Pests invade parts of west Wichita, residents left searching for solution

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 4:52 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Unsightly mounds of dirt are popping in west Wichita.

“I don’t know what to do about them. I mean, I don’t want to do “Caddy Shack” on them and start blowing them up.”

They’re also popping up in front of the Westlake Ace Hardware store on west 13th Street. Shoppers are coming in to ask general manager Brian Gramlich how to control the pests.

“Really big issue this year, this time of year,” says Gramlich. “So hard to get rid of. They are in here looking at what they can do to take care of the holes in their yards.”

To do that, Matt McKernan, a horticulture expert for the K-State Research and Extension Office, says you much first identify what kind of pest you’re dealing with.

“Moles are only going to be eating insects and vertebrae in the soil, so earthworms, grubs, things like that. So poisons and baits do not work for moles. they are going to have to be trapped to be effectively controlled. Gophers on the other hand, because they do eat plant roots, you do have the option of using baits,” McKernan explains.

McKernan says the mounds of dirt are likely caused by gophers - that push out soil at a 45-degree angle and often kick mounds over a curb.

“Gophers not only eat plant roots, and pull down vegetation, into their soil, they can cause significant damage to trees, shrubs, and other plants in the landscape,” he says.

If left untreated, McKearnan says populations can build up in certain areas.

“Each gopher can create 1 to 3 new mounds every day. A single gopher can tunnel as far as 600 feet with their tunnel system as well. So they really can do extensive damage over large areas,” said McKernan.

He says whether you’re dealing with gophers or moles, trapping them is the best way to get rid of them. You can do it yourself or call a pest control company.

Gramlich recommends that whatever you do, neighbors working together is the best way to eliminate the problem.

For further information, below are our K-State Research & Extension publications on moles and gophers:

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