening) so the lawn dried out a little more and provided less of a grub habitat which is what moles eat. But anyway, the mole eventually went away on his own (overall stay about 3 months) and he's been gone about 4 months now. I wish you luck but not much hope! a mole a day keeps the grubs away

May 2002

After many years of professional gardening, this is the first time I've had to deal with the problem of moles burrowing through a newly planted parking strip. How have people dealt with moles in the garden? I am loathe to kill them - but are there alternatives? Thanks in advance. Jadwiga

I think I read this tip in a local newspaper (or maybe here in the digest?) for getting rid of gophers...this person put dog poop down every visible gopher hole in her garden, and that kept the gophers away! (She happened to have two dogs so acquiring dog poop was not a problem.) Although, I've never tried this myself--I have a dog but fortunately no gophers--so I don't know if it really works. Clarisse