The following is an opinion piece based on me trying the Juicy Fruit method to rid a yard of gophers. It did not work for me, but since publishing this I’ve been contacted by people who are convinced it does. So, I will leave a video at the end to counter my argument – the best thing to do? Try it yourself as you could save a lot of money on pest control, but here’s what I originally wrote.
If you’re a regular reader of Busy Backyard, you will know of the battles I’ve had in my backyard with gophers, and how I’ve also tested various deterrents in my brother’s yard.
Based on this experience, I always keep things real and offer genuine advice, so I wanted to address the theory that Juicy Fruit gum will kill gophers.
I hate to break it to you, but that’s exactly what this is: a theory.
It’s an urban myth that has been doing the rounds for generations. Who knows, perhaps a marketing executive at Wrigleys was tasked with increasing sales in the 1940s, so decided to start a rumor that Juicy Fruit gum kills gophers.
Yes, it really is that old… here’s what a friend told me:
When I was a kid in the 1980s, my dear old grandma would put Juicy Fruit gum in gopher holes in her yard. I’d go out steal pieces. She never did solve her gopher problem!”
If you listen to grandma, buying a multi-pack of Juicy Fruit at Walmart will be way cheaper and easier than the more traditional ways of getting rid of gophers.
But even today, people are still trying to get rid of gophers with Juicy Fruit gum, and say it works. Let me take you through why this is nonsense – and give you a better way of doing things.
Will Juicy Fruit kill gophers?
People on social media who recommend you can get rid of gophers with Juicy Fruit gum haven’t really thought this through properly. Here’s how the urban myth goes, and I will explain why it’s utter BS.
What does Juicy Fruit gum do to gophers?
The entire premise of killing gophers with Juicy Fruit gum is that the critter will eat it, and as it moistens and digests inside of them, will eventually harden or jam-up their insides.
Whether the gopher will then die of constipation or hunger, it’s never quite been established.
Other people say gophers don’t like the smell of Juicy Fruit. So, which is it? Do they like chewing gum or not?
How to use Juicy Fruit gum to kill gophers?
The people who say this works even argue amongst themselves as the best way to use Juicy Fruit. Some say it’s best if you chew it first, others say you place the sticks of gum into the gopher holes.
Both ideas are utterly ridiculous.
For instance, are we honestly expected to believe that gophers have a preferred flavor or brand of chewing gum? What’s wrong with Doublemint gum or spearmint gum to kill gophers, or other types of bubble gum?
Gophers must be quite fussy!
Consider this. Gophers are strict herbivores. They only eat plant-based materials, so why they’d be interested in hard stick of chewing gum is anyone’s guess. I suppose you could try sticking some grass onto the gum… or perhaps not!
Then there is different advice on how you apply the gum into the gopher’s hole and tunnels. Some say you cut the gum strips up and push them down into the tunnel. Others say you can just leave a packed of Juicy Fruit at the entrance to the gopher hole.
Then there’s the debate over how long it takes for Juicy Fruit to kill gophers. I’ve seen advice ranging from 24 hours to a month.
Handy Hint: Instead of gum, try castor oil as a pest control repellent.
If I can give you one piece of advice today, pleased don’t stick Juicy Fruit gum in a gopher hole and wait a month to see what happens.
In that time, more holes and tunnels will be made, and you’ve wasted a whole lot of time in which the gopher has been playing merry hell in your backyard.
This reminds me of other urban myths relating to gopher deterrents. For example, some say human hair will scare gophers away, others say coffee grounds work (it helps, but only a little).
You can try combining human hair with chewing or bubble gum.
At best you might see a gopher come out of the hole with hair extensions, a sassy attitude, whilst blowing bubbles.
I can’t take credit for the above, I saw that comment on Twitter.
Handy Hint: I also wrote a guide recently about mothballs being used as a deterrent.
Does juicy fruit really kill gophers?
Before I explain to you better ways of getting rid of backyard gophers, I want to finish up this section by pondering why so many people say Juicy Fruit works.
I can only assume it’s pure coincidence.
Let’s say you get a keen gardener poking their hands down gopher holes with sticks of chewing gum. They then see that there is no gopher activity soon afterwards.
Maybe the gophers got scared and vacated their home?
The more likely scenario is that it’s the natural way a gopher continually creates new tunnel systems, so has moved to the next hole.
You’re probably thinking have I ever tried it. Yes, and I had similar results to this person on Twitter… zero results.
More backyard guides…
If Juicy Fruit won’t kill gophers, what’s the alternative I hear you ask?
Here are some other guides I’ve written.
- How to get rid of gophers in your yard
- The truth about gophers digging through gravel
- Pictures of damage gophers to yards and lawns
Here’s the video I promised by a lady who swears it does work…