Richardson's Ground Squirrel control: timing is key

Richardson’s Ground Squirrels are commonly referred to as “gophers.” They typically live communally in large, highly-visible groups. They are very active above ground and are often seen sitting upright on mounds at their open burrow entrances or bounding across fields and roads. These rodents are a pest to agricultural producers and cause significant crop losses. Early season control efforts are key to reducing season-long problems. Shooting, trapping, and/or baiting are the most common approaches to control.

Male ground squirrels emerge from burrows first, with females emerging about two weeks later. Baiting is most effective two weeks after females emerge from burrows in the spring and breeding is completed. Typically, this is late March to the end of April depending upon the year’s spring weather. If successful control work takes place early in the season, the colony will not be able to establish the next generation and crop damage is unlikely to occur. Baiting later in the season becomes increasingly ineffective as ground squirrels will show a strong preference for green forages such as young pasture grasses and crop seedlings and ignore baits.

Agricultural producers who wish to purchase 2% liquid strychnine concentrate for the control of Richardson’s Ground Squirrels may call Agricultural Services to confirm eligibility and to schedule an appointment for the mandatory product handling information session. All users of this product are subject to inspection by federal, provincial and municipal inspectors.

For more information, contact:

Leduc County Agricultural Services: 780-955-4593 | 1-800-379-9052