Monday, January 23, 2012

Gophers and Foundations

If anyone tells you that gophers cannot get under a home, pool or other structure, they are incorrect.

Yesterday was just another example of how destructive gophers can be on homes.

The gophers have been digging throughout this property for many years, making themselves at home, damaging the walls and foundation of this home.

As you can see, the gophers also take advantage of the curbing in the lawn.  These become "highways" for the gophers.  Anything that is on top of the ground, serves as a ceiling for their tunnels.  Once the gophers are able to locate these tunnels, the gophers will quickly find the water, and plumbing lines, then enter into the home, and den under the bathtubs, or inside the walls.

Since most builders never place concrete under the tubs, the gophers easily den there, and after many years, the backfill from the tunnels will cause the walls to swell, and the high urine content in the soil with stain the walls and create a stung odor in the room.

In this case, the gophers were tunneling in so many locations throughout this property, that they entered into the basement. This photo to the right is not a ramp.  There are stairs underneath all that dirt!  The gophers have filled this area up more than once, from what the owner stated, and from what we observed, we believe it!

In this photo, you can clearly see the gap between the concrete and the wall.  This happens often in construction, additions, damages, settling, etc.  The gophers take advantage of those small cracks and chip away at the voids, creating large passages.
Once the gophers are able to get into the walls, the gophers will begin to start to have their babies, and if not removed, then generations will be created.

One thing many are not aware of is that the gestation period of a gopher is only 13 days.  From birth to maturity - 17 days!  Female to males 9:1 ratio!  If one pregnant female enters your property and you do nothing, are you aware that you can have 216 in only 2 months?  This is called Geometric Progression!

For generations, we have been trapping, killing and successfully keeping noes gophers from entering properties. Trapping IS the ONLY real method to eliminating gophers from any property.

If you've used water, gas, flammables, sound, gum, poisons, baits, toxins, you name it; the most you are doing is moving them from one location to another.  When what-ever-it-is you put into the ground dissipates, the gopher will return and bring all of her brood with her.  This is why we stress that you MUST kill ALL pregnant females first, then dormant, then the males, to wipe out the entire generation.  We go one step further by making sure the gophers don't return, which is one of our trade secrets.

Well, I've got to head out and kill the gophers!  Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Yep - The Book IS Nearly Done!

The original book that was started many years ago, is nearing completion and will be ready for purchase globally.  I'm very excited to see this FINALLY get to the finish line!

This will only be one of many publications, so hang in there and as soon as they are printed, I'll make the announcement and post the link to the purchase page.

All of the publications will feature photos and details that will help anyone become well educated in pocket gophers.

If you want to get on the waiting list, be sure to let me know.

Sink Holes and Pocket Gophers - Say It Isn't So!

Over these many years, I have seen some major sink holes, some that are small, others that can swallow cars.

Sink holes are caused by water traveling underground and hollowing out pockets, which, as the water either flows more forcefully, or dries up, the surface shifts and caves in.

If you're driving down a road and you don't know the sink hole is there, you're vehicle can drop in and can be seriously damaged.  I've seen some shallow sink holes, others I've seen have been 2, 5, 8 and even deeper than 10' deep.  The more water that flows through, the deeper the damage.  This happens often when flood irrigation is used, and near rivers, canals, earthen dams and lakes.  The best thing to do is avoid using water for controlling gophers.  It doesn't work, and the damages will always be significant.

 In this yard, a homeowner refused to stop using his garden hose on his gophers.  Even after we started trapping on the property, he continued shoving his garden hose into the tunnels in the front portion of his property, and this is the result, near the back of the 5 acre lot, near a creek.  This sink hole was close to 6' in depth and large enough to swallow one of his young kids that played in the back yard.

These sink holes are extremely dangerous, since they are unstable soils that will shift and cave in.  If a small child or pet were to fall into one, the soil can bury them instantly.

This is a dangerous and very expensive method that will never work for eliminating your gophers.

Gophers are one of the most destructive species on the planet and are responsible for the loss of crops, fields, and the irrigation water that is needed to sustain those crops.

As you can see in this photo, the water was washed out from the field and even before the water and mud has dried, the gophers are already busy tunneling and cleaning out their tunnels.

Gophers do swim, their coats keep them buoyant and they design their dens so water cannot enter them.

What's This Pile Of Dirt??

Many times, we are asked, "Is this from gophers, or are our neighbors dumping this in our yard?"

This IS a gopher mound, and from the size of this one, a mature gopher, around 6 months old.

One gopher is capable of moving 300 tons of dirt to the surface in a year.  When this amount of earth is moved, and by more than one gopher, your property can sustain many foundation problems.  Without the dirt underneath a home, the concrete will start to crack and shift.  Many believe that this is normal "settling" which is not true.  There is a big difference between "settling" and gopher damages.  Gophers also create large dens along the walls and underneath swimming pools, patios, carports and other structures.  Unfortunately, when the soil is removed, it weakens the structure.

When a pool is involved, a gopher can cause extensive damages in only days.  The pressure from the water, can easily blow out the wall of a swimming pool, or crack the walls and cool decking, especially around fixtures.  Additionally, the gophers will always utilize the pipes and waterlines from the pool equipment to the pool and jacuzzi. If you see gopher mounding around any pipes and utility lines, expect much damage, and usually, multiple generations of gophers.

Many are not aware that gophers are able to enter homes.  Gophers will travel along sewer and water lines to enter into a home.  Many contractors do not pour concrete where the bath tubs will be installed, since the tub hasn't been purchased yet.  By leaving this open, the gophers follow the line into the home, and will give birth to many generations of gophers.  Most home owners will not be aware of this damage, until they notice drainage problems, a strong urine odor, the walls are swelling, and dirt and fine sand along baseboards and around pipes.  What is required by that time is that the fixtures are pulled out, all gophers are removed and the space filled with concrete.  This is a major job, and my trappers and I over the years have done this on many occasions.  There are many hazards to doing this; severe bites and attacks, respiratory illnesses and we can pick up a host of parasites and microbial illnesses.

Many think that gophers tunnel a small distance, like mice or ground squirrels, which is far from the truth.  Gophers tunnel underneath roads, highways, canals, ditches, homes and basements.  Many of the road and highway damages that you see are caused directly from gophers tunneling, and also the water that follows the tunnels, then erodes away the soil.  Over time, the roads crack, sections will crumble and what do road crews do? They spend your tax dollars by slapping down some hot tar to seal those cracks and breaks, but they do nothing to stop the damages from occurring in the first place.  When there are gophers, they must be trapped and killed, in order to stop the damages from reoccurring.

There have been many instances where irrigation, natural flooding and even a neighbor forcing water into gopher tunnels has caused massive failure of surfaces, roads, foundations and to pools.  Never use water as a means to controlling your gophers.  Remember, you are liable for any damages you can cause to your home, neighbors, and community.

Bringing Back The Blog - Down The Gopher Hole

Since 1966, I have been trapping gophers, and professionally for decades.  I'm the leading expert on pocket gophers in my field and have written many articles regarding pocket gophers, trapping and advocating against the pest control industry, and the products they use throughout my career.

In the past, I have fought against toxic chemicals, poisons, baits and fumes, to keep humans, pets and wildlife safe, the battle is far from over.  While chemical companies continue to lobby for lax regulations, and the pest control industry continues to utilize products that will not work for pocket gophers, I realized that I needed to continue this fight.  There are too many unethical businesses that are selling products that they know will never work for gophers, and they must be stopped.

Additionally, with all of the crazy things we experience with gophers, I decided it was time to bring back the blog site.  This time, there will be photos, stories and situations that we run into, that hopefully will help you with your gopher situation.

I'll try and keep the site updated, and occasionally, I'll have guest gopher experts comment here as well.

Some of you may not know this but the gestation period for a gopher is only 13 days.  From birth to maturity, 17 days!  The typical litter size ranges from 6-8, and a 9:1 ratio of females to males.  If one pregnant female enters your yard, and makes her den under your pool or home, then you do nothing, this one female (taking the low number) can become 216 in only 2 months!

I hope you share our blog with your family and friends, and remember, as soon as you see the first signs of a gopher, IMMEDIATELY call a professional gopher trapper - so the gophers are dead and not capable of returning.