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How To Tell If Its Gophers Tearing Up Your Pheonix Yard

One of our pride and joys in life is our house. We work and save for years to purchase a place we can call home. Once we wade through the legal mountains of paperwork and sign on the dotted line, we paint, repair, and modify the house to fit our needs and desires. 

Not only do we want the interior to be appealing, but we want the exterior to be pleasant and attractive. So, we plant flowers and bushes and build fences; we invest in grass seed, fertilizer, and weed killer to create a lush green lawn. After all our work around the house, it is a satisfying experience to sit on the porch, sip a glass of iced tea, and admire our handy work. We beam with a sense of satisfaction when a neighbor mentions our weed-free, green lawn. 

Gophers can quickly destroy our work and financial investment by creating tunnels and digging in our manicured yard. The Phoenix pest control service professionals from ACTION Termite & Pest Control understand that sinking feeling caused by gopher destruction. Since 1969 we have eradicated insects, arachnids, and rodents from Phoenix properties. Our 50 years of gopher control have given us the tools, experience, and knowledge to remove gophers and other rodents from local homes. Although many people have heard of gophers but do not know much about them, we are answering common questions in this short article so you can make informed decisions.

Why Are Gophers A Problem For Phoenix Homeowners?

Gophers are part of the rodent family of mammals, and one of the characteristics of these animals is their constantly growing incisor teeth. Gophers have a pair of incisor teeth on the top and bottom of their mouth, which extend outside their mouth, and require constant trimming through gnawing through the soil. Gophers close their mouth behind their extended teeth to avoid a mouthful of dirt when they burrow through the yard. 

Gophers also use their incisor teeth to feed on plants. Unlike omnivore rats and mice that will eat anything or insectivore moles that consume only insects, gophers are herbivores that eat only plants. Due to the need to keep their ever-growing incisor teeth trimmed, gophers do not usually eat the leafy parts but consume the roots, tubers (plants that store nutrients underground), and other substantial parts of plants to keep their teeth trimmed. 

Not only do incisor teeth enable gophers to tear through the soil and destroy plant roots, but they have forelegs with long claws that work in conjunction with their long teeth to remove dirt. Other features that make gophers dirt-digging machines are short fur to prevent dirt from caking on the body, sensitive facial whiskers that allow them to move in the dark tunnels, and a two-inch tail that guides them when moving backward through a tunnel. 

Gopher pest control is needed because when gophers are on your Phoenix property, they will do the following:

  • Kill plants and shrubs
  • Ruin irrigation systems
  • Destroy grass
  • Cause structural damage 
  • Produce tripping hazards
  • Harm the aesthetics of the property
  • Cut telephone, internet, and other wires 

ACTION Termite & Pest Control provides gopher control in Phoenix to protect the hard-earned investment of homeowners. Our service professionals will stop gophers from destroying your yard

How To Tell If Gophers Are In Your Yard

Gophers do not hibernate but build underground tunnel systems covering several hundred square feet six to twelve inches below the surface. Unlike some rodents visible during the day (i.e., squirrels) or those you can hear or see at night when you remain still for a long time (i.e., rats and mice), gophers rarely appear above ground unless it is to feed on a plant near the tunnel opening. Furthermore, rodents are solitary, and unless your lawn is over 2,000 square feet, there will be only one gopher in your yard unless it is breeding season. 

Since gophers are elusive and remain hidden beneath the soil surface, how do you know if gophers are in your yard? To determine the presence of gophers in your Phoenix yard, look for these signs:

  • Dirt mounds: Gophers create tunnels using their incisor teeth to chew through roots and their large claws to excavate the soil. Eventually, the dirt the gopher has kicked behind it clogs the tunnel, so it somersaults and pushes the excess soil out of the tunnel with its head and front feet leaving a mound of dirt at the entrance. To keep dirt from piling up at the tunnel entrance, the gopher moves it to the right and left of the opening, creating a fan-like appearance. A gopher may form several mounds daily if the soil is soft from irrigation or recent rains. 
  • Tunnels: Gophers in Phoenix are typical pocket gophers, so-named because they carry food pockets in their mouth. This gopher species creates tunnels 1¾ to 3½ inches in diameter and six to twelve inches below ground, but food storage areas may be as deep as six feet. A gopher tunnel system is complex and consists of several lateral tunnels connecting into a central tunnel. Under optimal conditions, a gopher moves 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of soil annually; it is not unusual for a gopher to have over 800 feet of tunnels in a yard. 
  • Soil plugs: Gophers are not the only rodent that creates tunnels, but unlike ground squirrels and other tunneling rodents, gophers plug the end of their tunnels with a one to three-inch circular depression. Unless the gopher is actively excavating a tunnel, it will seal a tunnel within 24 hours upon reentry after foraging on nearby plants. 
  • Dying plants: As gophers excavate, they chew through the roots of plants and damage the plant's ability to feed. In addition to the harm gophers cause when tunneling, they feed on bulbs of many garden and ornamental plants, tree bark, shrubs, and vines. Gophers invade gardens, often due to the softer, tilled soil, destroying plants as they burrow down the rows. 
  • Disappearing plants: Gophers pull plants into their tunnels and store them in deep burrows for future consumption. Gophers prefer herbaceous plants (plants with a non-woody stem), which include all annuals, biennials, and some perennials. Annuals are plants that complete their lifecycle in a year (i.e., garden plants) and are a target for gophers. 
  • Damaged plants: Although gophers remain below ground, in areas of heavy vegetation, they may burrow to the surface and create a feed hole. A feed hole opening does not have a dirt mound in a fan-shaped pattern, and there is a circular pattern of damaged plants around the hole opening. 

To prevent gopher damage, you need a company that provides effective gopher control in Phoenix, Arizona, ACTION Termite & Pest Control. We will not only stop the gophers from destroying your property, but our trained service professionals will provide tips to protect the foliage and garden plants on your Phoenix property. 

Is It Dangerous To Have Gophers In Your Yard?

Although an encounter with a gopher is unlikely, they are still dangerous to have in the yard. Gophers spread hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and rabies through contact or bitting. Avoid touching gophers; if you find a dead gopher wear protective gloves while carefully handling it. Like all rodents, gophers may carry fleas, ticks, mites, and lice which can spread to house pets who bring them into the house. Fleas and ticks carry diseases harmful to humans and pets. 

Gophers in the yard are dangerous because their dirt mounds create tripping hazards in the lawn. Furthermore, the tunnels eventually collapse and create sinkholes in the yard, which may cause an ankle sprang, falls, and worse. Also, if the gopher is present when you step on a tunnel and it collapses, it may bite your foot in defense, putting you at risk for an infection or disease. 

ACTION Termite & Pest Control provides pocket gopher control to protect your family against the dangers of gophers infesting your Phoenix lawn. 

The Safest Way To Remove Gophers from Your Property

Removing gophers from your Phoenix yard is difficult due to their elusive nature. If you found us because you were searching for gopher control near me, you understand that you need professional help to remove gophers from your property. 

When you contact ACTION Termite & Pest Control, we promise to deliver the best gopher control. Our service professional will investigate your Phoenix property to determine the scope of the infestation and attractions. We will create a strategic removal plan using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to clear the problematic pest from your yard and prevent future infestations. 

Despite the problems they cause, gophers are cute, and most people want their removal to be humane. To humanely remove the rodents, we will use baits and traps designed for gophers. Once we resolve the gopher problem, we work with the homeowner to stop future gopher issues by removing attractants and creating barriers. Take action now! Contact us to learn more and schedule an inspection.