Hi there! I am the one who managed to get rid of mice in the house simply by using traps. It has been an uneasy path, some things I learned by trial and error but eventually I have gained huge experience that I am going to share with you now. To succeed, the primary task you should solve is to get a thorough understanding of mouse trapping. For me, this is an entire philosophy that includes the knowledge of mouse behaviour and possible pitfalls you should better avoid.
- How do mouse traps work?
- How I learned to lure mice into the trap (My story)
- How effective is mouse trapping
- Types of Mouse Traps: Which One Is the Best?
- Best Snap Traps
- Best Glue Trap
- Best Live Catch Traps
- Best Electronic Traps
- 8 Rules On How To Use Mouse Traps
- When Is Trapping Better Than Poisoning?
- F.A.Q on How to Use Mouse Traps & How Trapping Depends On The Place
Let’s start with the technique. There is a variety of mouse traps on the market — from the simplest to the most complex and hi-tech ones. This multitude of devices mainly differs in the way they kill mice and the level of comfort they offer to the user. So you may set a snap trap which is as old as a grandma’s box and is designed to kill mice in a crude and cruel way. Or you may take advantage of advanced technologies and try an electronic trap to electrocute mice instantly, without causing emotional distress to the housemates.
Much depends on the type of the trap you have chosen, however, there are some general considerations. First of all, you need to lure the animal in the device. To this end, bait the trap and do it in the right way. Forget everything you learned from cartoons! Mice do eat cheese but it is not their top priority.
So what do they prefer?
I guess, most of these items you get in the kitchen. These are primarily fruits, meat, and grains. Mice adore sweets. Peanut butter, chocolate, candies — the sweeter and the fatter the bait is the better.
Rodents distinguish fresh food and give preference to it. Even better, they are likely to ignore spoiled food, contrary to popular belief that they are dirty animals. So give them what you cook for yourself — a fresh bacon or hot dog. However, mice can be cannibalistic and devour their own babies or tails, something that we definitely will not include in our list.
Where to place traps
Another important factor for success is the right location. Never set traps in the middle of the room since mice move through the house along the walls.
The best places for traps are those in the areas where mice forage and establish their nests. And here is one more tip — set traps toward the wall, in dark places and behind the furniture or other objects in the room that would give the mice a false sense of security.
I was 23 when I first faced a problem of mice scurrying within my walls. I guess it was due to a warehouse opened in our neighborhood, right next to the house where I live. I have to admit that panic was my first reaction. Then, there was fuss. I rejected the option of using poisons, fearing that they could pose a risk to my dog Joe and relied entirely on trapping. The first thing I did was purchasing a load of traps. The next thing was to wonder why all this stuff does not work.
It took me time to realize that trapping is philosophy requiring the knowledge and patience. In other words, I had to first examine the mice that had settled in my house and only then attempt to outwit them. So I turned on a camera for the night in the room where I detected mice activity. Actually, it took me two night to learn about their routes because I had to change the position of the camera. Now, I knew where to place traps.
After that, I started looking for the best bait. I learned from my experience that the best bait is a combination of various food items with a strong smell. My favorite mix was peanut butter, a cracker and chocolate.
The third point in my plan was tactics. This means that I was unpredictable to mice. I changed the location of traps. I removed traps and was not setting them for several days and then the traps emerged again. I was leaving baits without activating the device in order to make the mice get used to it as a source of food for them. And so on and so forth. The idea is to be creative, alert and not to be lazy. And things have worked out!
Actually, it depends on the challenge you face. If you have an army of rodents in the house, traps will solve the problem only partially because you will not be able to catch as many mice, no matter how many traps you set. Moreover, mice are smart and can learn from experience, including that of other mice. Urban mice are particularly smart as living next to people, they have learned our tricks and how to avoid them.
The second factor is the area size. Traps are great for rooms and middle-size houses. As for large areas, such as farms, traps will be useless unless you are aware of the exact place of the mouse breeding ground and given their number is small. As a rule, it is impossible to cover the whole area with traps while buying so many items will simply bankrupt you!
To be honest, in order to make mouse trapping successful, you should not rely solely on traps. What do I mean? You should take some steps before setting traps.
- First, seal and screen openings, through which mice penetrate into your house. Otherwise, all your further efforts would be futile.
- Get rid of the garbage and other unnecessary stuff inside and outside.
- What is the point of killing mice if you personally build shelters for them?
- And finally, stop leaving the food right and left. The food must be stored in containers, tightly closed, and in specified areas. This is also true with pet meals, by the way.
When I was first starting out trapping, I was curious to know what scientists think about this method. I have reviewed relevant literature and came to see that experts see trapping as an effective method to eradicate mice — but with the caveat that the number of mice is small and that you are dealing with them inside the house, garage or other building.
Robert A. Pierce, a wildlife specialist at the University of Missouri listed the main strong points of mouse trapping.
- You do not have to deal with dangerous rodenticides.
- You see firsthand the success of your efforts
- You do not have to bother with searching for dead bodies. Speaking from my experience, these are often vain efforts. You smell the rotting corpse but have no idea about where it can be located because when sick the mouse hides in the most hard-to-rich areas.
Basically, mouse traps can be metal, plastic or wooden. But that does not tell us too much, so I will classify these devices depending on the operation principle.
Snap Trap is an old unsophisticated and a cheap way of killing mice. Once a rodent gets the bait placed on the heavy wooden platform, the latch releases and the metal clamp shuts, smashing the animal. In my point of view, this method is cruel since you never know whether the clamp has killed or just mauled the poor guy.
It is designed to break the neck of the captured mouse but in real life, this happens in different ways... Some individuals manage to escape with a trap, though crippled. So if you still want to use a snap trap, tie a string to the device to prevent this from happening.
Tomcat Press 'N Set Mouse Trap
This trap is simple and cheap. Two items of it will cost you just a few dollars. Simple in use, it is set very easily — with one touch. The jaw has two rows of teeth, clamping down so that it can destroy the head of the trapped mouse. But generally, it contacts the mouse behind the neck and kills it effectively. For the user’s convenience, a grab-tab is built into the device, allowing for removing the dead body without touching it. The disadvantage is that you will have to clean the blood from the floor, so do not put the trap on the surfaces that can be damaged by staining. Some people just throw away the device together with the corpse.
Tomcat Press 'N Set: Check the current price
Victor M154 Metal Pedal Mouse Trap
This item comes at approximately the same price because you pay several dollars more but get a pack of eight traps. The 4-inch long trap has a wooden platform and a metal trip petal. Those people who tried it, say that the trap can yield results as soon as ten minutes after it was set in a place where mice have been seen. The device kills a mouse instantly, without making it suffer. However, it snaps hard so make sure that your pet cannot get a paw in it. As for downsides, it seems that the latching mechanism is not sensitive enough. Also, the device will catch small-size mice only, not the large ones.
Victor M154 Metal Pedal: Check the current price
Best Mouse Trap
The item is made of ABS plastic and stainless steel and is about four inches in length. It is more expensive than the previous products as you get a pack of six for more than ten dollars. It has a fast and precise trigger mechanism and is said to work better than its wooden analogs. Another strong point is a built-in bait cup, making it harder for a mouse to steal the bait. Apart from that, unlike wooden traps, its plastic surfaces does not stain and can be easily washed.
Best Mouse Trap: Check the current price
Tomcat Kill and Contain Mouse Trap
This item solves two problems at once — you will not have to witness the dead animal and the trap will not stain the floor or carpet it was placed on. Moreover, there is no risk of your pets being occasionally injured. One more benefit of the enclosed capture area is that you can use the device both indoors and outdoors. The product is the most expensive among the snap traps I have reviewed as you get just two traps for some ten dollars. To set the trap, press the arm on its side.
Tomcat Kill and Contain: Check the current price
Glue Trap is a board with glue applied on its surface to trap mice. Actually, I wonder why in our enlightened days we have to use such medieval methods of rodent control. Besides, this type of traps is effective in capturing but not killing mice. When a mouse steps on the platform, it gets stuck but is not killed. The glued animals will die later — deprived of food and water, the mouse will slowly die an agonizing death. Sometimes, in desperation, it may start gnawing off the stuck limbs, something that can only lead to the blood loss and sufferings.
Your housemates will have an emotional distress as well. The glued mouse will desperately squeak, waking anyone sleeping in the house. The only thing I can say in favor of glue traps is their low price. But believe me, the fight with mice is not something you should save on.
Tomcat Mouse Glue Trap
Just for a couple of bucks, you get 6 mouse-size traps which are positioned as the Number One glue trap in American. It contains the eugenol formula that enhances the surface’s stickiness. The 5-inch long trap is produced in the USA. If you cannot deal with a live critter stuck on a trap, you will have to wait at least a day until they die. The stuck mouse struggles, hoping to escape but it leads to more body parts got stuck, with the torn skin and broken bones. Some people kill the captured animals themselves. Anyway, this will be a hard time both for you and for the stuck animal.
Tomcat Glue: Check the current price
After all the horrible details about glue traps, let’s have a look at a humane method of catching mice. Live Catch Trap is not meant for killing the captured rodents. This is a metal cage, inside which a bait is placed. When the mouse gets inside, the door slams automatically, trapping the rodent. But this is not the end of the story. The next step is to take the cage, carry it far away from home and release the rodent there. Another advantage of such traps is their price that can be quite low.
Authenzo Humane MouseTrap
Live catch traps can be made of metal or plastic. This item is of the latter type with an advantage of being lightweight and cheaper. You pay a bit more than ten dollars and get the trap weighing no more than ten ounces. The device is about seven inches in length which are enough space for an average mouse. The product is made of a durable ABS material, with several holes on two sides so that the captured mouse could not suffocate. Place the bait in a special section inside the trap and open the spring door. Once the mouse enters the trap, the door closes without harming the animal. In order to release the critter, lift the compartment, in which you placed the bait.
Authenzo: Check the current price
Rinne Traps — Multi-Catch
Quite an unusual — and I would say experimental — version of a live catch trap. The idea is to lure the mouse into climbing the ramp that triggers the mechanism and the mouse falls into a bucket. The bait should be placed both inside the bucket and on the ramp’s nose. The trap resets automatically, something that makes it a multi-catch device.
In my thinking, it is quite a questionable way of capturing the mice as there is no guarantee that the mice will not be able to get out. Moreover, the mouse in the bucket can communicate to others on the ramp about the danger they face. The producer suggests using a five-gallon bucket with four traps at once. This live catch trap is more expensive than the previous one, but why not to try it?
Rinne: Check the current price
And finally, there is an electronic trap. Such devices exploiting advanced technologies give the best results and are believed to be humane. They kill the captured mouse by an electric shock. The captured animal dies instantly, literally in seconds, and in an absolutely bloodless way. Moreover, you will not have to deal with the mouse droppings, which is the case when the previous types of traps are used.
Electronic traps have many other benefits — they are convenient to use, easy to clean and dispose of the dead mouse. In addition, once the mouse gets into the trap, there will be no way to escape. And yet, this method has some downsides. First, such trap would come at a price since it will cost you more than twenty dollars. Secondly, you cannot set an electronic trap outdoors if there is rain or other unfavorable weather conditions.
Victor M250S Electronic Mouse Trap
This electronic trap for some twenty dollars is designed to kill about one hundred mice until it runs out of charge. An advanced technology detects the animal entering the trap and triggers an electric shock. The special beveled case leaves no chance for the captured mouse to escape. As you can see from the picture, the dead mouse will not be visible and, therefore, no discomfort for you. Moreover, a killing chamber is easily removed to dispose of the body, place the bait or clean the trap.
Victor M250S: Check the current price
Victor M1 Smart-Kill Wi-Fi Electronic Mouse Trap
The fundamental distinctive feature of this electronic trap compared with the previous one is that it has Wi-Fi. Once the rodent is caught, the device sends you a message on a mobile phone. This is a good feature since, as we have learned, the sooner you remove the dead mouse the better. Another strong point of this item is a built-in safety switch, which is crucial for preventing your children and pets from touching the dangerous mechanism. This high-tech mouse trap is the most expensive product coming at a price of somewhere around one hundred dollars.
Victor M1 Smart-Kill Wi-Fi: Check the current price
Comparison Table On Mouse Trap Effectiveness
Tomcat Press 'N Set
A simple, inexpensive and traditional way of killing mice. A universal method both for indoors and outdoors. /
Victor M154 Metal Pedal
Best Mouse Trap
Tomcat Kill and Contain
Tomcat Glue Trap
The cheapest option. Effective in catching mice but not killing them. /
A humane and clean way of getting rid of mice. /
A mouse dies instantly. Safe for kids and pets. Does not stain surfaces. /
Victor M1 Smart-Kill Wi-Fi
Generalizing my experience, I have drawn up the rules on how to set mouse traps effectively. These are the following:
How many mouse traps do I need?
When planning your spending on rodent control, bear in mind that you will have to set many traps even though you have just several mice. As a rough estimate, you will need 5 or 6 traps per mouse. I would also like to warn you against being overly confident about your awareness of the number of mice in the house. You may see just a few of them and, besides, they reproduce very quickly — every three weeks. So be sure that you have enough traps to set one item every two to three feet along the wall where signs of mouse activity have been detected.
How to set mouse traps?
It depends on the type of a trap. Setting an electronic trap is simple — just turn on the device. As for snap traps, first, release the arm bar. Then, place the bait under the trigger mechanism, not on its top. Place the arm bar over the killing bar and secure it.
How to lure mice into your traps?
Place the bait inside the trap. Here are some tips to make your bait more effective — it should have a strong smell and should combine a number of different food items. Sweets, corns, peanut butter and ham are most likely to attract a mouse. A good idea is to mix bits of cracker with butter to use the mixture as a bait.
How often should I check the mouse traps?
Check the traps every day. Firstly, this is necessary because the captured mouse will have fewer chances to escape, something that happens from time to time. Secondly, feces and urine of the captured mouse can be a source of infection, so you should remove them as soon as possible. The best time to inspect your traps is the morning.
How do I know when I have caught all the mice?
Not seeing mice does not mean there is not any. To know that for sure, look for such signs of their presence as feces and urine as well as their odors, gnawed holes or marks of gnawing, strange noises, scratching sounds, and untypical behavior of your pets.
How to outwit the mice so that they do not avoid traps?
I will give you some tips. Put on gloves when setting the traps because the smell of the human body frightens off rodents. Change baits regularly. Check traps as frequently as possible. Once the mice see their dead family member in the trap, they will surely avoid it in the future. Do not forget to clean the trap thoroughly after each use. And finally, be patient and make pauses in trapping.
Where to put a mouse trap?
Mice fear open spaces, so set mouse traps along walls where they usually travel. Place the bait and trigger end toward the wall in order to enhance the chances that the rodents will be captured. All kinds of concealed and dark areas, for example behind the cabinets, would be a good location for traps.
Do mouse traps suit for rats?
A typical mouse trap is too small for rats. You may catch a young rat but generally using mouse traps for rat control is not a good idea.
When I talked to people who had to deal with a mouse infestation, they generally divided into two camps — those who view poisoning as the only effective solution and those who find it unacceptable. In fact, it is not that simple. There is a number of conditions you should take into account when making a decision.
Let’s start with the number of mice. With a few of them in the house, it would be unwise to apply poisons as any poisonous substances are toxic and pose a risk to a living being. In any case, you should better start with trapping to learn the approximate level of a mouse infestation in the house.
So another factor is a potential risk to your family members, pets or livestock — the latter is essential in case you are a farmer. Poisons can be placed in bait stations with narrow entrances but this protective measure does not fully eliminate the risk. A mouse can drag the poison out of the station and your pets and children will be able to reach it. Some pets are too inquisitive to leave such a “toy” at their disposal. Livestock can also be endangered.
And finally, do not forget about the problem with dead corpses. When poisoned, the mouse feels sick and goes to die in hard-to-reach hidden places. You may even never know where the mouse is, whereas the strong putrid smell will hardly go unnoticed. Apart from unpleasant feelings, a mouse corpse is a source of infection and diseases. When trapped, the mouse remains in place unless it manages to escape.
Pros and Cons of Using Mouse Traps
Now, let’s weigh the pros and cons of using mouse traps.
- Traps are not toxic. You do not need to worry about the risk of your pets and children being occasionally poisoned.
- Traps work great in combination with other solutions, as part of an integrated approach.
- You do not necessarily have to kill the captured mouse. Set a live catch trap to get rid of mice without killing them.
- Traps work quickly and solve the problem immediately in case you have just a few mice. In fact, you will get the first results the first night. And the first night is the most productive.
- When using traps, you do not have to deal with a problem of seeking the dead body and eliminating the smell of a rotting flesh.
- Under certain weather conditions, some traps will not work outdoors.
- Foes example, an electronic trap is generally not water-resistant while a glue trap can turn useless in a windy weather because it can be contaminated with dust.
- Mice are able to steal the bait from the trap and get away with it.
- Things like this happen to some traps.
- The stuck mouse often urinates and leaves feces, which can be hazardous to the health.
- Trapping is poor a weapon against a severe infestation and for large areas.
- You have to be creative and try to outwit these critters since mice may start avoiding the trap after the first mouse is captured.
What do I do if a mouse won't go near trap?
If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, Muhammad will come to the mountain. I guess these verses are for you. Maybe, it is not a mouse that should travel closer to the trap but rather the trap should be set closer to the mouse path. Try to detect the places where mice are most active. A good idea is to turn on the video camera for the whole night. In addition, change the bait in the trap, selecting food items with a stronger odor.
Can Mouse Traps Be Reused?
Snap traps, live cages, and electronic traps can be reused given they are not damaged. However, do not forget to clean them thoroughly.
Can Mouse Traps Hurt Cats And Dogs?
Curious pets can be hurt by a snap trap or got stuck in a glue trap. That is why you should not set traps in places where pets can reach them easily. The safest option for pets is an electronic trap that electrocutes only those inside the device.
Can It Kill Rats?
A mouse trap can kill a young or very small rat but the probability is low.
Can Mouse Traps Break Fingers?
A typical mouse trap will not break a human finger, however, this could not be ruled out.
Can It Kill Squirrels, Chipmunks, Snakes, Moles
Traps designed specifically for mice are intended for small rodents. A squirrel will be only maimed by a mouse snap trap. For chipmunks and moles, a rat trap will suit better. A snake can be caught in a mouse trap and there are interesting media reports on such cases. In Australia, a venomous snake stuck in a mouse trap. Ironically, the reptile was lured there by a mouse running away from the predator. I wonder whether the mouse did it deliberately? In any case, it will not be easy for you to repeat the success of that adventurous mouse.
Read our article: 9 Best Rat Traps Worth Buying
How To Clean It?
First of all, do not do it without gloves as you will be in danger of being infected. Then, disinfect the trap with bleach or any detergent. Place the dead mouse into a garbage can with a lid. And finally thoroughly wash your hands.
What Mouse Traps Do Exterminators Use
Exterminators usually decide between a snap trap, glue trap, electrical trap, and a live trap depending on the situation. The presence of children and pets will also influence their choice.
Are Mouse Traps Illegal
Mouse traps are legal in most countries but in some places there are restrictions. So using mouse glue traps without special approval is illegal in New Zealand, unauthorized trapping is banned in Ireland. Also, some corporations have also restricted the use of traps in their premises.
Are There Mouse Traps Without Killing Them?
Good live catch traps are available on the market. You catch them and release somewhere far away from the house. Such traps can be made of plastic or metal, with the latter being preferable. They also have to be baited to lure mice inside.
How Trapping Depends On The Place
You should better use an electronic trap or a live trap to catch mice in the car. The thing is that when stuck in a glue trap the mouse may defecate and can spoil the car’s interior. The snap trap also may not kill the mouse immediately but will rather maim it, which means that the mouse may urinate in desperation.
For attic/ ceiling
The best trap for attic is a snap trap. But you should set lots of them and in the right place — on the mouse runways. Repeat it until there are no noises in the attic or behind the wall at night.
For outside the house
Do not use glue traps and electronic traps outdoors. The former has adhesive on its surface while the latter is an electronic device that can malfunction when wet.
An electronic trap is recommended for garages as it is good for spacious rooms and premises. A snap trap and live capture cage will also do the job.
A snap trap would be the best bet for barns. You will have to set a huge amount of traps to cover the whole area. That is why you should opt for the snap trap that is generally inexpensive. Purchasing electronic traps for barns will definitely strain your wallet.
For the chicken coop
Snap traps are effective for chicken coops but make sure that you keep the devices out of reach of poultry. Buy special containment boxes with narrow entrances and put them upon traps.
For the kitchen
Actually, you should better set traps in the attic and basement rather than in the kitchen. This is because the latter is not normally their nesting place. If you still want to do it, choose an electronic trap. The thing is that we normally store food in the kitchen, while the captured mouse will urinate and leave feces, which poses a certain risk.
For the basement
In the basement, the same rule is applied as in the attic. Set a snap trap against the basement walls and as many as possible.
For the garden/yard
Traps are the most common method to control mice in the garden, with the snap trap being a top choice. Place snap traps every five to ten feet and change the bait on a daily basis because mice prefer fresh food. Also, make sure that pets cannot reach the trap.
Which mouse trap is the best?
In my humble opinion, since we live in the era of technological advances, we should enjoy the benefits of technical progress. In the days that robots are replacing millions of workers worldwide using a glue trap to catch a mouse is at least to say odd. Not only do we have electronic mouse traps, but they are also modernized and redesigned, as you can see from a Wi-Fi mouse trap.
Surely, such devices have their downsides and this is primarily about their price. For this reason, it is not cost-efficient to buy lots of them to cover large areas. This is where a snap trap can be a good option. For a handful of dollars, you will get a huge amount of traps to literary stuff the house with them. And finally, you should not dismiss a live catch cage. Remember, doing good is a natural need for any person, so if feel that you can do without a bloodshed, catch mice in order to release them later.