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Got Gophers?

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The heavy rain is over, and spring flowers aren’t the only things popping out of the ground.

Gophers are making their presence known in yards  across the city, and the destruction is evident in mounds of dirt piled in lawns and gardens.

According to  Rilo Phillipi, a licensed pest control agent, gophers retreat during cold  weather and rain. “They will hunker down in a burrow, which is full of roots and safe from water so they won’t get flooded out. Gophers have high hemoglobin and use oxygen well, but like the famous incident of the boys trapped in the cave in Thailand, they become less active as oxygen is depleted.”

As the ground dries out they open up their tunnel systems and become more active.

Phillipi says that most home remedies don’t work to kill gophers. Smoke bombs you get on the internet don’t kill. “Smoking them out doesn’t work. The companies that use smoke  use little motors with 25,000 parts per million of carbon monoxide. It’s not enough – you need a million parts per million, so tunnels are actually being inundated with non-lethal gas. It stinks and is hot but it doesn’t kill them on contact. They just block the tunnels and retreat to another area.”

That’s why even after smoke treatment you will continue to see mounds pop up all over different parts of your lawn, destroying it and frustrating the homeowners.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation is strenuous on enforcing the use of pesticide and poison,  illegal to use in urban areas, though agricultural zones can use it.

The poison used to kill gophers is aluminum phosphate. It makes a gas gophers suck in and die. However, it’s so lethal it has killed people, and now in urban areas almost all poison users have to be registered.

Phllipi says the best way to get rid of your gopher problem is trapping. “Lethal traps kill,” he says. 

The hardest part is finding the tunnels. “The holes you see don’t necessarily indicate an  active gopher,” he explained. They also may not lead to their tunnels.  The mounds are more indicative.  If you have fresh mounds every two days, you’ll know you have a problem.

Phillipi uses a special probe to find the tunnels – which is the only way to find the offending gopher. He then drops a trap into the tunnel and marks it with a flag.

“Our success rate is 100%,” he said, citing 30,000 gopher jobs over 10 years. A yard will be cleaned in a week or two.

Phillipi guarantees his work for three months, and will return weekly to check the traps and remove any dead animals. 

For those homeowners who wake up to mounds of dirt on their lawn he says, “Gophers work in the dark so they’re always in migration. So you may not see a ‘phantom gopher’ but you’ll see his destructive efforts.” 

Rilo Phillipi Pest Control can be reached at (626) 628-4123 or  


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Valley News Group
Congressman Brad Sherman will hold a Telephone Town Hall on Thursday, April 11, from 7 to 8 pm. The Congressman will make opening remarks and then answer questions on any issues facing Congress. For details, visit #townhall ... See MoreSee Less
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