Farmers Enjoy Battling Burrowing Pests-When They Win

by Andy Brown

The Rodenator blows up pests and their tunnels, with no toxic residues, poisons or high costs of traditional pest control.

In the battle against burrowing pests, farmers always come out the loser. They lose money and time, and no matter how many they eliminate, the pests always come back. Many use expensive professional pest control companies that can cost thousands of dollars. 

While pest control methods have covered everything from shooting, to traps, to poisons and gases, trapping is ineffective in removing large populations, poisons are dangerous--particularly due to collateral damage of pets or other wildlife--and other methods are unsafe, ineffective and expensive.

However, now frustrated farmers are able to not only eliminate burrowing rodents rapidly and safely, but even have fun doing it. The fun is from their new weapon--and a weapon it is. Farmers, ranchers and nurseries now have the Rodenator Pest Elimination System. The Rodenator is capable of delivering a precision underground shock wave to the targeted animals' tunnels and dens. Not only does the Rodenator system eliminate pests rapidly, but it also collapses the tunnel systems of some species to prevent reinfestation. 

Essentially, you blow the pests up.

Asked about its effectiveness, Brett Johnson, who farms 20 acres of hay in Hollister, Calif., says, "On a serious gopher infestation problem, I experienced a 95 to 98 percent kill rate my first pass through using the Rodenator."

Manufactured by Midvale, Idaho-based Meyer Industries, the Rodenator system injects a calibrated mix of propane and oxygen into the targeted rodent's burrow. Since propane is heavier than air, the gaseous mix sinks to the lowest parts of the burrow where the nest usually is. When the operator electronically activates this mixture of blended gases from the end of the application wand, the oxygen mixture rapidly expands at 5,000 feet per second, creating a high-pressure shock wave that kills the rodent and collapses the tunnel systems of many burrowing species.

"The concussive shock wave travels about a mile per second down the tunnels," explains Johnson. "When it can't expand any further, it takes the path of least resistance, pushes upward, and blows the tunnels apart, burying the critters underneath."

More traditional pest control measures, such as traps, poison, shooting and introducing natural predators have as a main drawback limited effectiveness. In addition, they tend to be slow and time-consuming.

Farmers, growers, ranchers and others long frustrated with the relative ineffectiveness and drawbacks of traditional pest elimination methods are rapidly turning to the Rodenator system. 

Gino Favagrossa had tried using traditional pest control methods against ground squirrels on the 200 production acres he manages at the CSU Fresno orchard. The squirrels were a particular problem on a 60-acre block of rangeland converted into an almond grove.

"The squirrels would kill young trees, eating the tree roots, and of course take the nuts from the mature trees," explains Favagrossa. "They like to bore under trees, which reduces the tree's vigor, and causes some dripline damage from chewing. Because the orchard floor needs to be even for equipment to pick up the nuts, their dirt mounds can also disrupt the harvest."

Favagrossa has found the Rodenator very useful from spring to early summer, when the squirrels are coming out of hibernation. "Because the females are tending their young then, they often won't come out of their holes. That's when the system works best. And when checking water, if we see a squirrel go down a hole, we'll blow the hole. The only drawback is the noise. We farm in an urban environment, so we must consider time of use and location."

"The system has been very effective in helping control our squirrel infestation at Fresno State," concludes Favagrossa. "It's increased the efficiency of our eradication efforts. Anyone dealing with a burrowing pest problem should at least consider it as part of their arsenal."

The biggest bang for your buck
For eliminating burrowing pests--from gophers, ground squirrels, moles, voles, groundhogs and prairie dogs to rats, foxes, coyotes and woodchucks--a growing number of individuals are turning to the Rodenator system for relief. Registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, it's providing fast, effective, environmentally safe burrowing pest control.

After trying trapping, poison and the usual methods, Johnson turned to the Rodenator to eradicate a plague of gophers so numerous in his hay field "that the ground looked rototilled, though it hadn't been touched for years."
He drove out in his ATV looking for fresh mounds, dug with a shovel to find the gopher runs, inserted the application wand, timed off the mix of propane and oxygen dispensed, and ignited it.

Because the system ignites the mixture of propane and oxygen immediately, it leaves no chemical residue behind--so it is safe and clean for use on farms and in agricultural environments. 

"There's no need to worry about leftover chemicals, or poisoning your neighbor's pets, because the gas is dissipated at use," explains Johnson. "Anywhere the little buggers come up, I give them a welcome committee they won't forget."

"All methods are somewhat effective," continues Johnson, "but the Rodenator is where you get the biggest bang for your buck. It not only destroys the targeted pest, but also the tunnel system to stop reinfestation. It's simple, direct, fast, with no need to set, bait or check traps. Once I find the gopher mound, I could treat it in about one and a half minutes and be off to the next one. It brings the fight to the pest, so you don't have to wait around."

A Rodenator system comes complete with hoses, regulators, safety equipment, applicator, stainless steel shovel, a comprehensive instruction manual and training DVD. The new R3 Pest Elimination System adds wired detonation up to 25 feet from the source with 20 percent more power. 

For more information, call 800-750-4553; fax 208-369-4030; visit; email; or write to Meyer Industries at P.O. Box 39, Emmett, ID 83617.

Andy Brown is a technical writer based in Torrance, Calif.