Does Bubble Gum Kill Gophers? Gopher Pest Control Facts

Does Bubble Gum Kill Gophers?

When dealing with gophers using chewing gum might is one of those ideas you run across as a potentially good idea – but is it really going to work? Some people swear by this method even though there are no official scientific studies about the effectiveness of gum for killing gophers.

Also, Bubble gum obviously isn’t poisonous, so how would it work?

People say that when gophers eat the gum it gets stuck in their digestive tract, causing blockage and eventually death. While it’s not very humane, it’s supposed to be one of the cheapest ways to rid your lawn of rodents.

However, as it turns out, the short answer is that using bubble gum to kill gophers appears to be ineffective. According to information from the University of California (Davis, CA):

Some have reported that the use of chewing gum or laxatives will kill gophers, but Rex Marsh, vertebrate pest control specialist at UC Davis, fed these treats to gophers in captivity and found that most simply developed a sweet tooth.

These remedies come from people treating gophers with “something” and later not seeing any digging activity.

Paul Vossen, University of California Cooperative Extension

In other words, don’t depend on bubble gum to kill gophers. You’ll need to use another solution to be sure.

What Attracts Gophers to Your Yard?

Gophers may be attracted to your yard for a few reasons.

  • Food: Gophers are vegetarians, meaning they love munching on the grass, clover, roots, and seeds in your yard.
  • Soil: Gophers love digging around. If your yard has loose or sandy soil, these rodents could congregate because this texture is much easier to move around in.
  • Shelter: Gophers might also be attracted to your yard to protect themselves from other animals.

Which Poisons Are Good for Killing Gophers?

Some people resort to poisoning gophers it the problem becomes out of hand. Here are some commonly used gopher poison baits.

The first two, strychnine and diphacinone, are the main ones relied upon in many cases.

Strychnine: This is the most popular and effective gopher poison. Although strychnine is a common choice, it does a lot of damage to the ecosystem. This poison kills gophers and anything that eats the poisoned gopher.

Since gophers are largely territorial creatures they investigate the new burrows made to place the bait in the ground and then feed on it. In areas with a large number of gophers, it’s possible to kill a fair amount of them within 24 hours.

Diphacinone (or Chlorophacinone): Also used for controlling rats and other pests, this poison is an anticoagulant or blood thinning poison and needs to be consumed by them over a period of about 5 to 10 days to work. The bait is in many cases made up of wax and grain that form a block of bait.

The main advantage of this type of bait is that it can potentially kill more than one gopher since the next one may eat some of the placed bait as well. Research has shown that after 3 to 9 months it can reduce the gopher infestation by as much as 70 to 80% (as opposed to strychnine which is around 50%).

It also preserves the ecosystem better than the other two listed here.

Zinc phosphide: This is not as popular as strychnine. It’s less effective at killing gophers with the same dangerous consequences to the surrounding ecosystem.

How Do You Permanently Get Rid of Gophers?

Aside from chewing gum and poison, several other methods could help get rid of gophers.

Barriers: Barriers are an excellent option for getting rid of gophers because they restrict tunneling behavior. People use mesh barriers, upper-lawn barriers, and gopher baskets to capture the rodents.

Noise: Gophers are not fans of noisy environments. Setting up items around your yard that create noise may bother them enough that they leave on their own.

Gopher Traps: To create a gopher trap, cover all tunnel openings except one. Insert the trap into the hole, covering the trap so no light enters the tunnel.

Smells: Gophers have sensitive noses, meaning they react easily to scents. Adding a bad smell to the gopher tunnel helps prompt them to leave your yard.

What Smells Do Gophers Hate?

Here are some strong smells gophers hate if you are using smell to get rid of them.

Fish: Add leftover fish near or inside the gopher tunnels. Be careful using fish as this might also attract other predators into your yard.

Castor Oil: Dilute some castor oil in water and spray the mixture on all gopher tunnel exit and entry points.

Coffee grounds: Take the extra coffee grounds from your morning brew and dump them into gopher tunnels. You can also mix coffee grounds into your soil before planting and landscaping as a preventative measure.

Tabasco sauce and peppermint: Mix tabasco and peppermint oil into the water. Add castor oil for extra potency. Dip cotton balls or paper towel pieces into the liquid and place them in the gopher tunnels.

Dryer sheets: The strong scent from dryer sheets chases gophers away.