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Monitoring Vertebrates—Spring

On this page
  • Pocket gophers
  • Voles
  • Ground squirrels

The most common vertebrate pests in alfalfa are pocket gophers, voles, and ground squirrels.

  • Look for fresh pocket gopher mounds each time the field is mowed.
  • Watch field edges for ground squirrel burrows and damage about once a month.
  • Identify vole trails and burrows and damage in late winter when the fields are dormant.
  • Record your monitoring results on a map of the field.

Names link to more information on identification and management.

Click on photos to enlarge

Pocket gopher mounds
Pocket gopher
Identification tip: Pocket gopher mounds are generally fan-shaped and have a plugged opening.

Meadow mouse runways connect numerous shallow burrows.
Identification tip: Look for aboveground runways that connect the openings of shallow burrows.

Ground squirrel mounds
Ground squirrels
Identification tip: Look for large mounds of dirt piled over alfalfa plants.

For more Information, see Irrigated Alfalfa Management.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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