Richardson's Ground Squirrel
Richardson's Ground Squirrels (commonly referred to as gophers), can create serious problems in our rural areas.
High populations of these pests compete with livestock for forage, destroy food crops and damage golf courses or lawns.
Their burrows can weaken ditch banks, making them unsafe for farm machinery. The mounds of soil from their burrows cover and kill vegetation, and can damage haying machinery. Some ground squirrels prey on the eggs and young of ground-nesting birds. There are several rodenticides registered for the control of gophers. When using any rodenticide, make sure to read and follow instructions on the label closely.
Here are some tips to improve the effectiveness of one of the most commonly used products, Liquid Rozol rodenticide.
When to use
The best time to use this rodenticide is in late March after the female gophers have come out of hibernation, usually two weeks after the males. The first gophers above ground in the spring are the males and they are interested in establishing a breeding territory rather than eating. Before placing a toxic bait, prebaiting with untreated grain allows the animals to become accustomed to a new food item.
Grain used for bait should be hull-less. If the grain has a hull, the gopher will eat the seed and leave the hull, which has the Rozol on it. Whole oat groats work better than wheat, and this is available at most feed mills. A 250-millilitre bottle of Rozol is mixed with 3.2 kilograms of groats. This works out to a little more than an ice cream pail full of grain. Add a 250-millilitre bottle of artificial vanilla extract. This mixture will be quite wet and should be allowed to sit overnight so the groats can absorb all the liquid.
One tablespoon of bait should be placed in every gopher hole. The bait needs to go down the gopher hole in a pile on the side of the tunnel. The bait needs to be deep enough to prevent birds and other animals from eating it. If the bait is placed very deep in the hole or in the centre, the gophers tend to walk over it or kick it out of the hole. After the initial treatment, bait should be refreshed in each hole where the bait has been eaten for four days.
Does it work?
Gophers do not show any signs of adverse effects from the Rozol until three days after the placement of bait. They will appear normal until the point where they expire. Any carcasses found above ground should be disposed of by burial.
Is it safe?
Liquid Rozol contains Chlorophacinone, an anticoagulant toxicant, this prevents rodent blood from clotting. Gophers need to eat the bait over a few days to die. Due to the small size of a gopher and the effectiveness of this rodenticide, they only eat a small quantity of bait. Rodents are more susceptible to anticoagulant toxicants than other species. If the product is mixed at the rate on the label, a 10-kilogram dog would need to eat 10 kilograms of bait before it would be seriously affected. All precautions should be taken to prevent pets from eating mixed bait.
If you would like more information on gophers or other any other pest, call 780-417-7100.
Last updated: Friday, May 10, 2013
Page ID: 3484