If you're looking for the best gopher baits of 2018, you've come to the right place!
Pest Strategies is here to help solve your gopher problems!
In this product review you can expect to learn:
- Our overall best gopher bait
- What gophers eat, which tells you . . .
- Where you'll find them
- How to use gopher bait for maximum effect
If you want to reliably get rid of gophers, baits can help you out, and we have the answers you’re looking for.
Ready to get started?
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
(updated as of 9/21/2018)
Our top pick is the JT Eaton Bait Blocks.
This is our top pick among gopher baits.
This is a first generation anticoagulant bait from JT Eaton contains Diphacinone 0.005%.
It's formulated into moisture resistant blocks to withstand high humidity and other damp conditions prevalent outdoors.
It'll hang in there day-in and day-out, which means fewer trips to the gopher mounds to replenish it.
These work best when you push them deep into the hole in the mound, the deeper the better.
Then block the opening so the gopher will come to see to re-open it and discover the bait in the process.
You could dig into the tunnels from above, but as long as you push them deep enough from the mound opening, and completely cover the mound opening, you won't need any digging.
Top 5 Best Gopher Baits
Short on time or just want a quick answer?
Check out our below list for a summary of our results. Keep on reading to learn more about baits and gophers!
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What are gopher baits?
Simply put, gopher baits are poisons camouflaged as food. They smell like food. They taste like food. So the gopher thinks they are food, and eats them. Then the poison hidden inside kills them.
Some gopher baits come in a granular form while others are shaped like block or bricks. The physical form is more or less irrelevant to the gophers. As long as they think it's food, they'll eat it.
What do gophers eat?
Gophers are herbivores.
They mainly eat roots of various kinds. They eat the roots of trees, grass, alfalfa, dandelions, tubers, and bulbs.
They can also eat leaves and some insects. If you see a dead patch of grass in the middle of the yard, there may be a gopher eating the roots of it.
This means your flower beds and garden are the areas they're looking for. Grassroots are fine, but like any animal, they want the easiest food first.
Many times the first evidence you'll have is when your flower beds are torn up or the plants in it start dying for no reason. The same thing can happen in your garden.
Look for some gopher mounds in the area and you'll find the culprit.
Read Also: What's the top trap for gopher removal?
How does gopher bait work?
As we mentioned earlier gopher baits combine an attractant (i.e., something that smells or tastes like food) with a poison. Ground up corn or beans can be used as the attractant.
There are three main active ingredients used in gopher bait that you should be aware of.
Let's look at each one.
Strychine in baits
First is strychnine, a neurotoxin that used to be widespread but is being phased out. When ingested or inhaled, it causes muscular convulsions and eventually death through asphyxiation.
The animal can't breathe and suffocates. None of the gopher baits on our list use it.
Zinc phosphide in baits
Next is zinc phosphide. It reacts with water and acid in the stomach to produce phosphine gas.
The signs of phosphine poisoning can include vomiting, deep or wheezy breathing, weakness, loss of coordination, and convulsions. The animal dies soon after.
Diphacinone in baits
Finally, there is the newest one, diphacinone.
This is a first generation anticoagulant that inhibits the enzymes involved in blood clotting, which then causes internal hemorrhaging leading to death.
Animals given lethal doses exhibited labored breathing, muscular weakness, excitability, fluid in the lungs, and irregular heartbeats.
They also exhibit blood loss around the eyes, mouth, and nose.
Take a look at the below video to get a sense of how to apply gopher baits successfully.
How do you choose the best gopher bait?
Make sure it contains a good attractant.If the gopher isn't attracted to the bait or lured by the smell or taste, he won't eat it. It has to smell like food.
Only use baits that have a history of success. Just because there's a new bait on the market doesn't mean it's the best, or that it even works.
Why should you be the beta-tester for the manufacturer? Let someone else have that role. Stick to the baits with a proven track record.
Another determinant is how much of a bait is required to kill the gopher. Once the animal is attracted to the bait, it should only take a few bites for him to ingest a fatal dose.
If it takes more than that, it tells you the active ingredient has been diluted too much. The animal will get sick without dying, then develop a bait aversion to that active ingredient anytime it encounters it in the future.
Finally, how long does it take the gopher to die once it's ingested a lethal dose?
Ideally, it shouldn't take more than a day or so. If it takes much more than a day for the animal to die, you're looking at another bad formulation.
Read More: Can you use repellent to keep gophers away?
Is gopher bait safe for pets and children?
Gopher bait is poisonous.
It's never safe around pets and children.
If one of your pets or children eats some gopher back get them to a hospital immediately. Depending on the type of active ingredient, the packing may tell you to induce vomiting but don't wait.
Get them to the hospital!
- To avoid a panic-inducing trip to the ER, store gopher bait where pets and children can't get to it, preferably in a locking drawer or cabinet high off the ground.
- Keep them away from the area being treated.
- Fence the area off if possible.
- Otherwise, keep your pets on a leash away from the treated area and make sure your children avoid it too.
What are the advantages of gopher bait?
Gopher traps kill gophers. If you're using traps you'll have to handle their dead bodies when you remove them from the traps.
Since these are wild animals we're talking about, they could be carrying lice, fleas, or mites. They could be covered in excrement. Depending on how the trap killed them, they could be very bloody.
Bait keeps you away from all that.
The traps themselves will almost always have hair, skin, fecal, matter, or bodily fluid on them after catching and killing a gopher. You'll have to clean the trap after each use, requiring you to handle all those things on the trap.
Bait protects you from that as well.
Finally, any unused poison will remain in the tunnels beneath your yard, acting as a long-term deterrent to any future invaders.
If a foraging gopher comes your way he'll want to re-use the existing tunnels, where he'll encounter any leftover bait. He's foraging because he's hungry so he'll eat it and die, perhaps before you even know a new gopher is in the area.
Where in your yard should you apply gopher bait?
You need to bait inside the gopher's tunnel about 18-24 inches from the main opening in the mound. In order to bait you need to know which direction the tunnel is going.
Probe inside the mound opening to figure out which way the gopher dug.
An easy place to start is by looking at the mound itself. It's generally a rough horseshoe shape.
As the gopher digs into the ground he pushed the dirt up behind him, creating the semi-circle shape. The “open” end of the shape is almost always the direction the tunnel is headed.
How do you apply a granular bait?
You'll need a long stick of some kind to poke a hole down into the tunnel (a piece of rebar works great). Pour the granules down the hole into the tunnel, then cover the hole back up.
Also, cover the opening to the tunnel itself. This will prompt Mister Gopher to come to investigate and try to re-open it. In the process, he'll discover the bait.
Again, cover the hole you just made as well as the main opening to the tunnel.
How do you apply a block bait?
The first, and easiest way, to bait the mound is to shove a piece of bait as far into the mound as you can. Use a stick, or piece of rebar, to shove it back in there. Then cover the opening in the mound.
The second way will require a shovel. Blocks are usually too big to shove down a hole in the ground so you'll need to dig down to the gopher's tunnel to put the bait block in it.
Once again, cover up the hole you just made as well as the main opening in the mound.
Should you treat every mound?
Gophers are solitary creatures except during mating season, but here can be as many as 60 of them in a single acre of land.
You need to bait every mound, whether it looks old or new. It's the only way to be sure.
Gopher Baits Reviewed
Below are the 5 baits we reviewed in our assessment. Take a look below for a write-up on each!
As mentioned earlier, this is a first generation anticoagulant bait.
It contains the active ingredient diphacinone at 0.005%.
It's built to withstand moisture and can be left for weeks unattended. We REALLY like this bait as it can be used over and over again with little change in method.
Definitely our #1 pick and worth a try for your gopher problem.
This is another bait that uses diphacinone as the active ingredient. This one is formulated as pellets (not blocks).
You'll need to make a hole in the ground to pour the pellets into, or use an applicator. The gophers seem to like it reasonably well and once they eat it they're a goner.
This comes in a big bucket but you only need a few ounces for each hole. This will cover a very wide area. Bait each hole, wait a few days then bait them again.
After that, you should be home free.
This is the first zinc phosphide bait on our list.
As long as you carefully follow the directions on the label you'll have good results, but the attractant seems a bit weak. If you're off target even a little, the gophers simply ignore it and keep right on going.
We also wish it came in a larger container. One pound of pellets isn't really enough to cover very many mounds.
Baiting always takes time and, in many cases, multiple baiting attempts. There just isn't enough here.
MOLETOX, Gopher Killer
- Choke-type trap
- Needs to be secured "anchored" to the ground
- Requires you to kill the gopher after catch
This pelleted bait uses zinc phosphide as the active ingredient also.
The package claims it only takes a teaspoon per mound to kill the gophers, which is good, and the results seem to bear that out. The cracked corn attractant is also good too.
Unfortunately, this bait suffers from coming in too small a package.
One pound simply isn't enough to adequately treat a yard, or field, full of gophers.
You'll run out very quickly then need to get more.
The last bait on our list is another zinc phosphide one.
It comes in four cone-shaped packages which make it very easy to pour down a hole.
The ease of use is a big plus on this bait. If you've got a small yard or area of infestation, 24-ounces might be enough to treat it adequately, but we'd really prefer more.
It has a good attractant the gophers seem to like.
Once you get it in place, they eat it and die.
Our Top Pick: JT Eaton's Gopher Bait
There are a lot of gopher baits on the market today. They only use one of two different active ingredients, so once the gopher eats any one of them, he's outta here!
Still, our overall pick has to be JT Eaton's Gopher Bait.
It did everything a bait needs to do plus it comes in a longer lasting block than the rest of them. A bucket of this bait will handle a whole field of gophers. They like it, they eat it, and they die.
Kaput Pocket Gopher Bait is our 2nd choice. Both top picks use diphacinone as the active ingredient but that wasn't a prerequisite for either position. We chose them because they work.
Other Gopher Product Reviews
Curious about other gopher related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.