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What Is the Best Gopher Poison to Use at Home?

Gophers are digging rodents that can cause widespread destruction in your backyard. Poison is typically considered the quickest and most effective way to rid yourself of a gopher infestation, but which product best fits your needs?

Gophers are digging rodents that can cause widespread destruction in your backyard. Poison is typically considered the quickest and most effective way to rid yourself of a gopher infestation, but which product best fits your needs?

Martin’s Gopher Bait

Martin’s Gopher Bait

This bait is a perfect solution for landowners with a big gopher problem. The poison will kill gophers within days.

The Giant Destroyer (Gas Killer)

The Giant Destroyer

Quick and easy control of tunneling backyard pests such as gophers, ground squirrels, woodchucks, and Norway rats.

JT Eaton Bait Block Rodenticide

JT Eaton Bait Blocks

A wide-spectrum poison that can be used to control rodents. It comes in the form of blocks, minimizing the risk of spills.


Martin’s Gopher Bait


What we like :

What we don't like :

  • Martin’s Gopher Bait is intended for use on rangeland, pastureland, croplands, and fields, and is not suitable for home application
  • Strychnine is a potent poison and is not safe for use around animals, domestic animals, or pets
  • Strychnine is not specific to gophers and can kill non-target species

Martin’s Gopher Bait Review

Martin’s Gopher Bait is a grain bait formulated with 0.5% strychnine, which is the most effective bait for controlling pocket gophers. A one-time application of 1 pound of the product is enough to kill 100% of gophers across up to 8 acres of land. 

Martin’s gopher bait grains are also very easy to use; simply place one tablespoon of bait into the gopher burrow system, and close the tunnel with soil. Prior customers have attested to the speed and efficacy of this gopher poison, which is ideal for those with well-established infestations across large areas of land.

However, strychnine (the active ingredient in Martin’s Gopher Bait) is a highly potent poison and should be used with extreme care. Users are advised to contact their regional U.S Fish and Wildlife Service before using Martin’s Gopher Bait to avoid accidental poisoning of endangered wildlife species.


The Giant Destroyer


What we like :

What we don't like :

  • Cartridge must be set alight and burns vigorously, increasing potential for personal injury
  • Potentially hazardous for other wildlife species, pets and children if used improperly
  • Cannot be used in gopher tunnels beneath buildings or sheds because of the potential fire hazard

The Giant Destroyer Review

The Giant Destroyer is a smoke bomb pest control product manufactured by Atlas Chemical Corp, and contains the active ingredients sodium nitrate, sulfur, and activated charcoal. Although it is approved for use on residential lawns, it should be applied with extreme care. The pesticides in the Giant Destroyer are extremely hazardous to other wildlife species, domestic pets, and humans. When lit, the cartridge will burn vigorously and can cause injury if improperly handled. The fumes released can also be hazardous if inhaled.

However, if used correctly, this toxic gas is a highly effective method of pest control against gophers and other burrowing animals. Once you have identified an active tunnel, simply light the fuse and throw the cartridge inside, quickly plugging the hole to trap the smoke inside. The poison smoke will seep through the main tunnel network and kill all the pests within.


JT Eaton Bait Blocks


What we like :

What we don't like :

  • Potentially hazardous for use around pets and children
  • Does not necessarily confine rodent death to tunnels, so some clean-up of dead rodents may be required

JT Eaton Bait Blocks Review

JT Eaton’s bait blocks may be the best gopher poison for ease of use and effectiveness. These peanut-butter flavor bait blocks easily attract gophers (and other types of rodents) and kill them quickly.

To use JT Eaton Bait Block Rodenticide, you’ll first need to identify the main areas of gopher activity on your property. Simply place the bait nearby and wait once you’ve found the gopher mounds. All gophers (and any other rodents) that eat the bait will be dead within a few days. 

As with most gopher poisons, there is always a potential risk to pets and children in the area. The active ingredient in JT Eaton’s Bait Blocks (Diphacinone) can also have toxic effects on cats, dogs, and humans. Always use gopher poison products responsibly, and exercise caution when using poison gopher baits around children and pets.

Other products to consider


Gopher Scram Repellent


What we like :

What we don't like :

  • Doesn’t exterminate gophers
  • May not be effective for extensive gopher control (e.g., during mating season)
  • Must be re-applied every 30 days

Gopher Scram Repellent Review

Gopher Scram Repellent (manufactured by Epic Repellents) doesn’t use gopher poisons to get rid of gophers. Instead, it uses a mixture of natural, essential oils to offend the gopher’s sense of smell and taste and deter them from burrowing on your property.

It uses Caster Oil (11%), Thyme Oil (1.1%) Rosemary Oil (1%), White Pepper (5%), Garlic Oil (0.1%), and Citronella Oil (0.75%) to repel gophers. 

This granular product can be scattered using a dispenser tool like a lawn spreader, or sprinkled in small areas by hand (though you should wear gloves for this). Re-apply the product every 30 days to stop new gopher mounds from appearing.


Victor 6006 Poison Peanuts


What we like :

What we don't like :

  • Not safe for use around children or pest
  • Some users reported that the product was ineffective against gophers

Victor 6006 Poison Peanuts Review

Victor gopher poison peanuts contain zinc phosphide, a highly effective rodenticide against gophers (and other burrowing garden pests). The innovative packaging design of the Victor Poison peanuts makes this product one of the most suitable for home pest control and makes the bait easy to use effectively.

Rapid elimination of gophers in gardens and backyards. 

How does gopher poison work?

The main types of poison used in gopher control products are strychnine, zinc phosphide, and diphacionine. Each of these poisons works within a different time frame, and some are far quicker (and less inhumane) than others.


Strychnine was once one of the most commonly used gopher poisons, but has fallen out of favor as its long-lasting environmental impacts become clear. As strychnine is a long-lasting poison, this means that any predator who feeds on a poisoned gopher will be secondarily poisoned. Therefore, it is not recommended for casual domestic use.

When ingested by a gopher, strychnine affects the muscles, causing severe cramps that eventually ‘strangle’ the animal to death.

Zinc Phosphide

Zinc phosphide is considered safer for home use than strychnine, as it does not cause secondary poisoning of other animals. This poison produces toxic phosphine gas once swallowed, which causes gophers (and other rodents) to die in as little as 15 minutes.


Diphacinone is an anticoagulant, which means it prevents the blood from clotting. Gophers that eat a diphacinone-laced bait will eventually die from internal bleeding, but they have to eat quite a lot of the bait to reach a lethal dose.

4 Tips to get rid of gophers with the help of poison or repellents

Identify gopher mounds and burrows

gopher moundsYou have a good chance of getting rid of gophers once you find their main tunnel and where they exit and enter their burrows. Inspect your property for gopher mounds and other signs of gopher activity, so you know where to place your poison.

Place your poison or repellent for best gopher exposure

Your poison will have the best effect if it is placed in an area with high levels of gopher activity. Set up poison baits near main tunnels and gopher mounds so they will have ready access to it. It’s best to do this on a dry day and replace block baits whenever they become wet or stale. If you are using traps, you should also place these near the entrance of the gopher tunnel.

Place your poisons at the right time of year

Spring is the mating season for gophers, so they are most active at this time of year. This means that spring is also the best time to lay any traps or poisons. If done effectively, your control efforts will stop the breeding season in its tracks and get your garden gopher-free by summer.

Set up a gopher trap or two

Gopher traps are not the most effective pest control, especially for people with larger yards. However, they can be an important monitoring tool to increase your gopher control success rate. Set up a gopher trap or two near the main tunnel; when the traps start coming up empty, you’ll know your other control methods are working.

Is gopher poison dangerous to humans or pets?

Gopher poison can be extremely dangerous to humans, pets, and other animals. In some regions, the environmental protection agency prohibited the use of gopher poison due to the potential hazard these substances present to wildlife.

Always exercise caution when using any type of poison, and keep toxic baits well away from children and pets. If you are unsure about the safety or how to use a particular product, call a pest control professional for their expert advice.

Homemade gopher repellents

If you’re sick of gopher damage in your garden but don’t want to resort to poison, homemade gopher repellents may be the answer. Gophers are thought to detest certain smells, and you can use these to your advantage when repelling them from your property. Some popular natural gopher repellents include:

Coffee grounds

Homemade gopher repellentsYou may love the smell of your morning coffee, but gophers aren’t a fan of the scent. Coffee grounds have a powerful smell that repels gophers, so scattering them around gopher holes or over flower beds can encourage them to move on.

Cat litter

Gophers are naturally afraid of cats, so it’s time for them to earn their keep if you have a kitty! Scatter your cats used litter near gopher mounds and tunnels to make them run a mile. (This method is also reported to repel moles and other small animals that may be preyed on by cats).

Dryer sheets

Dryer sheets are surprisingly effective gopher repellents, and are a very inexpensive way to control gophers. Stuff sheets into the holes in gopher mounds and hang a few from your clothesline for good measure. The laundry-fresh scent will have gophers abandoning their tunnels in no time.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take for the poison to kill a gopher?

If you place your poison in a good location (i.e., near the main entrances to tunnels), it won’t take long to work. Potent poisons (like strychnine) can deliver a lethal dose with just a few nibbles, and the gophers will die within a day or two of eating the bait.

Is gopher poison effective?

Gopher poisons that contain rodenticides (i.e., poisons designed to kill rodents) are highly effective. After gophers eat the bait, they usually die within a few hours and in large numbers. Poison is the best gopher control method for quick and effective extermination if you have a large infestation.

To sum it up 

If you see a gopher hole in your garden, you’ll want to act quickly. Gophers are highly destructive pests and can dig up turf and ravage plants while constructing an elaborate labyrinth of tunnels beneath your backyard.

Gopher trapping tools and poisons are widely available for purchase, but many of these come with a set of risks or are, at least, time-consuming to set up and maintain. Often, the most effective way to control gophers is with the help of a pest control expert. Call your local wildlife service for a free quote and advice on how to handle your gopher problem.

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