Gophers cause considerable damage to yards, commercial turf and golf courses. Gophers eat grains and plants. These rodents also leave mounds of dirt above the entrance of their tunnels that are unsightly and difficult to mow. Baiting gophers has been a successful method of control for decades. Gopher bait is shaped like grain. Single dose gopher bait is available and contains either strychnine or zinc phosphide. These baits should be applied in small amounts and can kill a gopher after a single feeding. However, if children or pets are present, it is best to use anticoagulant gopher bait. These baits are lower in toxicity and kill the gopher after multiple feedings. Large amounts of anticoagulants are necessary, and gopher activity can continue for up to a week.
Proper gopher bait placement is key to controlling gophers. Gophers dig lateral tunnels and vertical tunnels. Vertical tunnels lead to gopher burrows, and are the most successful site of bait placement. To find a gopher burrow, locate a gopher mound and begin probing around the edges with a long steel rod or a commercial gopher probe. The entrance to vertical tunnels is usually off-center of the mound. When the probe finds the tunnel, it should drop a few inches into the ground. Carefully remove the probe and insert the gopher bait. Several commercial probes come equipped with bait applicators. Once the bait has been placed in the tunnel, carefully seal the gopher hole created by the probe. Be sure not to drop dirt into the tunnel, as this can cover the newly placed bait.