Gophers dig tunnels that provide them with protection from predators and as a means of foraging for food. However, they create a huge mess deep beneath lawns and gardens. So, how much does it cost to get rid of them permanently? Well, several factors go into the cost of removing gophers from your yard.
Our team of experts has done all the research for you, and they conclude that the average price for gopher removal nationwide is $325.
In this informative cost guide, you’ll also uncover:
- Top secret pricing strategies used by exterminators
- How to identify gopher infestations
- Health problems posed by gophers
- Cost differences between DIY and hiring an expert
- Methods used by pest control companies to eliminate gophers
If trying to exterminate gophers on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that are able to use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods.
For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.
For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.
For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company’s website.
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Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table Of Contents
What Influences Cost?
Exterminators and wildlife removal companies set their prices using several key determinants. Below, we list the essential ones along with the price differences.
Removing one pocket gopher costs around $150 to place bait stations into a single tunnel system. Add an extra $75–$100 for a follow-up service visit to remove the dead animal.
However, gophers can build vast tunnel networks reaching over 200 feet, and with multiple gophers, the price shoots up even more. For that reason, expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $350 as a starting point to eliminate more than one gopher.
Many pest control providers now offer several plan options for gopher removal. Keep in mind that most contracted plans require an initial cleanout fee of between $150 and $300. What follows are some of the most common examples of these service agreements.
Monthly service plans require a one-year contract. You’re guaranteed not to have gophers come back between monthly visits by the technician. Payments run anywhere from $40 to $60 per month for this specialized service, and there are no other pests included in the contract.
Quarterly contracts include four visits per year from the technician. But, it’s not always clear whether companies guarantee you won’t see any gophers in between.
The majority of customer complaints come from quarterly gopher service. They often point to the technician not showing up to reset traps or remove dead animals.
If you can still find a quarterly wildlife removal plan, they generally run from $150 all the way up to $400 per visit. However, most companies offering gopher removal are shying away from this option.
Although most gopher species don’t hibernate in winter, they are more active in the spring and summer months. For that reason, many exterminators offer seasonal plans.
This option includes somewhere between three and six service visits per year, and it typically depends on the region you live in.
The technician visits monthly during the contract duration to set traps, place bait stations, and inspect for new activity. The cost for this service generally ranges from $100 to $200 per month.
There are several methods an exterminator uses to get rid of gophers around your property. Each one has its unique attributes. Here, we list them in order of cost.
The easiest method to eliminate gophers is with rodenticide baits. Older formulations contained strychnine poison that killed gophers almost instantly.
Newer generation anticoagulant baits take up to two or three weeks to take effect and often require follow-up applications.
Added to that, the technician has to locate the tunnel. The more experienced professionals utilize a probe for this purpose.
The cost of baiting depends on other factors. But in general, it costs anywhere between $150 and $300.
Trapping gophers sometimes involves a bit more work for the tech. First, they have to locate the tunnel using a probe or other device.
Then, there’s the matter of deciding on the type of trap to use. So, it comes down to the safety requirements and the length of the tunnel system already in existence.
The most favored trap is the quick-kill, choker box trap. Another popular variety among technicians is the pincer trap.
Either type requires opening the tunnel, which is the time-consuming part of the task. Also, most exterminators cover over the tunnel once each trap is set.
Some prefer to leave it open, hoping that the gopher will be more likely to visit it. That’s because gophers hate the light and will try to enclose the tunnel and trigger the trap in the process.
Count on spending at least $300 to $400 for trapping. That’s because reputable exterminators will often guarantee their work, and to do that, it may require at least one follow-up visit.
The latest in gopher eradication involves the use of carbon monoxide fumigation. With this method, the technician sends lethal exhaust fumes into the tunnel system to kill the gopher.
The unit they employ uses a small gasoline engine, similar to those that power lawn mowers. The exhaust is routed to a one-inch hose that is inserted into a gopher tunnel opening.
The technician has to make sure all entrance areas are packed down to create a tight seal. If not, the exhaust will escape, becoming less effective.
Studies show that when carbon monoxide fumigation is done correctly, the efficacy is over 80 percent, which is a much better success rate than most other methods for controlling gopher populations.
The cost for this service is between $400 and $600. However, newer handheld fumigators are making their way into the market. For that reason, expect the price of the service to go down within the next few years as more exterminators begin using them.
Another innovation in gopher control is the use of underground fencing for ornamental plants. It involves burying hardware cloth or 1/2 inch steel mesh to limit the gopher’s ability to tunnel.
Exclusion services are not included in most pest control contracts. So, you may have to hire a landscaper to perform this important task.
Mechanical exclusion for gophers, moles, and other tunneling pests generally costs $100-$300.
When budgeting for gopher removal, it’s crucial to figure out the cost of repairing your yard, and it could be quite a lot since it’s generally not a simple process.
First, you have to remove the soil from the entire tunnel system. Then, you need to fill the bottom of the tunnel with a one-inch layer of gravel. The next step is to replace the soil.
After that, it’s necessary to install a layer of fresh topsoil so that you can later reseed it.
The cost to have someone else do all this for you is between $100 and $600, depending on the size of your yard and the extent of the damage.
Signs & Causes of Gopher Infestation
It isn’t always clear-cut that you have a gopher problem. It could also be moles or voles, and it’s easy to get them all confused.
So, we’ve listed all the identifying factors for you here, including the damage and causes of gopher infestations.
Gophers are burrowing rodents that live underground. There are about 35 species in North America, and they have a lifespan of around one to three years.
The male gopher is around eight inches in length and weighs about 0.5 pounds. Females are generally about half that size.
Gophers have mostly brown fur that is matched well with their local soil color. They also possess large cheek pouches, small eyes, and a short hairy tail.
You’re unlikely to see a gopher since they are mostly solitary creatures. However, you might catch an occasional glimpse of one during breeding season or when they begin digging a tunnel.
The North American gopher typically only has two to five young per litter. So, it has a slower reproductive rate than other rodents.
The ones that do survive can create enormous destruction in a very short amount of time.
Most gopher species don’t hibernate during the winter. They are most active during the spring and summer months. For that reason, you’ll see the bulk of the yard damage during the warmer seasons.
Gophers construct vast tunnel systems underground to carry and forage for food. Their diet mainly consists of:
- Plant roots
- Shrub roots
Gophers often visit gardens, lawns, and farms for their abundant, available food sources, and these areas are also ideal locations to tunnel since they provide moist, loose soil.
The most obvious evidence of gopher infestation is the tunnel entrances. When a gopher begins to dig, it leaves a large, crescent-shaped mound behind, and it usually isn’t just one. They can create several in your yard on a single day.
Gophers also chew through flexible plastic irrigation lines. So, when the water gets rerouted, it causes soil erosion and other kinds of lawn damage.
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Health Risks of Gophers
All rodents have the potential to become disease carriers, and gophers are no exception.
Below are three diseases gophers have the possibility of passing on to humans:
The plague bacteria is typically transmitted by infected fleas that feed off of dead rodents. Also, it can be spread by pets to their owners after coming into contact with them.
These are the symptoms of plague in humans:
- Extreme weakness
- Abdominal pain
- Internal bleeding
- Tissue necrosis at the extremities
Tularemia is caused by handling infected animal carcasses.
Here are the common symptoms of this bacterial infection:
- Sore throat
- Mouth ulcers
- Swelling of lymph glands
- Skin ulcers, in some cases
The primary transmission of the illness is through ingesting food or water contaminated with urine from infected rodents.
Leptospirosis can also spread through the skin or mucous membranes with water that’s contaminated with urine from infected gophers.
The symptoms of the disease include:
- Muscle aches and pain
- Yellowing of the skin
- Abdominal pain
- Redness of the eyes
Meningitis and kidney failure may set in if the disease is not treated promptly.
DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
DIY gopher management can be difficult to achieve. But, it’s possible with the right tools and some patience. Here, we show you the difference between doing it yourself and hiring an animal control professional.
DIY Gopher Control
Several methods are available to get rid of gophers from your yard. The following are some ideas to get you started.
Before using gopher traps, it’s vital to know where the tunnels are located. That’s because tapping is more effective around areas where there’s a high level of gopher activity.
This includes locations close to sprinkler systems. Also, you want to look for obvious signs such as tunnels and mounds to set your traps.
There are many gopher baits to choose from. The ones that list the gopher as the first pest on the label wins. That’s because these products have attractants that are specifically designed to lure gophers.
Use 1/2 inch wire mesh around trees, shrubs, and vegetable plants to keep gophers from tunneling near them. Place it about two feet into the soil and about three feet above it.
This technique will ensure no burrowing pests can tunnel through to your ornamental plants and trees.
Natural gopher repellents are available in several varieties. For example, use granules in regions where it rains frequently. Conversely, it’s often more convenient to utilize spray repellents in dry weather conditions.
Almost all gopher repellents contain castor oil, but a few have natural essential oils as their active ingredient.
Hiring a Professional
Hiring a pest management provider is not as hard as it may seem. This is because so many are willing to solve your gopher problem in the quickest way possible.
These are our three top picks:
- Terminix technicians have the specialized training to handle any wildlife problem around your home or business.
- Aptive utilizes the latest technology for getting rid of gopher infestations. With its customer-driven focus, it continues to be one of the fastest-growing pest control companies in the U.S.
- Orkin has over 100 years of experience in the industry. So, it’s technicians how to eliminate gophers and unwanted pests.
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What is the Standard Squirrel Removal Process?
It can seem a bit intimidating to call a pest exterminator for the first time about your gopher problem. But don’t worry! We’ll walk you through the process step-by-step.
Step 1. Scheduling
The majority of pest control service companies have a website. So, it’s easy to get their address and phone number.
However, it’s going to take a little longer than usual to schedule the first visit. That’s because you’ll need to give the customer rep information such as:
- Phone number
- Type of pest
- Other details that can help the technician
After the appointment is set, you’ll get a call from the company confirming it. In most cases, if you opt-in, you’ll receive a text message as well.
Step 2. Inspection
When the technician arrives at your home, they will inspect the yard and outdoor areas. They’re looking for signs of gophers such as tunnels, obvious damage, and gopher mounds.
Probes are used to discover how far the tunnels go. There may also be some flags placed around the yard to mark them. But don’t be alarmed by them. They will be removed once the trapping operations are finished.
Step 3. Removal Process
Once your technician locates each tunnel and marks it, the traps will be placed. To do that, they may need to expose the tunnel by removing the topsoil.
Again, there’s no need to worry. It will be replaced as a final step in the process, and you’ll know where the traps are because the tech will keep the flags in place until the gophers are caught.
If they decide to use poison baits, they will take great care to install them where pets and children will not gain access.
Since you’re the one in charge, it’s also a good idea to gently remind them that you feel strongly about your family’s safety.
Step 4. Follow-up
The top exterminators will always perform a follow-up, even if they are not as competitive price-wise. That means they will come to your home a second time to check the traps and ensure you are satisfied with the service.
One Final Thought
While it’s true that the pest control company sets the gopher removal cost, it’s the homeowner who has to pay it. So, that’s why it’s so critical that you don’t pay too much.
Hopefully, we’ve given you enough information to make a wise choice when it comes to getting rid of gophers from your yard.
If you decide to hire someone to help you, be sure they’re licensed, bonded, and insured in the state where you live.