Episode 23: Exploding House

Air Date: November 16, 2004

Overusing bug bombs can explode a house.


A house actually exploded in San Diego, California because a family used too many bug bombs and an accidental spark ignited the chemicals in the air, as the MythBusters were able to prove in their test.

Talking helps plants grow.


Seven small greenhouses were set up on the M5 Industries roof. Four were set up with stereos playing endlessly looping recordings (as having the Mythbusters actually talk to the plants could contaminate the samples with their expelled carbon dioxide): Two of negative speech, two of positive speech (Kari and Scottie each made one positive and one negative soundtrack), a fifth with classical music and a sixth with intense death metal music. A seventh greenhouse, used as a control sample, had no stereo. The greenhouses with the recordings of speech grew better than the control, regardless of whether such talk was kind or angry. The plants in the greenhouse with the recording of classical music grew better, while the plants in the greenhouse with the recording of intense death metal grew best of all.

Modern technology can render the phrase "like finding a needle in a haystack" obsolete.


Adam and Jamie compete against each other in a contest to bust an old adage. While Jamie teamed up with Christine and Scottie in a machine known as Dante’s Inferno which burned the hay to leave the needles behind, Adam, Kari, and Tory used the Needlefinder 2000, a machine that relied on water to separate needles from the hay (in the theory that needles would sink in water while hay floated). Each team had to locate four needles among ten bales of hay – three of steel of varying sizes and one of bone. While it is possible to find a needle in a haystack, even using specialized machines to do so takes a considerable amount of time, particularly since bone needles can’t be picked up by magnets. The task is difficult enough to still make the saying viable.


  1. Brad Bonecutter says:

    I performed a science experiment testing the effects of music on plant growth, using classical, country, and rock music, and I found that the classical was only marginally better (.2cm) and Rock was second best, with country having the highest height. More details avaliable if requested.

    • Teresa McCulloch says:

      We would love to see the results if you have them, one of my 5th grade students is trying this and not having great success. Thanks

  2. Frank says:

    Just wondering if you knew either what song or what band that death metal they played for the plants was. I really liked that song.

    • Marc Klitgaard says:

      Pure Hatred by Chimaira

  3. J. Clayton says:

    while travelling in a car, my friend put a tape on that was of the sound of plants growing. It sounded extremely like the death metal music. Just a thought…

    • Bryce says:

      How can you hear a plant grow… moron

      • Matt says:

        Try looking it up rather than making yourself look like a jerk. I grew up in Iowa, corn country, and at certain times of the growing season you can hear it grow because it can grow up to 6 inches a day.

        • Kim says:

          6 inches? What a wow! I’ve never heard about such an extreme growth of a plant. If it’s real, i’d like to “hear” it grow once! ^^

  4. bryce says:

    Yes i watched that episode and i loved it. I also was wondering if you could tell me the name of the band that they played for the heavy metal song? thanks

    • cody says:

      Pure Hatred by Chimaira

  5. caleb says:

    You would have to be really worried about bugs in your house to put that much in.

  6. skyler says:

    in my experiment in playing music to plants, I used metal, country, classical, and Jazz. Jazz was the best of all. I was using small, fragile basil plants.

  7. meh says:

    yeah i wanna know the exact same thing as “bryce” i wanna know the name of the death metal song

    • cody says:

      Pure Hatred by Chimaira

  8. Fitch says:

    i watched that eposode but every one else that did the test they got totally different results, they got that classical music made plants grew twice the speed of regular plants or plants that listind to rap or rock. what did the mythbusters team do different than the other people?

  9. Tommo says:

    The Heavy metal song from that episode was -Pure Hatred by Chimaira

  10. alahos says:

    Maybe the plants grow more because vibrations help the adsorption/desorption of gases?

    • Kim says:

      It really a possibility, i’m also looking for researches on the issue. I think your idea is truly an option. Perhaps the waves from the sound somehow affect the water molecules in the plants thus enhance the gas and the metabolism of them.

  11. angy says:

    I’m doing the plant experiment now, and the plants that have music played to them are doing far better than the plants without regardless of whether it’s rock or classical

  12. Rubylou says:

    In Year 10,way back in the 70s, my friend and I conducted a science experiment in which we played music to bean plants. The choices were classical, soft rock (hey – we were only 15) and the control which heard nothing. We found they grew better – taller with bigger leaf areas – to soft rock. Both sets of musical beans grew better than the controls.

    My mother was very disappointed at our findings (she hated my music) – but we won a small prize and got to display our work at a convention.

    We decided the answer is that plants respond to vibrations from the music – rock music has more vibrations, death metal has the most I would assume.

    So if you want a nice garden, try playing your plants some Yes or Zeppelin (I’m still in the 70s).

    • Kim says:

      ^^ It sounds so nice. So it is the vibration really stimulates the growth of plants? Do you think that the plants respond differently to “live” sounds like talking, direct singing compared to those from radios or cds? However, there is a small experiment of Emoto Masaru also states the impact of music on water though it revealed that Death metal actually destroys the structure of water instead of any positive effects….

  13. Dragonfyre says:

    With the plants growing to music, there are several varieties, it seems, to what plants like. The Mythbusters had plants that liked heavy metal, but they’ve also seemed to respond well to jazz, country and rock.
    There may need to be a list of plants, and their musical preferences.

  14. chico says:

    this is for a little myth buster episode-does weed or mary jane or cannabis what ever you want to call it but does weed ash make your hair grow if you applie it to your skin

    • Nelly says:

      This is what I am wondering …I’ve heard this more then once. & I live in florida. I wondered if only people here say it.

  15. michael says:

    i thought the big explosion was cool wish i could do it but im just a kid. oh yeah the Appliances in the bath myth freak me out a little!

  16. Jim says:

    Wasn´t the crew worried about breathing in all those bug bombs when they were doing the experiment? The stuff is basically nerve gas, isn´t it?

  17. justin says:

    I’m doing this for my school science fair!!!!! :)

    • Kim says:

      What is “school science fair”? We dont do such of things in Vietnam secondary or high school. Is it a special event for scientific students only?

  18. Dave says:

    i am about to test music and plant growth.
    what do people suggest is the best way of playing the music to the plants. at the moment i only have ipod headphones, im not sure if this is the best way…. what do you suggest?

    • Ciaran says:

      Surround sound system playing heavily base boosted dance house or dubstep.

    • Kim says:

      yeah, the volume may also affect the result and did you actually carry out the experiment, Dave?

      • someone says:

        i guess there are much that varies like type of plant, volume, genre (tempo-vibration), frequency, conditions (lots of things). but most experiments so far show that music in general 100% got an effect on plants

  19. Anonymous says:

    What season is this? I am doing this for my science fair and want to watch mythbusters episode for ideas and information

    • Jens says:

      Season 3, episode 10

  20. fuglyestjedi says:

    wonder if those two mythbusters ever decided to use any results for positive world enhancements, like asking heavy metal bands to play live music at some farmer fields, to help crops grow 6 times larger, or 6 times faster as to help people out with maybe cheaper or more plentiful harvest in the only oasis in this galaxy? hmmm, makes me wonder why they always want to expend energy, like blowing stuff up, or have a wasteful fetish…gravity over density had put stored energy in the ground, and the mythbusters only want to use it to , waste on instant expenditures.
    possible a little childish.or thou just has a different perspective.

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