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Newspaper sleuth finds evidence of gopher horde

A reporter at the Ventura County Star, Lisa McKinnon, did some detective work recently trying to substantiate a hunch about gophers. Her theory appeared in the third paragraph of a story published today: "Landscapers and gardeners alike say the local gopher population this year is one of the biggest, and possibly the most hungry, they have seen."

Evidence included in the story:

“I’ve definitely noticed more gophers this year on the trails. It looks like Swiss cheese out there.” - volunteer UC Master Gardener Dani Brusius

“It does seem to be a little busier this year than in the past." - Jeremy Patton, supervising manager for the pest management company GopherMan

And deniers:

"The number of gopher holes in the county’s regional parks is no higher this year than in the past." McKinnon paraphrased Ron Van Dyck, deputy director of the Ventura County Parks Department

No one would disagree that just one gopher can do a lot of backyard damage. The story includes a number of control options and many readers posted comments with gopher eradication strategies of their own. The article also steers readers to reliable information on gopher management: UC Cooperative Extension. A side bar with the article includes the URL for the Ventura County UC Master Gardener program and a direct link to the UC IPM Pest Note on gophers.

Have you noticed more gophers this year than in the past? Yes or no, please post a comment.

Pocket gopher.
Pocket gopher.

Posted on Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 10:01 AM
Tags: garden (67), gophers (2), Master Gardeners (51)


i have'nt seen any updated literature on gopher eradication/control.the one i have seen recommends poison as the most effective one, but was written in 1950.what about ecological damage to underground water sources?

Posted by ray felix on April 12, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Baiting sometimes work; sometimes it isn't as effective as other strategies. In my studies and those of associated colleagues, we have found that trapping and fumigation with aluminum phosphide are most effective. Aluminum phosphide is a restricted use material; you must be certified to use it and it has specific restrictions on where it can be used. If you are performing gopher control in agricultural areas, this can be a good strategy. If you are controlling gophers in residential or urban areas, trapping may be more practical and is also highly effective. Baiting can still be a good approach as well, particularly if you need to treat large agricultural fields with extensive gopher populations. A burrow builder device is a good approach for treating such areas. I suggest you check out the UC IPM Pest Note on Pocket Gophers for greater details on these strategies (the pest note is linked in the article above).  
Roger Baldwin  
UC IPM Wildlife Pest Management Advisor

Posted by Roger Baldwin on April 12, 2011 at 11:44 AM

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