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How to Get Rid of Ground Hogs

Groundhogs are well known as backyard pests, and are most commonly found in Canada, Alaska and the eastern part of the United States. They make burrows to live in, which typically extend 2-5 feet under the ground and have a horizontal length of at least 30 feet. Gardens represent ideal living conditions for groundhogs. They are a great source of sustenance, free of predators and easy to dig burrows in because of the soft soil. Groundhogs are capable of consuming as much as a pound of vegetation in a day. Groundhog burrows can be a nuisance as they have an adverse impact on a building’s structural integrity. You can get rid of groundhogs in a number of ways. Broadly speaking, there are four ways to deal with them. You can:

  • Trapping them

  • Fumigation

  • Extermination

  • Discouraging settlement

Trapping them

Trapping is perhaps the best method of dealing with a groundhog on your property. The trap which we carry that is excellent for trapping groundhogs is the Havahart Live Trap. Here are the steps we’d recommend you use when utilizing this product to trap groundhogs:

  1. You need to check state laws about the relocation of animals before you decide to trap groundhogs and re-locate them. There are laws in some states that prohibit this, owing to the fear of spreading rabies.

  2. Put on gloves before you handle the trap so that it doesn’t carry your scent. Put the trap right in front of the entrance of the burrow. It’s best if you spray the trap with water and throw some dirt on it, so that it’s camouflaged.

  3. Using bait can make the trap more effective. Cantaloupe almost always works but if you’ve observed anything in particular that groundhogs go for in your garden, use that. Place the bait as far along the cage as possible; otherwise the groundhog will escape the trap. Put a stone or any weight at the top to ensure that the groundhog cannot escape by rolling the cage over.

  4. Keep checking the trap. It’s best to remove the trap immediately once the groundhog has been captured. The longer you leave it there the more aggressive (and therefore harmful) it becomes. Make sure you are using thick gloves while handling the trap now.

  5. You should now take it approximately 6 miles away from your home. Take it to a location that you know will be a good place for the groundhog to settle.


  1. You should give fumigation some thought before considering it as a solution. This is because fumigation is usually not a good option. Most experts recommend avoiding fumigation as a solution for groundhogs. If you still believe that there is no other solution, bring in a pest control professional to appraise the situation.

    • Poisoning animals causes a great deal of suffering. The groundhog(s) would die slowly and painfully. Fumigation would cause suffocation, internal bleeding and other painful conditions, which would last for days before the groundhog dies.
    • Fumigation may not be completely reliable. Most of the available poisons are for killing mice or rats.
    • The substance you use will be toxic to all other animals and even humans. Therefore you run the risk of your pets getting poisoned as well. Moreover, your family runs the risk of being affected as well.
    • If the poison is completely effective, you will have to dispose of the dead rotting bodies of the groundhog. The smell of decay will linger for days and can actually attract more pests.
    • Cleaning up your garden / lawn will be a tedious process and will also be dangerous.
  1. Pick the right time. Groundhogs usually hibernate between late September and early October. They also wall off their burrows during hibernation, which renders fumigation completely ineffective at this time.

  2. Make sure you have found all the entrances to the burrow. At each entrance, put a piece of sod.

  3. Make sure you understand the usage instructions. The usage of the fumigation cartridge differs with different brands.

  4. Light up the fumigation cartridge. The cartridge should be placed as far along the burrow as possible. Use a pole for pushing it as far as possible.

  5. Now you should block up all burrow entrances using the pieces of sod that you had placed next to each entrance. Step on it a couple of times to ensure that the sealing is completely airtight. Wait for a while and see if there’s smoke coming out of any of the entrances. If that is the case, you should fill them up using sod. Do this for all entrances that are emitting smoke.


There are three methods to of exterminate groundhogs. Note that all of the methods fall in the inhumane category of dealing with the problem.

  1. Using lethal traps. There are a number of problems associated with using these traps. Firstly these traps do not guarantee an instant kill. It is difficult to gauge at which entrance the trap should be placed. Moreover the traps are extremely dangerous for pets or children. Instructions for using lethal traps vary with each type, so make you understand all the instructions.

  2. Using poison. This has the same associated problems that fumigation and lethal traps have. They are very dangerous for people and pets; if the groundhog dies under the ground, the body will be very difficult to dispose off.

  3. Shooting. Use this method if you have a good eye; a wounded groundhog will become a lot more aggressive and can be really dangerous for your pets or children.

Discouraging settlement

Use a chemical repellent that is pepper based. These will serve as an  anathema to a groundhog’s heightened sensitivity to smells. Among the repellents we carry which can ward off groundhogs are Nature's Defense: All-Purpose Animal Repellent and Critter Ridder.

You can also use electronic repellents. These are motion sensing water sprinklers and are very effective at scaring groundhogs away. Or you can use ultrasonic noise makers such as Transonic PRO - Ultrasonic Pest Repeller.


Groundhogs can be a terribly destructive animal which you can encounter in your yard, however by applying the above control techniques and equipping yourself with the right products, you can capture or rid the groundhog from your home safely and effectively.

For more tips and advice on groundhog control, don’t hesitate to give us a phone call at 800-479-6583 or email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com.


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