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We have Sonoran desert tortoises in our backyard.. The oldest is Festus, who is between  70-80 years old. Oddly enough, they are attracted to the vibration of the power hammer. 

Recently, I've watched hairline cracks form around the PH and now the cracks have widened.   Turns out that these tortoises have burrowed  more than eight feet under the shop's foundation, terminating directly under the hammer ! ! !  Come spring, I'll extract the tortoises, saw cut the floor and pour concrete until full.....Just weird enough to share with others LOL

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When I first moved to Ohio we were living in an old farmhouse and my "shop" was a decrepit chickenhouse with a thin concrete wash over the dirt for the floor.  Groundhogs loved it and had done a lot of damage to it, especially as the fields all around it were growing corn...  I decided that our coexistence was not likely so I filled up all the holes I could find but the two most used looking ones and then placed my 2" bore cannon   in each hole; packed dirt around it and fired off a double charge of single F blackpowder.   It might have been the burnt powder smell but I saw neither hide nor hair of any groundhogs for the rest of that year.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sounds like my varmint solution.  Unlit oxy/acetylene torch with a rosebud stuffed in the hole for about 5 minutes, then light it off.  I've never done it within 50 feet of the house, but I doubt it would be advisable, unless you wanna live in the caddyshack.

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4 hours ago, Quarry Dog said:

Sounds like my varmint solution.  Unlit oxy/acetylene torch with a rosebud stuffed in the hole for about 5 minutes, then light it off.  I've never done it within 50 feet of the house, but I doubt it would be advisable, unless you wanna live in the caddyshack.

living in S. Calif. One of the features we grew up with were the red ants, the black ants weren't terribly aggressive but the red ones would come after you if you got too close. I'd wandered into a nest when I was maybe 8-9 and can still remember the stings from my feet to my arm pits. I was miserable for a couple days with red welts everywhere.

Well, that started my vendetta against red ants, big red and very territorial and I tried everything a youngster could think of. I tried drowning them with a hose, bug poison, gasoline. (had I known NOT lighting gas was a good way to kill a nest I'd have tried that too) Anyway I never stopped but pretty well gave up hoping I could take out ant hills.

One day while watching a 4 lane ant highway carrying bug poison dusted with powdered sugar back to the hill it struck me. The bug poison wasn't doing it but I had just the stuff. I went to the reloading bench in the dry utility room in the garage and opened a can of pistol powder and began mixing it with powdered sugar, then another can. 2lbs of fast pistol powder and about 1lb of sugar later I was ready to cook.

The next morning I dusted a little trail of sweet powder from maybe 10' from the hive mouth to where I was sitting, outside the ant's defense border. I spent the whole day keeping the little pile of sweet powder up and when the can was about empty I dumped it all and waited. To give you an idea of just how popular the sweet powder was with the red ant hive the ant highway was a solid 4 ants each direction, nose to butt the whole way.

Guess what I did when the sweet powder pile was about gone? . . . If you say, "tossed a lit match on the ant highway." You'd be right and watched with sadistic delight as the ant highway burned like a fuse. Not like the movies it burned pretty slowly but the sugar made it smoky and sell like a weird, burnt sugar, sulfur marinated ant BBQ. One thing I thought was pretty cool was the ants coming from the hill were burning too so they must've been coated in powder to.

Well, when the fuse entered the ant hole it sort of smoked a bit, then the smoke turned into a jet and in a few seconds there was a jet of orange smoky flame shooting about 8" +/- spewing burning ants. I'd backed well away when the ant fuse got close to the hole, I expected it to explode even though smokeless powder doesn't explode like black powder but I figured the ant hive would confine it maybe enough. Well, nope no explosions but the little ant rocket engine burned nicely for a good 10+ minutes and about the time it died down to a dribble I stepped back and looked around.

Holy Moly! A bush about 20' away was smoking and starting to burn! While I was stomping it out I noticed another couple smoke streams but no more fires. Geeze ants have back doors! What did I know about ants I was a dumb teenager.

One plus though, that ant hill was done for. Something actually worked just don't get caught. I don't think the FD in S. Cal. would take kindly to youngsters turning ant hills into fireworks but NOTHING to what Mother would've had to say. Dad never hit us, ever but Mother had her wooden spoon and if pushed too far was good with it. Happily it didn't make the news or even draw attention.

Yeah, I was lucky as a kid too. Frosty The Lucky.

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I had one for pocket gophers that might work on moles. I'd dump a gallon of water down the hole just to wet the soil so it wouldn't absorb my next presents, then pour a cup of Clorox and a cup of ammonia in at the same time, cover and take a walk. By time there's enough chlorine gas to smell it's pretty close to the fatal level.

I don't know if it killed the rodents but they tended to leave the yard for. . . ? I never had any luck blowing them up though and I wasn't about to try getting gophers to pack a few kegs of powder in. Oxy acet on the other hand might be . . . interesting.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Commercial gopher removers use propane cannons. They fill the tunnels then ignite it. The pressure wave travels pretty far through the tunnel system.

I saw a system for prairie dogs that was pretty neat. A guy uses a modified vacuum truck to suck them into a padded tank, then he sells them in Japan as pets.

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One of the Scientists that studied fire ants and roaches said in a meeting I attended that diatomic earth,  like used for swimming pool filters, spread around would run both of the critters away.    I've used Andros Fire ant bait myself. It works well when you have a larger yard and need to deal with multiple mounds.  Fire ants have separate mounds that are connected with subsidiary brood locations so they all have to be treated.

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I have a friend with a few acres of grapevines.  He had a rodent problem and used a propane injection system to fill the holes and then would light it off.  The problem was a rodent or two would spring out of a hole, on fire, and run all over the place.  Now he had to put out the fires before someone called the FD.  

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Diatamatious earth is the silicate skeletons of diatoms big surprise that eh? How it works is by getting in the insect's joints and grinding them to death. I'd be thinking of the powdered sugar bait myself.

I really REALLY wish we had a propane cannon for gopher control or I'd even heard of it, I'd have made one eventually. It'd be a wonderful rainy day pursuit. Right now I'm almost bummed we don't have burrowing rodents to worry about in Alaska or I'd be experimenting with aiming my T burner down the hole. Probably have to lean it up a bit but that's just a little tweak.

A good non-toxic if you're not an insect insecticide is Pyrethrum as seen on Billy The Exterminator. Boric acid is effective on at least some insects, Heck it's marketed as Roachpruf. Another is Aspertame artificial sweetener I believe it's sold for bedbugs but not sure.

Maybe raising a Praying Mantis colony?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Here in the east we have ground hogs.  People have come up with many wild ideas on how to get rid of them, my way is to take a pint of gas and pour it on a rag and stuff it as far down the hole as you can  and cover it with dirt.  It is not as much fun as the ant volcano but in a few days you get to smell the not so sweet smell of success.  Flemish

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Pyrethrums don't seem to kill out the colony. They are back and running in about a week. 

Still wandering about a desert tortus friendly power hammer eviction...

cand go around blowing up endangerd critters. Besides, the are a bit bigger than gofers, and that bid of a boom wouldn't be good for the power hammer foundations...

 

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We always thought  that ground hogs provided additional protein . A fair exchange for the vegetation they ate.

3 hours ago, flemish said:

Here in the east we have ground hogs.  People have come up with many wild ideas on how to get rid of them, my way is to take a pint of gas and pour it on a rag and stuff it as far down the hole as you can  and cover it with dirt.  It is not as much fun as the ant volcano but in a few days you get to smell the not so sweet smell of success.  Flemish

 

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