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Spotting and Properly Identifying Gophers

Many people naturally think of tiny crawlers when they think of a pest infestation, and while these are indeed a large subset of the pest population, they aren’t the only ones. Several other pest control services are often needed both inside and outside the home, including rodent extermination.

At Greenside, we offer all of these services as part of our pest control packages. One of the biggest culprits, both literally and figuratively? Gophers. How can these outdoor critters infest your yard, and what can help you properly identify them? Let’s take a look.

Gopher Habits

Gophers are small, destructive rodents that live in burrows below the ground. They busy themselves during the day creating large, extensive tunneling networks in the ground – these networks are known as “gopher towns.” They’re designed to help the gopher search for and capture food, and in many cases, these networks will grow extremely large and span a wide area.

The end result for homeowners, however, isn’t so convenient. Gophers left unattended can destroy entire landscapes and leave stunned homeowners wondering what in the world happened to their beautiful yard.

Types of Damage

Because of the similar types of damage they inflict, gophers and moles can be confused with each other. One big sign is mounds and tunnels, which we’ll get to in a moment, but another is the additional damage gophers can inflict, which moles generally can’t: Things like utility cables, water lines, sprinkler systems and irrigation pipes are all at risk with a gopher infestation. They’re generally most worrisome during the spring and fall, which is when they’re most active near the surface.

Mounds and Tunnels

The most obvious way to spot gopher presence is via mounds on the surface of the ground. Gophers push loose dirt to the surface and out of their tunnels as they burrow, creating a fan-shaped mound. They’re capable of creating several per day, especially while soil is moist.

Gopher tunnels are deeper and larger in diameter than mole tunnels, and another differentiator is the visibility of a tunnel – gopher tunnels are usually deeper, meaning they can’t be seen from the surface unless you dig into their mounds. If you’re unsure whether a hole is from a mole or a gopher, simply shovel it open – if a gopher lives in it, the hole will be plugged within a day or two.

Want to learn more about gophers in the yard, or interested in any of our other exterminator services? Contact the pros at Greenside today.


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Greenside Landscaping boasts of dedicated bug exterminators in Salt Lake City. Contact our experts at Greenside to learn more about our pest control solutions – everything from insects and bed bugs to larger rodents.

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