How to translate text using browser tools
3 August 2016 Burrow fumigation versus trapping for pocket gopher (Thomomys spp.) management: a comparison of efficacy and cost effectiveness
Roger A. Baldwin, Ryan Meinerz, Steve B. Orloff
Author Affiliations +

Context. Pocket gophers (Geomyidae) cause extensive damage to many crops throughout western North America. A variety of methods are available to manage these populations, but data are often lacking on their efficacy and especially their cost effectiveness. Additionally, little peer-reviewed data are available that compare multiple methods simultaneously.

Aims. We tested aluminum phosphide and pressurised exhaust using the Pressurised Exhaust Rodent Controller (PERC) as burrow fumigants, and compared them to trapping to determine which approach was most efficacious and cost effective.

Methods. We assessed the efficacy of aluminum phosphide, the PERC machine, and trapping through the use of the open-hole monitoring method after single and multiple treatments over multiple years. We determined material and labour costs for each treatment type and amortised this cost over 1250 days of application to determine which treatment type was most cost effective.

Key results. Aluminum phosphide had the shortest time for application, but we were able to make far more applications per day using the PERC machine, given our ability to treat multiple burrow systems at once with this machine. Trapping and aluminum phosphide were more efficacious than was the PERC machine. When costs were amortised over time, trapping was the most cost-effective approach even with longer application times, given high efficacy. Multiple treatment applications were needed to maximise the efficacy of management programs.

Conclusions. For small-scale management efforts, aluminum phosphide was a cost-effective and efficacious option. For a greater number of treatments, trapping was the most successful and cost effective. However, a modest increase in efficacy could make the PERC machine a preferred tool as well. We also stress that regardless of the management approach, multiple treatment applications will generally be needed to manage pocket gopher populations.

Implications. The present study provides growers with information needed to determine efficient and cost-effective methods for managing pocket gophers. This information can be used to craft an integrated pest-management approach to manage damaging pocket gopher populations.

© The authors 2016
Roger A. Baldwin, Ryan Meinerz, and Steve B. Orloff "Burrow fumigation versus trapping for pocket gopher (Thomomys spp.) management: a comparison of efficacy and cost effectiveness," Wildlife Research 43(5), 389-397, (3 August 2016).
Received: 25 February 2016; Accepted: 1 June 2016; Published: 3 August 2016
aluminum phosphide
carbon monoxide
pressurised exhaust
Get copyright permission
Back to Top