Gophers are small burrowing animals that love to dig tunnels, even if they are in your yard. Although they may look cute, gophers can wreak havoc on your yard and cause hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in damage. They do not set out on a mission to destroy yards, but it can certainly happen while they are searching for food. Gophers attract predators and are likely carriers of fleas, ticks, and lice. It is best to act quickly and get the gopher removed from your yard as soon as you realize you have one.
Many variables affect the final cost, including the method of removal, the size of the property, the number of gophers, the difficulty of the terrain, and the number of trips it takes to solve the problem. The average cost to remove gophers ranges from $500 to $700. The average homeowner spends around $600 to remove two gophers by setting traps, checking them several times, and repairing moderate damage to the yard. This project could cost as low as $100 for baiting one gopher and repairing minor damage to the yard, or as much as $1,000 to use fumigants to remove a female gopher and five babies, plus repair major yard damage from gopher tunnels.
|Gopher Removal Cost|
|National average cost||$600|
The cost to remove gophers varies based on the number of animals. While gophers are solitary creatures that usually live alone, females may be found with their young in the spring. It’s possible to have several gophers on your property if males are looking for a female mate, too. Generally, you can expect to pay $50 to $100 per gopher, although you should ask your pest removal company if there are any additional fees involved for the job.
|Number of Gophers||Cost (Labor Included)|
|1||$50 - $100|
|2||$100 - $200|
|3||$150 - $300|
|4||$200 - $400|
|5||$250 - $500|
|6||$300 - $600|
Several different gopher removal methods range in price from $50 to $1,000. Professionals evaluate your property and the gopher infestation to decide which method is best for your particular situation. Some removal methods are more humane than others. Some cities and states may only allow some removal methods and not lethal extermination. Pest control professionals are knowledgeable of the regulations in each state, so you can make an informed decision about removing gophers from your property. Also, keep in mind that most of the time, you can be home while experts remove gophers, so long as you steer clear of the yard. The costs below are for each removal method, with prices usually on the lower end for one or two gophers and the higher end for four or five gophers. Remember that the cost increases if pros need to get rid of more gophers and repair more damage.
|Removal Method||Cost (Labor Included)|
|Baiting||$50 - $200|
|Traps||$300 - $700|
|Fumigation||$300 - $1,000|
Gopher baiting costs $50 to $200, depending on the amount of bait required to treat the infestation. Professionals can help with using safe baits, especially if you have young kids or pets. Baits should be placed inside or near the top of gopher holes. Sometimes an expert gopher removal contractor uses baiting in addition to traps to attract gophers up and out of their burrows before safely relocating them to another area. Baits like zinc phosphide are common for gophers but will kill them and are forbidden in states like California that classify gophers as non-game mammals. That’s why professionals should be in charge of gopher baiting, so they can use legal baits and ensure the most efficient removal process.
The average cost of gopher trapping is $300 to $700. This process involves setting a trap that catches the gopher while it’s burrowing. Coffee beans, celery sticks, carrots, apples, and peanut butter may be used to entice gophers toward traps, which then secures them in place. A pest control professional then removes trapped gophers from the premises and releases them out in the wild, away from other properties. Gopher trapping works well in established burrows where it’s obvious gophers are living, and there are safe, humane traps out there so these animals can be safely released. Most companies include relocation fees in the cost of gopher traps, but it’s always best to check.
The average cost of gopher fumigation ranges from $300 to $1,000, depending on the extent of the infestation and the size of the tunnels on your property. The larger the infestation, the more chemicals are required for adequate fumigation. Gophers act fast to seal off their burrows if they smell smoke or gas, so fumigation needs to be done with aluminum phosphide. As a restricted-use fumigant, only pest control professionals with the proper certification can use aluminum phosphide to remove gophers. It can be quite toxic for the soil and other animals, so that’s one thing to consider. Targeted gopher fumigation into the burrow delivers quick results by forcing the gopher to evacuate before it eventually passes away. Professionals may recommend fumigation if the infestation is serious with deep burrows or previous baits and traps haven’t worked. After fumigation is complete, professionals dispose of the gophers and clean up the lawn before letting people or pets back on it due to the strength of aluminum phosphide.
The frequency of gopher removal treatments also impacts the cost, and it depends on how serious a gopher problem you have on your property. One-time gopher removal is most common, except for homeowners who have persistent gopher issues and need to invest in a more routine schedule for pest control. Below are the average costs for one-time, monthly, semi-monthly, quarterly, and annual visits. Be aware that the cost per visit decreases when the frequency of treatment increases. This means that the cost per visit in a one-time treatment will be cheaper than the cost per visit in a quarterly or annual contract.
|Frequency||Cost per Visit|
|Monthly and Semi-Monthly||$50 - $300|
|Quarterly||$200 - $500|
|Annual||$400 - $700|
|One-Time||$500 - $700|
Gopher removal should always be done by a pro because they have the experience and expertise to remove these animals while protecting your property. Most gopher control jobs need just one or two professionals. However, if you have other pests or significant damage, more specialists may come out to help with the removal and any property repair. Prices vary slightly in different states depending on labor and equipment costs, but overall, there is not much difference. Midwest and Great Plains states have the highest gopher populations, so some pest companies may offer more affordable services because they specialize in gopher removal.
Professionals are knowledgeable of the local laws regarding gopher removal and extermination. Most states classify gophers as non-game animals, so they can only be killed when they are damaging property. Although it's more frequent to remove gophers rather than killing them, it depends on the state laws. Most gopher pest control treatments take just a few hours or even less, but if there is substantial damage to your yard, the repairs could extend the project timeline into a full day. Professionals don’t usually charge per hour but rather by the number of gophers or extent of the infestation, with services ranging from $500 to $700.
Males and females are removed in largely the same way, except professionals take extra care to ensure the females don’t have babies with them. If there are babies present, they need to ensure the traps can accommodate the gopher family. Professionals should inspect your property first to evaluate how many gophers there are and how deep their burrows are. Usually, the initial inspection is included in the final treatment cost, although your chosen pest control contractor can confirm how their inspections, treatment, and pricing work.
The most common sign of a gopher infestation is mounds appearing on your property. The gopher creates tunnels underground and then uses the mounds to get back to the surface. These mounds are usually fan-shaped and have a small plug of loose soil. Other signs of gophers include damage to plants and trees. Gophers munch on vegetables in the garden and ruin trees. Keep an eye out for damaged tree roots if you suspect a gopher infestation. Gophers prefer certain plants, such as nutsedge and clover. If these are growing all over your yard, they could be very inviting to a gopher.
Gophers are small rodents that are bigger than mice but smaller than rats. They usually live for one to three years, reaching full maturity at 12 months of age. Unlike some other pests, gophers do not hibernate and are active all day long, which means they can dig some serious tunnels quickly. Both male and female gophers burrow, although males make linear underground systems that are less complex than females’ burrows. This gives males a better chance of encountering a female for mating.
Gophers are solitary animals. It is rare to have more than one in a one-acre space unless a mother has babies. They are found in North and Central America. These animals are vegetarians and munch on roots and shoots. Gophers live most of their lives underground, chewing up anything in their path (even utility lines) and creating a tunnel system and burrows. This network of tunnels creates sinkholes in your yard that are both an eye-sore and can make it dangerous.
Gophers range in size from 5 to 14 inches. Males are slightly larger than females and weigh just half a pound or even less. Gophers have light or dark brown fur with a buff colored underside and flat, broad heads. Their brown tails have a white tip and almost no hair. Their small ears, short snouts, and compact bodies help these medium-sized rodents burrow deep beneath the ground. Plus, gophers have strong front legs and nails on the end of each toe. Fringed toe hair helps them with their persistent digging.
Gophers are herbivores and eat nearly any plant they can find. Depending on their location and what’s in season, gophers can be found munching on dandelions or alfalfa. Fleshy plant and tree roots and succulent vegetation are the best year-round food source for gophers. While they sometimes chew on the tops of plants, their preference is the plant tubers and roots. Gophers are smart eaters who quickly poke out of a feed hole just far enough to reach surrounding plants and foliage.
Gophers carry many diseases, such as leptospirosis, rabies, hantavirus, monkeypox, and plague. Although it’s rare for gophers to bite humans due to their solitary nature and the fact that they spend most of their time underground, it’s still important to be aware of the risks they pose and avoid coming into contact with them. This is true for both live and dead gophers, which should always be dealt with professionally. It’s certainly not a good idea to stick your hand down a gopher hole, as they may be scared and territorial. Children and the elderly are at especially high risk for complications if bitten by a gopher. These animals are also carriers of fleas and ticks, which can be transmitted to outdoor pets and then brought into the home. The tunnels and burrows can also lead to sinkholes and unstable ground, causing people to trip and fall in your yard.
In addition to potential health risks, gophers can cause a large amount of property damage. They can destroy lawns, plants, and tree roots, which typically costs $5 to $20 per sq.ft. for professional landscaping repair work, including labor. Gophers can chew through irrigation lines, making them less effective, and utility lines, possibly interrupting service or causing unsafe conditions. If electrical maintenance work is required after gopher damage, expect to pay an electrician $40 to $120 per hour to fix it. Gophers may also damage underground water lines and sprinkler systems 1 with their burrowing and chewing. The tunnels can lead to soil erosion and make irrigation watering ineffective. Sprinkler system repairs cost $100 to $400.
The longer a gopher problem goes unaddressed, the more likely there is to be costly damage. This is especially true because gopher populations grow quickly. In an area with a lot of water, females produce up to three litters per year. Each litter usually has five or six young. They only stay with the mother for a few weeks but then venture out nearby to create their own burrows.
Pet safe gopher control involves pest management methods that are safe for pets like dogs and cats. This is an important option for pet owners concerned about their animals being out in the yard after gopher removal services. With pet safe pest control, pets won’t get sick or be injured by the specially-designed treatment method, whether baits, fumigation chemicals, or taps.
Most professional pest control companies should offer pet safe solutions for gopher removal, but you should always ask just to be safe. Some companies may only use pet-safe methods, while others won’t. It depends on the chemicals and treatments they prefer. The main benefit of pet safe gopher control is the added peace of mind that you can get rid of gophers while keeping pets safe from toxic chemicals or dangerous traps. Pest management companies usually charge around $25 to $250 for specific pet safe gopher control.
Prevention and early detection are key to keeping the impact of a gopher infestation at a minimum. First, it always helps to know what attracts gophers to your yard. Gophers are attracted to any plant they can eat. If your yard is rich in vegetation with lots of grass and plants and gophers are nearby, they may make their way to your property. Gophers also pay close attention to the soil composition. They enjoy excavating loose, sandy soil that’s easy to dig through. Adequate shelter may also lead gophers to your yard because they like areas where they can dig tunnels along fence lines or under trees and bushes to protect them from predators like weasels, snakes, owls, and hawks.
Gophers generally do not like dry terrain, as their tunnels cave in without moisture. Deep-tilling the soil can also scare away gophers and destroy their tunnel system and mounds. Keep the ground clear of vegetative cover, especially clover and nutsedge. Watch for gopher activity during the fall and spring, as this is the most active tunnel-building time for gophers. Check near low-growing plants or ground cover for the presence of mounds. Use plants such as marigolds, lavender, rosemary, and salvia in the border around your garden and along the fence line to deter gophers. Heavy-duty mesh wire can also keep gophers out of your property by creating a boundary that stops them from burrowing and eating in the yard. Consult a landscaper for more ideas.
Gopher removal with traps costs $300 to $700 compared to $50 to $1,000 for extermination, including more affordable baits and more extensive and expensive fumigation. Some people feel a personal desire not to harm a gopher, while others just want them gone by whatever means necessary. Exterminating a gopher means that they will not be able to come back or bother anyone else. However, removal is the more humane and less labor intensive option compared to setting up for extermination. Just remember that although removal is very effective and doesn’t have any harmful side effects, the gopher may tunnel on a different property after release.
Speak with a professional about available methods and tactics to find the best option for your property and personal preferences. Because gophers are not as dangerous as other pests, they can only be killed when causing serious damage. While most gopher control companies offer extermination, you need to check because it varies by company and city, county, and state laws.
Although extermination is easy and efficient in many cases, there are a few risks to consider, including the possibility of the deceased gopher harming a family pet or poisoning a predator that eats it. It may take a bit of time to dig up multiple gophers. Dead gophers and extermination chemicals might contaminate the soil and eventually poison food or water. Prolonged exposure to extermination products may be dangerous to your health. That’s why professional and timely extermination is so important to ensure the dead gophers are disposed of as soon as possible.
|Method||Cost (Labor Included)|
|Extermination||$50 - $1,000|
|Removal||$300 - $700|
Gophers and groundhogs may look similar and live in the same regions, but groundhogs are much larger and belong to a different class of rodents. Gophers are considerably smaller, weighing around half a pound. Groundhogs weigh between 2 and 12 pounds. While both animals burrow, you’re more likely to see groundhogs because they spend more time above ground, unlike gophers, who are almost always underground. Other than popping up to feed on plants and vegetation, gophers are much harder to spot.
Removal costs for both animals vary based on the severity of the infestation and the method. Live traps and relocation are the most common options for removing these rodents. The average price of groundhog removal is $130 to $270, while gophers, which may do more digging and pile extra dirt around their holes that smother nearby plants, cost $500 to $700 to remove.
|Animal||Cost (Labor Included)|
|Groundhog||$130 - $270|
|Gopher||$500 - $700|
An underground barrier fence is a good gopher deterrent, with an average price ranging from $30 to $200 per 100’ roll. A handyman can install the mesh barrier within one to three hours with an hourly rate of $50 to $100. Galvanized steel 2 mesh is difficult for gophers to get through and will likely block them from burrowing through your yard. The deeper you install mesh barriers into the ground, the better protection they offer against gopher activity. Ideally, bury mesh barriers 2 to 6 inches into the ground before covering them with soil, sod, and plants. Look for ½” x ½” mesh wire, as the very small and stiff openings are hard for gophers to get through.
Another way to prevent gopher activity in your yard is by installing a fence around the perimeter of your property. Wood fencing costs $3,000 to $6,500 and aluminum fencing costs $3,000 to $8,500. Much like mesh barriers, look for fencing with small openings and make sure the bottom of the fence is installed 2 to 3 feet deep with a 90-degree bend. A fence at least 6 to 12 inches above the ground stops gophers from invading the surface, while the buried portion makes it hard for them to burrow underground and cause big damage to your property.
Plant a border around your garden that consists of plants that gophers do not like. These include marigolds, lavender, salvia, and rosemary. Consult a landscaper for help with choosing plants and getting them in the ground. The average cost of softscaping shrub planting is $25 to $50 per plant.
To permanently get rid of gophers, you need a combination of removal, either live trapping or extermination and enhanced preventative measures. Repellants and mesh barriers or fencing can assist in getting rid of gophers for good.
Live traps cost $300 to $700 and are the best way to get rid of gophers, although there are options for repellants and extermination. If you want gophers to be relocated away from your yard, professional live trapping is the best option.
Yes, gophers find the strong smell of coffee grounds unpleasant. You can sprinkle coffee grounds into gopher tunnels and cover them with soil to fertilize plants and repel gophers at the same time.
There are many smells that gophers find unpleasant. These include coffee grounds, moth balls, dryer sheets, tabasco sauce, peppermint, castor oil, fish, and the droppings of their predators.
The best gopher repellents include peppermint oil, castor oil pellets, and fabric softener sheets. When placed in the burrows near the house, these repellents should deter gophers from further tunneling and chewing that could cause damage.
Unlike many other mammals that are most active either in the morning or at night, gophers are active at all times of the day. Because gophers don’t hibernate, they are active all year round and may be found burrowing or scurrying around looking for food whenever they feel like it, whether in the morning, afternoon, or night.
Remove the soil to find the bottom of the tunnel, usually between two inches and two feet down. Dig the entire length of the tunnel. Pour about one inch of gravel in the bottom of the tunnel and tamp it down. Fill in the rest of the tunnel with dirt and tamp it down again. Add more topsoil where needed and sprinkle fertilizer and grass seed according to the package instructions.
To catch a live gopher, locate an active mound and then use a probe to find tunnels. After finding the tunnel, dig down and clear it out until it is big enough to hold a trap. Insert the trap and then cover it with sod, plywood 3, or another material to keep light out of the tunnel system. Set several traps in the tunnel system and check them in 24 to 48 hours. If nothing has been caught, move to a new tunnel system.