Pocket Gopher Control

A three year study evaluated the effectiveness of four types of traps in Manitoba; the impalement type – Macabee®, the snare type – Wooden Box , another snare, the Black Hole®, and an impalement trap, the Easy Set®.

Burrowing is one of the most significant behaviors of the pocket gopher. They construct a complex burrow system and uses the tunnels to locate and gain access to food items, as well as to secure shelter, to disperse and to obtain mates. It is the construction of the burrow system and the resulting surface mounds that have (in part) made pocket gophers a pest in forage fields in Manitoba.

Manitoba Agriculture estimates that pocket gophers are responsible for losses to producers of $15-22 million dollars per year. The estimated losses are a combination of reduced alfalfa yields, reduced bale quality and damage to machinery (specifically swathing knives). Reduced yields are due to smothering and grazing of both the tap root and above ground parts by the gophers. A common response to heavy infestations is the premature break up of a stand. This represents large economic losses to the producer. A past study sponsored by the Manitoba Forage Council showed over a period of five years that the cost of re-establishing a stand every three years would cost $527.18/ha. This was compared to the cost of no control ($361.65/ha) and the cost of applying a rodenticide annually ($229.72/ha – $29.64/ha).

Project Contact(s): MFC
Ph: (204) 482-6315
E-mail: Manitoba Forage Council
Start Date: 1998
Completion Date: 2002
Project Results:
A three year evaluation of the efficiencies of four types of traps in Manitoba showed an overall efficacy of 44.25%, and a catch effort of 35 minutes per gopher trapped. The most efficient trap was an impalement trap, the Macabee®, at 51.5%. This was followed by the snare type, the Wooden Box, 46.8%, another snare, the Black Hole®, 42.8%, and lastly an impalement trap, the Easy Set®, 42.8%.
2002 Pocket Gopher Control Project