Q:

How do farmers control gophers?

A:

Quick Answer

Farmers typically control gophers in one of three ways, by trapping the animal, poisoning it or setting up a home for a barn owl to take residence and hunt the gopher. The method chosen depends greatly on how large the gopher infestation is, according to Oregon State University.

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Full Answer

Trapping and poisoning is done primarily when there are a small number of gophers infesting the farm. Trapping is usually done in the spring and fall seasons when gophers are most active. The most common traps are used along the main runway of the gopher tunnel, found by locating gopher runs that allow a probe to sink 4 to 12 inches into fresh gopher mounds. Once a runway is located, a hole is dug into the run, and the traps are set on both legs of the tunnel. When the gopher returns to repair the hole, the pest is caught by one of the traps.

Poison baits are used by setting the poison inside the main runway of the gopher tunnel then filling in the hole. Poison must be used with care, however, as it can inadvertently affect other animals on the farm if ingested by them.

Another solution suggested by OSU is the construction of a barn owl habitat to attract an owl to the farm. The owl is a natural predator for gophers and can clear a large area of them. Owls take longer than trapping and poisoning the gopher, though.

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