Gophers, moles, ground squirrels and other varmints can wreak havoc on a manicured lawn or a farmer's crops with the critters' endless burrowing and devouring. Gopher holes are a particular peril on horse farms, should a horse step into one and break its leg. Plugging a hole does little good; the furry critters have already dug another hole somewhere else and go right on eating and digging. Rodent poisons kill other animals, and so can traps. Remove the rodent infestation using propane, which makes an effective underground bunker-blaster when used properly.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Gopher blaster
- Hard hat
- Safety goggles
- Work gloves
- Ear protectors
Purchase a "manufactured dispensing tool" --- known as a gopher blaster --- that will deliver the right mix of propane and oxygen to the rodent hole, advises The Garden Counselor website. Visit the websites of blaster manufacturers, such as Rodenator or Rodex Industries. Depending on what accessories you purchase, a gopher blaster can cost upward of £975, as of May 2011.
Wear proper safety gear including a hard hat, goggles, gloves and ear protectors before using the gopher blaster.
Find the gopher hole. Place the wand of the gopher blaster into the gopher hole. Depress the gas flow lever, pumping gas into the hole. Release the flow lever after about 60 seconds.
Press the ignition button while holding the device handle to fire the propane-oxygen mix.
Tips and warnings
- The gopher blaster delivers a calibrated mix of propane and oxygen into the hole, usually 5-percent propane and the rest oxygen. The blaster can be equipped with an optional remote electronic detonator to set off the explosion so you're out of the way when the earth moves.
- Propane is heavier than air and will settle to the bottom of the burrow.
- Urban communities, which have underground gas, water and electric lines, not to mention sewers that may contain highly flammable methane, usually frown upon do-it-yourselfers setting off explosions. Check your local rules with your municipal building department before trying to blast any gophers.
- Avoid "home brew" such as igniting gasoline poured into the hole or snaking a hose carrying exhaust fumes from your car or truck's tailpipe.
- Never smoke or use an open flame or any electrical device that could spark when operating a gopher blaster.
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