Pocket Gopher

The Hidden Threat Below: Understanding How Burrowing Rodents Can Damage Crops

Burrowing rodents may seem innocuous at first glance, but beneath the surface lies a hidden threat to crop yields and agricultural livelihoods. These small creatures, including ground squirrels, gophers, voles, and moles, can wreak havoc on fields and orchards, causing significant damage that goes beyond what meets the eye. In this blog post, we’ll explore the various ways in which burrowing rodents can damage crops and the measures farmers can take to mitigate these risks.

Prairie Dog

One of the most common ways burrowing rodents damage crops is through their underground tunneling activities. Gophers and moles, for example, create intricate networks of tunnels as they burrow through the soil in search of food and shelter. These tunnels can disrupt root systems, depriving plants of essential nutrients and water. As a result, crops may exhibit stunted growth, wilting, and ultimately yield loss.

Furthermore, burrowing rodents are notorious for their voracious appetites. Ground squirrels and voles, in particular, feed on a wide range of crops, including grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. They consume plant roots, stems, and foliage, leading to significant crop damage and reduced yields. In orchards, these pests can girdle trees by gnawing on their bark, ultimately killing the tree or reducing its productivity.


The damage caused by burrowing rodents extends beyond the immediate loss of crops. Farmers may also incur additional costs associated with pest control measures and crop damage mitigation. Traditional methods such as trapping and chemical treatments can be labor-intensive, expensive, and environmentally harmful. Moreover, repeated crop losses due to rodent damage can have long-term economic implications for agricultural operations.

In addition to direct crop damage, burrowing rodents can indirectly impact agricultural productivity through soil erosion and water loss. Their tunneling activities loosen soil, making it more prone to erosion by wind and water. This can lead to soil degradation, reduced water retention capacity, and decreased soil fertility. In areas with high rodent populations, soil erosion can exacerbate land degradation and desertification, further threatening agricultural sustainability.

Fortunately, there are several strategies farmers can employ to manage burrowing rodent populations and minimize crop damage. Integrated pest management (IPM) approaches, which combine cultural, biological, and chemical control methods, offer a holistic and sustainable approach to rodent control. These may include habitat modification, such as removing brush and debris, to reduce rodent shelter and food sources. Biological control methods, such as introducing natural predators like barn owls or using predatory insects, can help keep rodent populations in check.

Furthermore, advanced technologies such as the BurrowRx Carbon Monoxide Sprayer offer effective and environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional pest control methods. This carbon monoxide sprayer targets burrowing rodents directly in their underground habitats, minimizing collateral damage to non-target species and reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

Educating farmers about the importance of proactive rodent management and providing access to resources and support can also help mitigate crop damage and improve agricultural sustainability. By fostering collaboration between researchers, extension agents, and farmers, we can develop tailored solutions to address the unique challenges posed by burrowing rodents in different agricultural settings.

Burrowing rodents pose a significant threat to crop yields and agricultural sustainability through their destructive tunneling activities and voracious feeding habits. However, with careful planning, proactive management strategies, and the adoption of innovative pest control technologies, farmers can effectively mitigate the risks posed by these underground pests and protect their crops for generations to come.

Using the BurrowRx

About BurrowRx

Designated as a pest control device by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), BurrowRx Carbon Monoxide Sprayer is designed to control burrowing and tunneling animals, including gophers, ground squirrels, moles, rats, and prairie dogs. BurrowRx Carbon Monoxide Sprayer uses a smoke oil tracer to show where the carbon monoxide is going in the tunnels. As the carbon monoxide enters the burrow system, the rodent breathes it replacing oxygen in its blood and causing the organs to stop working. The product is unlikely to harm any non-target species because once it completely dissipates, the carbon monoxide is no longer a risk to anything entering the burrow system.

For more information about the solution for burrowing pests, visit BurrowRx at www.BurrrowRx.com or call (619) 442-8686. Also, visit the BurrowRx channel on YouTube.