Do Moth Balls evaporate or rot?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by meanwhile, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. meanwhile

    meanwhile Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In another thread about skunks, someone suggested I put Moth Balls under the house to run off the skunks. My sister told me to use Moth balls to run off a snake once and we threw out about 12 balls near the barn and it smelled to high heaven. I know the Moth balls will melt in the rain, if outside. But, if I toss a few under the house to run off that skunk, how long will the Moth Ball smell last under the house? Do Moth balls evaporate or rot over time?

    I know the skunk smell is too nasty to even use the Cabin now but I would not want to replace the skunk smell only to have another stinky odor that I cannot get rid of either.

    Thanks.
     
  2. calliemoonbeam

    calliemoonbeam Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't know if they'll actually get rid of snakes or skunks, lol, but when I first moved to the country someone told me about the snakes, so I put mothballs everywhere around and under my mobile home. They did eventually evaporate, but I bet it was six months or more. It's a miracle I didn't poison myself, or maybe I did and I'm just too dense to realize it, lol. :p Good luck!

    P.S. I had the rest tied up in a plastic bag in an unused closet. I didn't realize how bad it stunk up the closet until I went to pull out the space heaters for cold weather. I took them outside, and the smell did go away in about a month, so if you just do a few it might not be so bad. I really went overboard when I put them under the mobile, lol.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010

  3. gladetop

    gladetop Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever smelled moth balls?
     
  4. Backfourty,MI.

    Backfourty,MI. Katie Supporter

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    ISomething must be wrong with me because I don't think they really stink. They smell & all but nothing I can't stand. Don't get me wrong I don't want my house to smell like moth balls all the time but I would rather smell those than skunks.

    We set a whole box in each one of Dh & I's deer blinds to keep unwanted critters out, along with decon. I don't think they smell that bad the next fall but they also get alot of fresh air.
     
  5. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Vocabulary lesson:

    Moth balls deliquesce or effloresce. The solid turns to a vapor.
     
  6. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    When a child I attempted to burn one with my old chemistry set. Now that IS NASTY. Black soot going everywhere and they do burn readily.
     
  7. o&itw

    o&itw aka avdpas77 Supporter

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    I think the proper word is sublimate. Napthalene does not usually "become liquid" or "melt away"
     
  8. wogglebug

    wogglebug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Mothballs sublime. That's not that they are sublime, like heavenly; but that they do sublime - technical term for evaporate by going directly from solid to gas without melting to a liquid in between.
     
  9. Hooligan

    Hooligan Well-Known Member

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    I scatter them in a few places every fall to deter the rodents from setting up shop. They are usually about half their original size in the spring.
     
  10. cowbelle

    cowbelle Well-Known Member

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    An animal control gal once recommended that I use moth balls to get a hibernating skunk out of a piece of furniture that had been stored in a barn, and a similar person recommended using them around a restaurant that was having a problem with mice. I used them around the pallet of dog food I used to buy, to keep mice from chewing the sacks and they worked as long as I kept them fresh - every few months or so. So they do work to repel most varmints - more so in enclosed spaces where the smell doesn't dissipate to quickly.
     
  11. Harry Chickpea

    Harry Chickpea Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'll be pedantic here for a moment, but there is a purpose.
    Yes, mothballs sublimate, which is one cool aspect of them. You can toss them in an area and they don't melt and soak the surface, and yet they give off a strong smell that can drive pests away. However -(this is the pedantic part)- they can and do turn into liquid when heated. One of the more memorable high school chemistry experiments is to measure the melting point of them and compute the latent heat of fusion. This is something that homeschoolers could set up OUTDOORS. Continued exposure to the fumes in high concentrations can result in napthalene poisoning.

    http://wiki.one-school.net/index.php/Changes_in_the_state_of_matter
     
  12. gladetop

    gladetop Well-Known Member

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    So how do you get thier tiny legs apart?:rotfl:
     
  13. meanwhile

    meanwhile Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thank you -- so I think I will toss a few moth balls under the Cabin too. Maybe that will help. The man who has the trap is going over to the Cabin tonight and set the trap. I will see what that does and then move on from there.

    Is there any Moth Balls....or should that be "Are" there any Moth Balls that stink less than other brands but are still effective? Or do they all smell the same? Maybe they have to stink to do the job?

    Thank you --
     
  14. meanwhile

    meanwhile Well-Known Member Supporter

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    OOOO - Harry Chickpea! Good link! My boys are looking at that site now. Thank you.
     
  15. Harry Chickpea

    Harry Chickpea Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You're welcome. I have to admit it was one of the high school labs that was more fun than others. The smell alone made it memorable, along with the comments once we exited the lab. (Have I mentioned my science teacher with the bushy eyebrows and obscure sense of humor was my favorite teacher?) I had never considered that mothballs could melt, much less heat of fusion. You can do similar experiments with water, but doing it with mothballs is just way more cool.

    If your boys have a science and building bent, get them a subscription to Make Magazine http://makezine.com/ and get some back issues. It is to today's kids what Popular Science was to kids of the 1950s.
     
  16. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As far as I recall, mothballs are either naphthalene or para-dichlorobenzene. I used the para-dichlorobenzene type to control wax moths in extra beekeeping equipment, and didn't use napthalene for that. It could make a difference as to the type of mothballs you are talking about.
     
  17. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    When I was a teenager, I would dissolve a box of moth balls in a gallon of gasoline to add to the tank before filling up my truck.
     
  18. meanwhile

    meanwhile Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Shrek? What did that do? Are you kidding? Why did you do that?

    Thanks everyone - we put moth balls in small boxes and set them inside all five crawl space doors. ....now we are waiting to see what happens next. Thank you.
     
  19. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So--which kind of mothballs is everyone talking about???
     
  20. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A suggestion: We also use them but put them in small baby food jars and put holes in the lids...Lids on TIGHT. Safety plan for children and pets.....