How much does it cost to remove groundhogs?
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Groundhog Removal Cost Guide
Updated: November 15, 2022
Groundhogs are classified as a species of least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. However, there are some areas where the groundhog population is so numerous that they are considered pests. They can wreak havoc on your yard, especially when they build their burrows there. Besides leaving large holes in your landscaping, their tunnels can lead to structural building damage.
Groundhog removal costs from $150 to $300. Most homeowners spend around $200 on an inspection, trap placement, and removal of a single groundhog. On the low end of the scale, costs for a single inspection and application of groundhog repellent cost approximately $100. On the high end of the scale, a more comprehensive removal job costs $550, which covers an inspection, fumigation, groundhog removal, repellent application, and burrow filling.
Woodchuck Removal Cost
|Groundhog Removal Costs|
|National average cost||$200|
Groundhog Removal Cost by Method
Professionals use several methods to get rid of groundhogs. These methods include repellents that deter groundhogs from coming onto your property or trapping and relocating the animals when they are on the property. A lethal groundhog trap is available for professional use, but there are humane concerns with that type. In addition to trapping and repellents, professionals may also use fumigation, killing the groundhogs or driving them away from the property.
|Service||Cost for a One-Time Visit|
|Repellent||$75 - $100|
|Lethal Trap||$100 - $175|
|Live Trap and Relocation||$150 - $250|
|Fumigants / Gassers||$150 - $300|
Treatments with repellents cost between $75 and $100 for a one-time application by a professional, lasting up to four weeks. Groundhog repellents are products used by contractors who aim to exclude the pests from your yard without using live or lethal groundhog traps. Repellent chemicals should be used exclusively by a professional since the application process can pose a risk to human or pet health. Although there are groundhog poisons, most contractors try a non-toxic version to see if the pests can be excluded in a humane way. The repellents are sprayed on target areas within the yard, including on any vegetation that the groundhog has been eating and at the opening of the burrows around the property. Both granular solutions and liquid types are available.
Trap a Groundhog With a Lethal Trap
Lethal groundhog traps are slightly less expensive since the animal does not need to be relocated, costing around $100 to $175. A lethal groundhog trap is typically only an option if the animal has caused significant damage to your property. Each state has laws about whether you’re allowed to use a lethal trap. For instance, the Missouri Department of Conservation permits lethal groundhog traps in the event that the pest is causing damage to a property. A typical lethal trap is a body-gripping type that traps and kills the groundhog after it leaves a burrow. Professionals typically use food bait to lure the animal into the trap.
Live Trap and Relocation
The average cost for the live trap and removal of a single groundhog is $150 to $250. Live groundhog traps are used for catch and release strategies. A groundhog trap lures the groundhog using bait such as pieces of fruits or vegetables. The trap is set during the daytime and placed near burrows within the yard. Live groundhog traps have simple mechanics—once the groundhog has entered the cage, the entry point is shut and traps the live groundhog inside. The professional then takes the groundhog to another area away from your property.
Groundhog Fumigation and Gassing
Groundhogs live in burrows under the ground. A professional can seal these burrows and pump them full of gas to rid the property of the animals. Groundhog fumigation ranges from about $150 to $300. A completely sealed burrow with fumigation should kill the groundhogs. However, extensive burrows are hard to seal, and the groundhogs may escape the gas. A professional can examine the home’s yard to determine whether gassing will offer an effective removal solution. At the very least, fumigation creates an inhospitable environment for the groundhogs, which may convince them to leave.
Groundhog Removal Cost by Severity of Infestation
Groundhogs are one of several nuisance wildlife that can burrow, tear up your lawn, and damage structures around the home like the foundation and trees. Unfortunately, groundhog colonies may grow significantly over time, with removal costs increasing with each new litter of groundhogs added to the colony. On the low end, removing just a small infestation with a single groundhog should cost less than removing a large colony.
A medium infestation where a pair of groundhogs might live in the ground with a small litter of pups increases the removal cost to $200 to $400. At the medium stage, removal methods may include trapping, animal removal, and preventative measures like groundhog repellents. Once the colony grows into a large infestation, prices increase. The higher costs are due to multiple visits from the exterminator or animal removal professional. Large infestations may feature multiple generations of groundhog families and are a significant threat to the above-ground structures of the home like trees, fences, and foundations.
|Infestation Size||Average Cost|
|Small||$100 - $200|
|Medium||$200 - $400|
|Large||$400 - $600|
Cost to Remove a Groundhog by Frequency
In some situations, the best solution for groundhog removal is a contract. A contract lowers the price of groundhog eradication when several visits are required. A contract is also a good idea in areas where groundhogs are pervasive and are likely to return to the property even after they have been removed. For a mild infestation or one that requires occasional treatment and oversight, a yearly visit with a contract is a good idea at the cost of $100 to $200 per year. You may want to set up this contract after an initial treatment visit that rids the property of groundhogs.
In some situations where groundhogs are active during certain seasons, a seasonal contract is a good idea. A seasonal contract features in the months where they are more active. In other cases, a contract with visits once every quarter is the best schedule to battle a recurring groundhog invasion. For severe infestations and properties that are particularly vulnerable to groundhog problems, a monthly contract might offer the most cost-effective solution for groundhog removal with repeat trapping and baiting. Remember that a groundhog treatment contract is not required. Homeowners may choose a visit without a contract at the cost of $150 to $300.
|Contract Frequency||Average Yearly Cost|
|Once||$100 - $200|
|Seasonal||$100 - $300|
|Quarterly||$150 - $300|
|Monthly||$480 - $540|
Groundhog Control Cost by Location
Groundhogs, as their name might suggest, burrow under the ground and live in colonies below the surface. Not only can they set up their tunnels under your front lawn, but they can even tunnel underneath the foundation of your home and other buildings on your property. Removing a colony of groundhogs from under a home costs more than removing the groundhogs from an easily accessible spot like under the front lawn. Groundhog tunnels under a home may reach 30 or 40 feet down into the ground, which is very difficult to reach and may cost as much as $500 to treat.
The easiest place to access is under an elevated deck where the groundhogs have not started burrowing yet and are still getting used to their new home. The crawl space under an elevated home is another moderately reasonable location to treat, especially when the groundhogs have not yet created a vast network of tunnels. Getting to groundhogs under the lawn or hidden in the yard is often like a game of hide and seek, and it might take a few visits to treat the area fully. The most difficult areas to treat are underneath sheds and homes with foundations that touch the ground. Tunnels can become almost inaccessible when they exist many feet under the ground beneath a home.
|Deck||$100 - $200|
|Crawl Space||$125 - $300|
|Lawn||$150 - $300|
|Shed||$200 - $325|
|Foundation||$300 - $500|
Groundhog Removal Price by Company
Nationwide pest control companies Terminix and Orkin rid homes of various pests and rodents, including groundhogs. They operate in most regions around the country. Both companies allow independent pest control professionals to start franchises and offer pest control services like groundhog trapping, removal, and eradication. Orkin was founded in 1901 and handles the removal of all sorts of different pests.
Terminix was also founded in 1927. Prices usually vary depending on the severity of the infestation and the local cost of living. Treating a groundhog in Mississippi will usually cost less than getting rid of groundhogs in New York. Conveniently, both of these companies also remove all sorts of other rodents and bugs, which means they can handle multiple types of infestations at the same time.
|Company||Cost of Removal (One-Time Visit)|
|Terminix||$100 - $500|
|Orkin||$175 - $450|
Cost to Remove a Groundhog per Hour
Groundhog removal services should be requested from a wildlife control specialist. Most significantly, a wildlife control specialist knows what methodologies are permitted within your region. For instance, there may be local laws protecting groundhogs from being killed.
Wildlife control specialists are hired to remove groundhogs from a home. The price of groundhog removal services includes an initial inspection as well as a treatment plan and prevention plan. You can expect to pay an hourly rate for pest removal services between $50 and $75. Since most yards are only impacted by a single groundhog, the cost ranges between $100 and $300.
Any type of extras could be included in the labor costs. For instance, you may need to pay $50 or more for travel if the exterminator charges $0.50 per mile outside of the company’s service area and you reside 100 miles away from the designated site.
Groundhog Inspection Cost
Sometimes, homeowners are unsure what type of animal lives under their lawn. They might notice dead spots on the lawn or small sinkholes. The groundhog may also leave evidence of tunneling. Those tunnels can reach a foot in diameter. In most cases, a groundhog inspection costs $50 to $100. You can choose to remove the animal if the professional finds evidence of a groundhog. If the exterminator or wildlife professional does not find a groundhog, you will pay the initial fee to cover the time spent inspecting the property and looking for evidence of groundhogs. If you choose removal, the professional will use lethal or non-lethal traps to catch the groundhog. You will pay an additional amount for the removal service. Sometimes, the company may offer a discount on the inspection fee when you hire them for removal service.
Cost to Repair Groundhog Damage
Groundhogs are known to cause damage to both a house and yard by digging extensive systems of burrows around the property. Burrow systems can be found under both a yard and structures located on the lot. If you find piles of dirt and holes around your home’s foundation, there’s a good chance the groundhog has burrowed in this area. The main issue with groundhog foundation damage is that it threatens the stability of your home.
Groundhog yard damage can be incurred due to the food sources that the pest could be seeking out. If you have any type of vegetable, herb, or flower garden, the plants may be trampled or consumed by the rodents. Groundhogs are herbivores and will stick to eating any plants available to them within your gardens. Along with replacing the plants, you need to see about fence repair if the groundhogs have destroyed the existing one. Once you have removed the groundhogs from the property, you have to pay to fill in any of the burrows that they have created.
Groundhogs chew through certain parts of a home to make their burrows. Systems most likely to be affected by groundhogs are electrical wires and irrigation system parts. For an electrical system, you’ll have to hire an electrician to assess the damage and do any rewiring.
|Type of Repair||Cost|
|Electrical Work||$40 - $120/hour|
|Sprinkler System Repair||$100 - $400|
|Fill Burrows||$200 - $500|
|Tree Replanting||$200 - $550|
|Fence Repair||$200 - $850|
|Landscape Repair||$220 - $600|
|Foundation Repair||$5,000 - $10,000|
All About Groundhogs
Groundhogs are also called woodchucks and whistle-pigs. Groundhogs are hibernating animals that are only active during the warmer months. For the winter season, groundhogs remain in hibernation for up to three months. When active, they will fatten up by foraging as often as possible. Groundhogs can eat up to a pound of vegetables in a single sitting. They grow as long as 20 inches as an adult and weigh a maximum of 13 pounds. In the wild, groundhogs live an average of three years, but can survive as long as six years. Groundhogs are mostly solitary creatures, but do breed during the spring and have litters of up to six chucklings. If you are wondering how to catch groundhog invaders on your property, the best idea is to call a professional.
What Does a Groundhog Look Like?
With groundhogs, you’ll see thick fur on their back in different shades of brown. It measures less than two feet in length and has a stocky body with an average weight of around 10 pounds. Sometimes a groundhog looks like a squirrel from a distance. Closer inspection reveals that a groundhog has a short bushy tail, unlike a squirrel’s long bushy tail. Groundhogs also have large incisor teeth in the front of their mouth that squirrels are entirely without. They are round, plump rodents that cause quite a bit of damage when left to create extensive underground burrows. Groundhogs might appear like friendly, plump pets. However, they are wild animals, so it is best to keep a distance once you identify that a groundhog has taken up residence in your yard.
What Smell Do Groundhogs Hate?
Groundhogs dislike the scent of certain herbs and plants, such as lavender, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Groundhogs dislike herbs like mint, thyme, oregano, basil, lemon balm, sage, and chives. Many of these herbs have a pleasant smell for humans but are not tolerated by groundhogs. Not only can you keep groundhogs away by planting these herbs, but you can also use them when cooking meals at home. You may try planting these herbs along the property line to help keep the groundhogs from entering the yard and digging around. Some accounts also suggest groundhogs hate the smell of dirty cat litter; however, this option is usually quite pungent for humans, too.
Signs of Groundhogs
Groundhog identification is an important part of the groundhog removal process. Wildlife specialists inspect your yard for signs of groundhogs before recommending any type of groundhog extermination procedures. Groundhogs do not make their presence known immediately. The first sign you have a problem usually comes in the form of holes in the yard. These burrow entrances can reach a foot wide and are often accompanied by a nearby mound of dirt.
You may see signs of digging around sheds, decking, or porches. You may even spot paw prints around the loose dirt with four toes in the front and five in the rear. Groundhogs make a distinct high whistling sound that could alert you to their presence. Moles also dig holes, so spotting a live groundhog can also help with identification.
Are Groundhogs Dangerous?
In the majority of cases, groundhogs are not a serious threat to humans. They are not known to attack and usually avoid human contact. Groundhog rabies is the largest concern when dealing with this pest. According to the Centers for Disease Control, groundhogs are one of the largest carriers of rabies. If you have pets in your home, you especially want to avoid rabies transmission. Rabid groundhogs can pass the disease onto pets when they come into contact with the rodent’s saliva. The disease can pass on to cats and dogs through a bite if the affected animal becomes aggressive. Humans can contract rabies from the rodent and develop flu-like symptoms. Rabies requires treatment since the disease can cause more serious symptoms such as extreme agitation and hallucinations. Groundhogs are also dangerous if their burrows cause a fall risk in your yard. If a child or adult doesn’t notice the holes, they could fall and be subject to a sprain or break.
How to Prevent Groundhogs
Preventing groundhogs from entering your property eliminates the need for trapping. After relocating a groundhog or repelling the pest from your yard, use these strategies to keep them away for good. First, consider installing a fence. Fencing that reaches a foot into the ground and is at least three feet high is an effective barrier against groundhog invasions. Check the fence regularly to ensure it remains intact. Second, make sure the grounds are clear of leaves and wood piles with regular lawn maintenance. Groundhogs may use these areas for hiding, food, or shelter. Also, clean up any fallen fruit and vegetables from your backyard garden because groundhogs are attracted to fruit and vegetables.
Reinforce your efforts at keeping groundhogs away with naturally smelly items that groundhogs do not like, such as castor oil, cayenne pepper, and lavender. Some dogs are also helpful at keeping away groundhogs and other rodents. The presence of a dog may scare groundhogs away, especially if they have babies they want to protect. Homeowners who are not interested in getting a dog can use a scarecrow, which may help prevent groundhogs from invading the property. Simple scarecrows cost around $20 to $40, but more expensive models with animatronic capabilities are also available for $90 to $140.
Cost of Groundhog Removal vs Extermination
In most cases, removing a live groundhog takes more effort than extermination. Extermination may occur immediately through a process like fumigation. However, catching a live groundhog and removing it may require a few days of effort before the groundhog is lured into the trap. Groundhogs are not generally a protected species, so it is virtually always legal to exterminate them. Some states recommend that homeowners seek removal before killing the groundhogs as a more humane option. Certain states have rules regarding how homeowners can kill groundhogs. Some municipalities require a hunting license, so it is often easiest to let a professional handle the removal. Other locations do not allow unauthorized individuals to relocate live animals, so it becomes necessary for a professional to relocate live groundhogs, too.
|Removal Type||Average Cost|
|Extermination||$100 - $300|
|Removal||$150 - $250|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
A fence is a helpful option for keeping groundhogs and other wildlife away from the property, but it might be necessary to completely replace the fence at the cost of $3,000 to $7,000. Over time, groundhogs may make holes in the fence, and replacing it might become the best option. You may also want to switch your type of fence from a wooden fence to a wire mesh fence that digs deep into the ground and prevents tunneling onto the property.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- DIY. Groundhog removal is not effective when done on your own since the pests may not respond to store-bought repellents. The rodent could also be rabid and pose a safety risk.
- Time of year. Spring and summer are the ideal times to get rid of groundhogs since they are more active. Groundhogs hibernate during the winter, and their hibernation time varies depending on their location too.
- Legal issues. Each state will have its own rules about getting rid of groundhogs. Check your state’s department of wildlife websites to find out the legalities of dealing with groundhogs or woodchucks.
- Ultrasonic groundhog repellents. Ultrasonic repellents emit a high-pitched sound that manufacturers say groundhogs do not like. Repellents are considered a DIY option, and there are some questions about their efficacy. They may work, but only for so long before the animals realize the repellent is not dangerous.
- Pet safe repellents. One effective way to keep groundhogs away is to place smelly items in their burrows. Groundhogs do not like the smell of soiled kitty litter or castor oil, and these items will not harm dogs or cats. Homeowners can use these items to repel groundhogs after a professional removes existing animals.
- Dead and sick groundhog removal. Some municipalities will remove dead groundhogs, but they normally will not remove live groundhogs from within a burrow. The best option to remove a sick groundhog is an exterminator or wildlife removal service. It is best to get a professional to remove dead groundhogs because their carcasses may have parasites.
- Emergency removal. Some exterminators offer same-day or emergency removal services, but they often charge an extra fee ranging from $50 to $200 for the convenience. A groundhog that becomes aggressive with a homeowner or pets may require immediate or emergency removal.
- Is it bad to have a groundhog in your yard?
Groundhogs are destructive pests and should be removed before they cause significant damage to your yard. Once they create burrows and have a reliable food source, they remain in place.
- What is a natural way to get rid of groundhogs?
Natural methods to get rid of groundhogs include placing certain substances around the yard such as chili powder and talcum powder. These methods are inconsistent and may not be effective.
- What will keep groundhogs away?
Fencing and a well-maintained yard are the best way to keep groundhogs away from your property. The fencing should reach down into the ground at least 12 inches to prevent groundhogs from digging underneath and reach three feet high to prevent the groundhogs from jumping over it.
- What poison will kill groundhogs?
Poisons used on other rodents like rats will kill groundhogs. These chemicals need to include strychnine. Keep in mind that these chemicals are also very dangerous to household pets and children; it may also be illegal to kill groundhogs in your state.
- Do groundhogs attack humans?
Groundhogs rarely attack humans and usually avoid all human contact, but if they do approach you, be aware of rabies transmission.
- Can a groundhog kill a dog?
Groundhogs will not kill a dog, but can infect the pet with rabies if it is a carrier. Dogs should always get a rabies test after a fight with a groundhog. Groundhogs also have large incisor teeth, which can harm and puncture a dog’s skin during a fight.
- How do exterminators get rid of groundhogs?
Exterminators may remove groundhogs from property by trapping them with bait and a cage, or they may use fumigation with gas to kill the groundhogs in their burrows. The method usually comes down to local laws, homeowner preference, and the exterminator’s recommendation.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “How can you prevent rabies in animals?"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Other Wild Animals."
- Farmer’s Almanac. “5 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Groundhogs (Without Harming Them)."
- FIXR Cost Guides and Cost Database.
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources. “Groundhog."
- LawnStarter. “How to Get Rid of Groundhogs.”
- Missouri Department of Conservation. “Groundhog Control."
- National Wildlife Federation. “10 Things You May Not Know About Groundhogs."
- Nature on PBS. “Groundhogs Fact Sheet."
- Penn State News. “Professor studies groundhog hibernation to benefit mankind."
- Scientific American. “Eight Things You Didn't Know About Groundhogs."
- Terminix. “Digging Deep Into Groundhog Holes."
- Terminix. “How to Help Get Rid of Groundhogs in Your Yard."
- The Old Farmer's Almanac. “Groundhogs."
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. “Marmota monax."
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.