Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Trapping Gophers Safely with Black Box Gopher Traps

by Barbara 16. January 2010 15:53

Question about the Victor Black Box Gopher Traps.

Q: " I live in Florida and the gophers are destroying my flowers and shrubs. The trees, I'm sure, are next to go. How do I stop this destruction safely and quickly?And how do I keep them from coming back?

Answer: Getting rid of well-established gophers can take time. That's why eradication needs to begin when the first tunnels are seen. Our customers typically use both the Black Box Gopher Traps which are inserted directly into the tunnels to trap and kill the gophers and the P3 International supersonic mole and gophers stakes inserted directly into the ground (not tunnels) to repel gophers from digging new tunnels. Once gophers are established, the maze of underground tunnels can be so extensive that getting rid of them can take months and months. Momma gophers, like all moms, are unlikely to leave their young: spring and fall are the best trapping times in northern climates.

The Victor Black Box Gopher Traps are best used in pairs. Each trap resembles a small tunnel blocked at the end except for an air hole. The springs are on top of each unit and are set with your thumbs to avoid catching hands in the spring. This is a closed loop snare trap.

    Black Box Gopher Trap Specifications:
  • Outside dimensions: 5.5 inches long by 3.5 inches wide
  • Interior dimensions: 5 5/8 inches long by 2.75 inches wide
  • Choker Loop: approximately 2 inches wide by 1 1/4 inches high,
  • Spring assembly (on top on the box), approximately 3 inches from curl of spring to catch and 3 inches between the two spring units.
  • Vent hole in rear of trap: approximately 3/4 inch in diameter.

Gopher trapping can be done at any time of year, but generally is easiest and most effective during Spring & Fall. Once gopher activity is detected it is important to move quickly as pregnant females can be caught before giving birth to her family. Traps are most effective when properly placed in the gopher tunnel to snare the unsuspecting gopher in the spring-triggered loop. The hole should be covered up with dirt so that it appears as if the trap is part of the runway. When used correctly, traps produce a catch within 48 hours. It is best to move the trap to another location in the runway if you do not catch a gopher in this time frame.

To install, choose a fresh tunnel, peel back the grass (if in your lawn), remove any soil on top of the tunnel, set two traps (easy instructions are on the boxes) and insert back to back so there are two open ends for gophers to explore. The traps sit on the floor of the tunnel. Repack dirt on top and wait. Check daily. I suggest you wear garden gloves and use a large plastic bag to extract the gopher. Use a garden hose to wash trap off after you empty out the gopher/s. If 3 consecutive days pass and you've caught no gophers, move the traps to another tunnel. If the gopher/s fill the traps with dirt, push a carrot through the holes at the back of the traps, reset and replace the traps.

These trapping tips are from our website where we also have the complete instruction manual: If gopher/s pack trap with dirt. Place carrots in vent holes and reset traps Trap evening and early morning for best results. Wash traps with water after use. After trap has "fired", remove dead gopher from trap and reset in same hole until you've had three consecutive days of no catches.  

Thank you for your question.

Good luck.

Sincerely, Barbara


Getting Rid of Yard Moles, Gophers and Voles Without Poison, Traps or Noise

by Barbara 12. June 2009 11:15

Question about how to get rid of yard moles without poison or noise.

Q: "Once more the moles have invaded my yard and garden beds. The burrows are going everywhere. What suggestions do you have to get rid of them without using traps, poison peanuts or noise?" Thanks. Jack.

Answer: Getting rid of yard moles, voles and gophers is faster if you use several methods simultaneously. Gophers are the most difficult to evict if they've established extensive underground tunnels over some years. Moles eat worms and grubs while they tunnel at grass level. Gophers eat the roots of your plants and shrubs. Voles eat vegetation and snails, etc. All burrow.

Treatment options include liquid sprayed castor oil, known as Scoot Mole, granular repellents like Mole Scram and inserting Vibrasonic vibrating metal mole chaser stakes, Supersonic Metal Mole Chaser Stake with Battery Saver Mode or the Original P3 green PVC mole chaser stakes into solid ground, not the tunnels or burrows themselves. (The noisy Weitech tunnel units are no longer available.) There are also Sol-Mate solar powered mole stakes and Smart Solar Mole Gopher Stakes for flower beds in sunny climates since you cannot mow over them. The Smart Solar product has an advantage in that the unit comes in two pieces. Rather than digging out a hole or trying to force this into the ground, the installer waters the area to soften the soil and then takes a wooden block, covers the pointed metal part and uses a mallet to push the bottom into the ground. Connect the two parts and the unit is ready to go.

P3 International mole chaser stakes operate on alkaline batteries (4 D cells), are waterproof (screw on top), are almost silent except for the hum when they cycle on and can be buried deep enough that you can safely mow over them. (To replace batteries, you unscrew the watertight top, remove the battery sleeve and replace the batteries. Batteries last 4 to 6 months on average.) Initially the pests can mistake the currents of vibration/sound as food source so there may be more activity at first..

Using a grub killer on your lawn as a preventative helps get rid of the moles and also save your lawn from destruction if you are not opposed to chemicals on your yard.

Using both the liquid or granular and the stakes at the same time has the best results. Moles eat their body weight every three days or they dehydrate and die. After a few unpleasant meals plus being irritated by the vibrations or ultrasound, the mole pests begin looking for a fresh food supply. In 1 to 2 weeks, they typically are gone.

Scoot Mole comes in a liquid with or without a sprayer. Refills are available. The downside to this liquid is that you need to have a very long water hose or a several long water hoses connected together to be able to reach all of the area to be treated if it is large. Dragging hose around and spraying is not easy if you have a large area. "BANDING" is recommended i.e. treat a small strip (10-20 feet wide) around the perimeter of a mole-free area.

Mole Scram is a granular formula containing Castor Oil: 15% , Citronella Oil: 0.4997%, Garlic Oil: 0.0003% and Peanut Hulls 84.9%. Depending upon your yard size, you can either sprinkle or put into a rotary lawn spreader. The plan here is to first spread the granules on the area closest to your home. For example, treat the half of the yard closest to your house or garden. Water in for 20 minutes or apply before a storm. (Hopefully you have an irrigation system,lawn sprinklers or have occasional heavy downpours). The next day do the second half and again water in thoroughly. This treatment typically lasts 3 months. The manufacturer states, "Mole Scram has higher concentrations of castor oil that its competition. Plus MoleScram adds garlic oil and citronella oil to the mix. Moles cannot tolerate the garlic odor. The citronella oil helps get rid of bugs, an alternative food moles love. The carrier is ground peanut hulls which releases the oils faster than similar granular mole repellers on the market."

Simultaneous to these topical treatments, insert mole chaser stakes in your yard, once more inserting first those closest to your home or the area you wish to protect. Remember that in heavy clay soils, vibrations are intense in a small area. In sandy soils, the vibrations are less intense. Insert mole chasers accordingly. In a laboratory test, moles typically were gone within 1 to 2 weeks.

My personal experience with the P3 units is 100% positive. We've used the same units for the past 5 years, just replacing batteries. One warm January, the moles tunneled from the woods to the front yard: the batteries were dead and who would expect warm weather in January!

I hope I've given you enough information to decide how to fight your battle.

Thanks. Barbara