You've discovered you have a mouse problem and now they're all over your kitchen counters and in your food.
What should you do?
Mice are not animals that most people desire to have in or around their households.
They leave droppings and urine everywhere they go, which can cause serious diseases or illnesses like Salmonella or even the Plague.
If you don't act fast, they can cause expensive damage to your house, contaminate your food, and ruin your vehicle wiring if they invade your vehicle.
Removing all of their food sources, including your own food, can be tricky or next to impossible, but if you've tried shopping or even looking at mouse traps, you'll notice there's so many mouse traps to choose from.
How do you know which ones work and what if you grab the wrong one?
In this guide, we're going to give you a quick mousetrap 101.
We'll cover the different methods of mice control, types of mousetraps, and even a couple of tips and tricks to get the most out of your traps.
Here we go!
Methods of Eliminating Mice
There's all kinds of methods for handling and dealing with mice infestations, but each method has benefits and drawbacks and some methods will even work better in certain circumstances. So we'll start with the most common go-to.
Professional Pest Control
Professional pest control companies are usually one of the first methods people turn to. They're easy to find, and can quickly be located by browsing your phone book or even a simple Google search will turn up more local companies than you'll know what to do with.
They'll come out and consult with you to determine the severity of your problem and usually leave their own traps in strategic places, pre-baited already.
They handle everything while you get on with your daily life, but unfortunately, they can be expensive since everything from the consultation, to the traps and bait, are chargeable fees. These all tend to add up and unless you specify with them beforehand, they tend to use poisons that are both harmful to the environment and fatal to curious kids and pets who consume the bait.
Using professional pest control services is best for those who don't mind paying a professional to handle the problem without having to mess with setting traps or disposing of dead mice or rats and for those who have large pockets $$$.
Finding a “Mouser” is easy to do. Maybe too easy...
Just jump onto your local classified website, ask around, or check out your local animal shelters. Many times you can find a cat or two that are free or that have low adoption or re-homing fees.
For the most part, they can be affordable and easy to take of, but remember, they're a living animal that does require some care.
Just make sure they have a warm and dry place to sleep, food and water, and you keep up on their recommended preventive vet care, and you'll never need to remember to reset or bait traps again.
Because cats come with individual personalities and temperaments, some cats are better suited to being Mousers than others. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell whether or not a cat will be a mouse assassin extraordinaire, or if it will be lazy, so using cats for mice control can be a hit or miss and then you'll have even more free-loaders to deal with.
Rodent bait can be found at nearly any grocery or home goods store.
There's a variety to pick from and they're usually pretty easy on your pocket money wise. To use, most require setting a certain amount in an area that's out of the way where mice like to hang out.
The mice are often attracted to the smell of the bait and consume it, which kills the mouse upon consumption.
Most baits are harmful to the environment and any pets/children that handle or consume the bait, so you'll want to store them in out of reach areas away from pets and kids.
If you have a particularly bad infestation, they'll need to be changed frequently to remain effective, which depending on if you're dealing with an infestation, which can quickly add up in costs. There's also the unpleasant surprise of finding dead mice wherever they choose as their final resting place, and remember, if another animal eats the poisoned mouse, they'll become sick and require immediate veterinary care.
Mousetraps come in a variety of styles that can be easy or difficult to bait and set, depending on the design.
We'll discuss that more in a section further down.
If you're limited by a budget and don't mind having to mess with or clean up after the traps, they can be an inexpensive cure to your mouse infestation problem.
With these, you don't need to pay high consultation fees or for expensive and elaborate systems, simply follow the instructions for the individual trap/s and place them in high-traffic areas where you've noticed a lot of mice activity.
Chances are, if you did everything right, you'll catch quite a few within the first hours of use.
Because of their different designs and styles, some are more humane and easier to work with than others.
Let's talk about those in more detail.
Types of Mousetraps
As we mentioned, there are multiple types of mousetraps to choose from. These are the most commonly used types:
- Old-fashioned Wood Traps
- Glue Traps
- Plastic Snap Traps
- Live Traps
- Electronic Rodent Repellents
Electronic mouse traps often operate from batteries (4AA is common).
With these, you simply place them along walls or in corners where you've seen mice, and curious mice venture in. After entering, the mouse is electrocuted quickly and humanely.
The openings for these mousetraps are often big enough for a rodent to fit in, but too small for curious fingers and pets, making them safe to use around your pets and family.
Because of their design, they're great to use if you're squeamish around mice or can't handle seeing the dead mice, but these traps often have built-in indicator lights that alert you when you should empty the trap and reset it.
Cleanup is easy. Just dump the trap in your trash dumpster and reset.
Some are equipped to handle multiple rodents at one time, but others work best for just one mouse. You'll need to check the individual product's instructions to find out if it can handle the occasional mouse or two, or serious infestations.
The only real downside to these traps is they can be expensive and they can go through batteries quickly, so if you need multiple traps in a large area, you may want to look into a different approach.
Old-fashioned Wood Traps
Who could forget about the old-fashioned wood and spring mouse traps?
Commonly available at just a few bucks for a small package of 5 or more, they're inexpensive and can be placed in multiple areas for quick eradication.
After placing a very tiny dollop of mice bait (they love peanut butter!) on the baiting platter or spoon, carefully place the trap wherever you need to, being careful not to trigger the kill bar.
When the mouse eats off of or otherwise triggers the bait spoon, the spring is tripped and the kill bar quickly snaps behind the rodent's neck, killing it quickly.
Some people don't like using these because they can be tricky to set- and they seem to catch more fingers than mice. Ouch!
Others may find that mice and rats may be too “smart” for the traps and know how to steal the bait without setting the trap, so your bait-less and mouse-less. Very frustrating indeed.
Cleanup can be rough if you're squeamish.
You'll have to dispose of the dead mouse, which often means using rubber gloves to lift the spring to release the dead mouse, and occasionally cleaning up any blood pools or spatters. Yuck.
Glue traps are easy to set andddd sometimes forget.
These small-ish trays are filled with scented sticky glue that attracts and traps the mouse once it ventures onto the glue trap.
Something to be aware of with these types of traps is, they don't immediately kill the mouse or rat.
Instead, the rodent usually ends up starving to death or even suffocating if their heads or faces become stuck in the glue.
They're extremely sticky, so unless you've placed them in an out-of-the-way area, kids or animals can find themselves just as easily ensnared, making for a tricky mess.
Depending on how big of an infestation you're dealing with, they can become expensive since you'll need to replace them each time after you've caught a mouse.
To dispose of, you pick up the tray carefully avoiding the glue so you don't become stuck to it, and just toss into the trash dumpster outside. Most packages come with a set of 3 or more, but it depends on the manufacturer.
The other downside to using these is some mice and rats have been known to chew off their own limbs to free themselves, so it may not be worth the surprise.
Plastic Snap Traps
Plastic rat traps are easy to clean and use.
You'll like these if you like the effectiveness of the old-fashioned style of wood traps, but find setting mousetraps tricky. These types of traps often mimic a chip clip, so if you can operate a chip clip, you can use one of these easily.
Just pull back on the clip part and hold while placing the bait on the bait plate or in the bait cup.
After that, it's just a matter of placing them in your problem areas.
They usually come in a package of 3 or more so they're great if you need to place them in one or more areas. When it comes to clean up, just pull the clip part and release the dead mouse into your trash dumpster.
Rarely is cleaning up ever needed, but they can clean quickly with some hot soapy water and an old bristle brush.
Just be sure to dedicate that bucket and brush just for cleaning mousetraps. You don't want to use them anywhere else.
Some of the most common complaints about these mouse traps, is the mice can run off with the trap if you've purchased traps that are too small.
They can also run off with the bait, if you put too much bait in the trap, so just remember that less is more.
Maybe you want to eliminate the problem but you can't bear killing or injuring the destructive furry critters.
Live traps are your answer.
After catching the mice, most people transport the mice far away from their house so the mice can be released outdoors. Since these traps don't kill or injure mice, they offer a humane way of catching and releasing.
Some are capable of catching multiples of mice, but they can be expensive, so placing more than one in several areas of your home or business can quickly add up.
There's also the risk of the mice coming back if you didn't dump them far away enough. Never underestimate the ability of mice to find their way back to your home, and 9 times out of 10, they will.
Electronic Rodent Repellents
Once you've finally eliminated mice from your home, you may want to look into electronic rodent repellents.
These specially designed electronics usually plug into your electrical outlets and emit a high-frequency sound that only mice can hear.
This sound annoys them and they'll usually steer clear of your home or business for as long as keep them plugged in.
They can be expensive, but some come in packages of 2 or more, so be sure to shop around and check out your options before you make a choice.
Because these don't actually kill mice, these are best for after you're absolutely sure you've handled your mouse infestation problem.
- When using or cleaning any mouse trap, make sure you wear rubber gloves. This is for hygienic purposes and will also prevent your scent from getting on the trap. It's been said that mice will steer clear of human scents, which can render your mouse traps in-effective.
- If you must wash your traps, make sure you just wash with warm soapy water. Unscented soaps are best, but if you can't avoid unscented, just be sure to wash your mouse traps as less as possible.
- Check your traps regularly to prevent smells. Sometimes we get carried away with life and forget to check on our traps from time to time. Trust us, you don't want to find out what a decomposing mouse smells like. Bleck!
- Finally, make sure you get your bait right. Using the right amount of bait is just as important as figuring out what your mice like, cheese is the old standby.
Our Top Recommended Mice and Rat Trap
- Simple to use- Pull back the “handle”, bait and set.
- Ouch free- No more tricky traps to deal with that hurt your fingers.
- Poison free- Perfect for the environment, and safe for kid and pet households.
- Catch rats and mice of all sizes- They won't run away with your trap or the bait!
- No messes to cleanup- Release the dead mice into the trash dumpster without touching the dead mice.
- Hair trigger- Ideal for tricky mice who like to lick your traps clean.
- Re-usable- Just empty, re-bait and reset!