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Pyrotechnic mole remover

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I suffer dreadfully from moles. All over the bloody croquet lawn. If anyone has tried to eliminate these subterranean bastards, he will know how difficult it can be, The head gardener, bless him, has done his best - but, frankly, it's not good enough.

MaxCo Pest Control (a wholly-owned subsidiary of MaxCo Waistcoats and Gloves International) has therefore developed the MaxCo Pyrotechnic Mole Removal System. The system is modular, consisting of 256 8' x 4' plates of thin, springy stainless steel. Each plate bears, on its underside, a number of 18" stainless steel spikes, spaced at 1.4" intervals.

The plates are prepared by coating their upper surfaces with a 1/8" layer of a silver iodate-based explosive. Each plate also carries one detonator and a long lead.

To use, simply place the plates on the lawn, using as many plates as necessary to cover the surface. The spikes point down, so that each plate rests 18" above the ground. The flexibility of the plates is sufficient to accommodate any minor undulations. Connect all detonator cables to the box with the big red button on it. When all is ready, press the big red button.

Also aerates the lawn.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 04 2008

I am a mole and I live in a hole http://www.youtube....watch?v=4hjnhtVcTQE
If you don't know this song, prepare to bow at the feet of the great Southlanders [xenzag, Jan 06 2008]

Other pyrotechnic lawn devices. http://www.eweedcontrol.com/
Intended for weeds, but I'd bet a mole might not like them either. [ye_river_xiv, Jul 12 2009]

Off-the-shelf pyrotechnic mole remover. http://www.acehardw...px?manufacturer=368
Albeit not quite as spectacular... [ye_river_xiv, Jul 12 2009]

mole, gopher, same thing http://www.youtube....watch?v=3lYm0c7gYyU
[jaksplat, Jul 12 2009]

[link]






       Expensive and dangerous. Automatic bun.
DenholmRicshaw, Jan 04 2008
  

       I should have explained more clearly. Moles are small mammals that make tunnels underground.   

       Nevertheless, your explosive weed solution is ingenious. The problem is that moles are apt to move, so the 1 second interval between detonations would merely stampede them rather than eradicate them.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 04 2008
  

       Semi-baked; we dealt with the little bastards by pushing lengths of det cord ("Cordtex") down their burrows. It's got a PETN core and detonates at 2700 m/sec. It generates a supersonic shock wave that stuns or kills the moles; they don't even need to be close to the det cord because of the pressure-piling effect in their burrows.   

       It was, much to everyone's disappointment, surprisingly undramatic - a big THUMP through the soles of the feet, and the ground heaved up a bit in places; one molehill went sky high, a la Caddyshack, but that was about it. But from that day to this, no more moles in that bit of ground.   

       Shortly after, a tree in the target area withered and died; we speculated that the blast had wrecked its root system, with good reason, because the stump came out of the ground with distrubingly little effort once it had been chopped down.   

       Silver iodate is a bugger to handle, stick with a low-rate conformable; the effect you want is the sustaned pressure of a hyperbaric weapon, a fuel-air explosive. Nitromethane or nitroglycol is your chappie for that one.   

       We offer you a bun as a consolation prize. [+]
8th of 7, Jan 04 2008
  

       //Nitromethane or nitroglycol is your chappie for that // Valuable information, 8th. However, Cockerring (the Head Gardener) won't hold with those. I'll have a word with him, though. I'll also have a think about detonation cord, but I'm a bit nervous about using it. The oak on the north side of the croquet lawn was once peed on by William the Conqueror's dog, apparently, and it would be a shame to harm it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 04 2008
  

       // I'm a bit nervous about using it. //   

       It's relatively safe ... until you attach the detonator.   

       We would advise some caution, as if you screw up when working with det cord, you can lose all sorts of useful odds and ends; hearing, eyesight, fingers, your life .....
8th of 7, Jan 04 2008
  

       I thought you were talking about removing a facial blemish in an interesting way.
  

       //It's relatively safe ... until you attach the detonator.//
"relatively" compared to liquid nitro-glycerin sure, but there's all sorts of precautions you need to use to handle it safely.
At the very least I could end up lending you my T-shirt which says "I got an incredibly blinding headache from working with PETN"
FlyingToaster, Jan 04 2008
  

       Sounds like it could also be used for an emergency patch to hold together fault lines. ;)   

       Will the plate remover be a separate half-bakeable project?
lurch, Jan 04 2008
  

       // I got an incredibly blinding headache from working with PETN /   

       Det cord isn't too bad to handle because of the tough plastic outer coating, but yes, the plain item will do it every time.
8th of 7, Jan 05 2008
  

       The system, well known for its efficacy, has cratered quite a stir amongst the visiting gentry. Those in the main dining area at the time of detonation have remarked on plate tectonics and its effect on (fine) china.
4whom, Jan 05 2008
  

       //Will the plate remover be a separate half-bakeable project?// Excellent point, Lurch. After intensive research and the unintentional steel-plating of the croquet lawn, we have made an improvement.   

       A second layer of explosive - impact- sensitive - is applied to the underside of the sheets, in between the steel spikes. Mere microseconds after the first explosion drives the plates earthward, the second explosion lifts the plates cleanly out of the ground. The trick (as my assistant gardener found - may he rest in peace) is not to overdo the second layer of explosive.   

       Incidentally, the croquet lawn is now also suitable for billiards.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2008
  

       What if the moles dug their main room 24" below ground? If you want to blow them up, wouldn't acetelene work better? I worked in some construction sites and there were always stories of pits that would fill with acetelene and then explode later when the next guy tried to lite up. You could do the same, but on purpose.   

       If you want some better ideas, you could just have them vacuumed out, basically use one of those truck sized leaf pickup machines and atttach it to one of the holes. There is a guy who made a mint doing this in the MidWest and the idea came to him in a dream.   

       Or the cheapest way, just attach a hose to a running car's exhaust pipe, run it in a hole and seal it in. Wait an hour and you should be done.
MisterQED, Jan 05 2008
  

       Alas, Mr. QED, English moles are more cunning. True, their main nest may be deeper than 18", but they spend much of their time foraging and are therefore likely to be found in a shallower tunnel at any particular time. A repeat treatment may, of course, be necessary.   

       As regards explosive gasses, moles normally include all kinds of U-bends and suchlike into their runs, specifically to exclude the flooding of their whole system with either water or gases - be they denser or lighter than air. As regards car exhausts and other such gassing tricks, the same problem applies. Moles will simply seal off any part of their tunnel that becomes gas- filled.   

       The vacuum technique is ingenious and works (I believe) for gophers, but not for moles, for some reason.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2008
  

       // cheapest way, just attach a hose to a running car's exhaust pipe //   

       With oil the price it is, we question this assertion.   

       // English moles are more cunning //   

       This is true; in England, even the moles are cleverer than mere Foreigners.   

       We can confirm that early experiments, based on flooding the mole's tunnels with a propane/air mixture and then firing it with a pyrotechnic igniter, were unsatisfactory from a mole-extermination viewpoint; it merely persuaded them to change the location of their burrows. To be really effective, it is necessary to introduce a stoic mixture of fuel gas and air (with a similar density to normal air, so it doesn't "pool") into the run; experiments using natural gas (methane) were more satisfactory, producing a noticeable surface displacement over a much wider area. This was done by introducing the probe of a calibrated flammable gas detector into the run furthest from the gas injection point, and pumping in gas until the meter registered 9% (above the LEL for methane in air).   

       Apart from one cracked window, and an over-enthusiastic member of the experimental team losing the greater part of their facial hair (including some nasal hair - fortunately he was wearing goggles), this was entirely successful. However, a limitation of the technique was identified in that (a) the rate of delivery of gas from a domestic supply was disappointingly slow (despite adjusting the meter's pressure regulator) and it took a considerable time for the FGD to crawl up to the desired concentration. (b) more seriously, it is impossible to control how far the gas will percolate, and in this case it infiltrated some distance onto an ajoining property; fortunately, not only was the owner of said property part of the experimental team, but he too was heartily sick of the little furry buggers wrecking his lawns. His wife, however, was not entirely impressed by his appearance as he insisted on watching the effect from a point close to a particulalrly virulent molehill in hs garden and hence recieved the full benefit of the blast.   

       We still reccommend using det cord; by measuring it off, the extent of the damage, sorry, treatment can be precisely manipulated.   

       NB: If using the gas method, remove the gas detection probe from the run before firing, as the sensor can be damaged .....
8th of 7, Jan 05 2008
  

       Well I assumed normal flooding would fail. I assumed that the burrows would be designed with low drainage holes and air pockets that would allow air to be stored till drainage could occur. For that reason I thought the presence of the gas would drve them to the pockets and thus solve the air part of the fuel air problem, but my knowledge here is all conjecture.   

       I thought the exhaust might work because the gas is unbeathable and would drain slower than water, so after a while the moles would leave high ground only to find no air and not know why. They certainly undestand water flooding, but gas flooding is different and there would be soooo much of it. I would think it would get everywhere.   

       What about an oderless gas like Argon? We had three guys drown in a tank filled with argon and they went down on at a time! Now I realize these were welders and not rocket scientists, but you would like one of them would have been smarter than a mole, maybe even an English mole, but maybe not. Heck the mole could drown after leaving the argon, unless he knew enough to hang by his tail and let it drain out.
MisterQED, Jan 05 2008
  

       // welders and not rocket scientists //   

       Hey, enough of that ! We can weld pretty well, actually, but we have more sense than to wander into tanks full of inert gas ......   

       Can moles hang by their tails ? Mole tails are pretty small.....
8th of 7, Jan 05 2008
  

       An inert gas might do the trick - perhaps even nitrogen. But I suspect moles sense oxygen levels rather than (as humans do) CO2 levels.   

       Mole tails are not prehensile, but you can pick them up by them - they can't twist around enough to bite you.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2008
  

       The trouble is that if they sense oxygen depletion they just come to the surface and scuttle off into the undergrowth, and they move like greased shit ... an airgun's useless, has to be a shotgun. They ventilate their tunnels by making the roofs close to the surface and fairly porous. That's why it took so much methane to flood them.   

       // can't twist around enough // We didn't let any of the little bastards live long enough to check that out, but thanks for the info.
8th of 7, Jan 05 2008
  

       "Moles are smarter than most people and more pleasant company by far." Spoken by Kevin Costner, who starred in the famous Holywood blockbuster "Dances with Moles".
xenzag, Jan 05 2008
  

       // We didn't let any of the little bastards live long enough to check that out, but thanks for the info.// I've taken about half a dozen moles alive, and they're very cute when they're on their way to someone else's estate. However, Cockerring the Head Gardener doesn't really like me messing with the lawn - hence our search for a more final solution.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2008
  

       // very cute when they're on their way to someone else's estate //   

       This is not disputed, if there were an effective, humane way to remove them and get them to stay away it would be used. The problem arises when the property adjoins a large expanse of agricultural land infested with moles; removing them means that more migrate in.   

       The speculation is that the collapsed tunnels and the unique odour of decaying desd moles deters further investigation by their admittedly cute, and in the right place, laudable, bretheren and sisteren.   

         

       // final solution //   

       We reccommend Zyklon-B.
8th of 7, Jan 05 2008
  

       //removing them means that more migrate in.// Possibly true. I'm not sure if a dead-mole smell deters them, though - moles have very little sense of smell.   

       [UB] Your plan is not without merit, and suffers only from the inherently problematic nature of training moles. Nevertheless, I'll put it to Cockerring (or maybe to old Cattes the dog handler - maybe more up his street) and see what can be done.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2008
  

       I'm afraid you'd have to take that up with our head cider-maker.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2008
  

       Well, there was that time back in '73 when Cattes' junior tried to retrieve his model aeroplane before the cider press crushed it. Very nasty business, had to give Mrs. Cattes the week off.   

       However, sheep heads are reputed to be an essential ingredient of the more lethal types of scrumpy.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2008
  

       // scrumpy //   

       Otherwise known, wherever drunks fall backwards into a ditch, as "suicider" ......   

       The idea of recruiting a specially trained "judas" mole, possibly while they are still at university, seems a good idea; however, to be effective, received wisdom is that at least three, possibly four, moles with strong ideological motivation are needed. Quite how one goes about the process of recruiting and indoctrinating moles to work against their own society is in need of further research as available comparative models are somewhat thin on (or under) the ground. However, blackmail plots using attractive female moles to lure the target moles into compromising situations, where they can be discreetly filmed, is a possibility.   

       It is possible that the subversive training of moles is just one of those vital rural skills that has been lost in the hurly-burly of modern life, rendered obsolete by sophisticated brain-washing techiques, poison gas, and explosives. A literature search for previous references to mole-training as an occupation in church records may possibly yield a clue as to when the craft began to die out.   

       // moles have very little sense of smell.//   

       They compensate for this (and their limited eyesight, although they are not - contrary to popular belief - actualy blind) by having exceptional hearing and sensetivity to vibration, parlty through their whiskers. Some mole repelling devices use high frequencies to persuade them to depart. Practical tests of this equipment were unsatisfactory, unless the whole area could be saturated on a one-metre grid pattern with the devices.
8th of 7, Jan 05 2008
  

       //high frequencies to persuade them to depart. Practical tests of this equipment were unsatisfactory// Quite so. The most effective ones are those things that have an ultrasonic generator mounted on a probe that you stick into the ground near a mole run. There's at least a finite chance that, in inserting the probe, you'll stab the mole.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2008
  

       Well the title is "Pyrotechnic mole remover", so if you could scatter them and trap one, couldn't you turn him into a "trojan" mole? i.e. Send him back into the nest with some kind of explosive surprise? Or better catch a dozen and send them all in and set them off at once during some kind of mole sleep hour?   

       How about a robomole? Take a mole shaped tube, put treads on four sides coming back in the center for propulsion, USB camera at the front and maybe a BB gun at the nose. Control and power it with 2 pair drag wires.
MisterQED, Jan 05 2008
  

       // Send him back into the nest// For the most part, moles are not social animals.   

       //How about a robomole?// This I like better, much better.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 05 2008
  

       my uncle said you can catch one, burn it but not kill it, and let it go, all the moles will leave after that. any old timers out there heard of this? I like your idea to blast them , I thought you were supposed to use propane.
cornpad, Jan 05 2008
  

       //My uncle said..// Hmmm. What else did he say?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 06 2008
  

       I like moles, and I especially like songs about moles (see link) A mole can be your best and most loyal friend. Little known fact about Moles: All moles weigh exactly the same. i.e. one gram mole.
xenzag, Jan 06 2008
  

       Moles would be quite acceptable if (a) they did not turn my croquet lawn into a tank- testing ground or if (b) they had five legs rather than four.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 06 2008
  

       [Max], have you tried taking away their spades? Then they can't dig up your lawn...
Jinbish, Jan 06 2008
  

       Yes, but why pick my lawns? They have the remaining 97% of England at their disposal.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 06 2008
  

       I'm in a community garden and have lost five tomato plants this week to a gopher. I've looked at all the options, but the most boring appears to be the simplest - traps.   

       I'm running into some resistance from the sweetheart regarding explosives and other flammables.
normzone, Jul 11 2009
  

       surely among the CG denizens must be one other individual like yourself who you can blame for the fireworks (and vice-versa)
FlyingToaster, Jul 11 2009
  

       [norm], you're facing what's known as a Critical Life Choice. You need to decide between a future of boring domesticity, and All The Pretty Toys.   

       Remember, it is better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness .......
8th of 7, Jul 11 2009
  

       Speaking of flamethrowers, I've added a few links to real gardening equipment...
ye_river_xiv, Jul 12 2009
  

       //it is better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness// Marked-for-marking.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 12 2009
  
      
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