Pesteleminater Log

Mice: How to use mouse traps effectively

You are hearing scratching in the walls, small feet running across the attic, seeing droppings in the corners of your house. You might even have seen a mouse with your own eyes! If you want to fight an active mouse infestation, getting a mouse trap is probably your first thought. Your second thought might be: How do I actually use a mouse trap?

Mice traps are most effective when used with a purpose-made mouse bait, but food containing lots of protein and fat, like peanut butter, are good alternatives. Contrary to popular belief, cheese makes for terrible mouse bait. When setting up your mousetrap, make sure to use gloves, preferably with a little bit of dirt on them. That way, your smell doesn't wear off on the trap, scaring the mice away.

Getting the most out of your mouse trap

When people discover they have a mouse infestation, their first instinct is to go ahead and buy some mouse traps. After setting them up, the traps don't yield the expected result - it's like the trap is made of lava. Using mouse traps is not as straightforward, as many people seem to believe. It is very easy to ruin the effectiveness of a trap. Fortunately, we have quite a few tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your traps.

If you are unsure of which kind of mouse trap to use, you can read our guide on choosing the right mousetrap. If you want to know everything there is to know about mouse prevention and control, refer to our guide: Mice: The ultimate guide to control

Set up your mouse trap in 4 steps

To increase the effectiveness of your mouse traps, you first need to learn how to use them. Setting up the trap is the most important part of this process, since the placement, handling and bait is the most important factor, when it comes to getting a catch.

  1. Identify the location of the infestation: You first need to figure out where the mice are located. You can look for droppings or watch out for gnaw marks. In particular, you should look at gnaw marks in electrical wiring. If you are unsure of where the mice like to stay, you can make use of so called gnaw cards. These cards contain mouse bait, and when gnaw marks are found on a card, there has been a mouse nearby.
  2. Choose the right bait: The first step when it comes to catching mice effectively, is to use a good bait. Contrary to popular belief, cheese does not make for a very good bait. It is generally suggested to use protein or fat-rich foods such as sausage or peanut butter for you traps. You can also use purpose-made bait, if you really want to level up your game.
  3. Wear gloves when handling the trap: When it comes time to handle and bait the trap, it is a good idea to wear gloves. The gloves will mask your scent, so it doesn't rub off on the trap. It's ideal if the gloves have a little bit of dirt on them, as this will mask your scent even more.
  4. Bait the trap and place it: Put your bait of choice in the trap's bait container. When placing the trap, make sure that the bait is easily accessible by the mouse. The trap can be placed either perpendicular or parallel with the wall, but the bait must be in such a position, that the mouse will have easy access to it when running along the wall.
  5. Activate the trap: Always make sure the trap is set up correctly. If it is set up or placed incorrectly, you might have a very difficult time catching any mice at all. In the worst case scenario, the trap is placed in such a way, that the trap will make the mouse suffer unnecessarily. You can also risk the mouse just stealing the bait without the trap closing, or the mouse can even damage the trap by gnawing at it.

If you are using two mouse traps together, it is important to make the bait face the sides of the traps. Otherwise the mouse will have to stumble over the pedal of trap, to reach the bait. This decreases the chance of the trap activating, and it increases the chance of the pedal hitting the mouse in a suboptimal way, thus possibly causing great suffering for the mouse. It is a very good idea to place mouse traps alongside walls, since mouse and other rodents frequently move alongside walls.

How to correctly place mouse traps
Mouse traps can be placed parallel and perpendicular to the wall. Make sure the bait is easily accessible to the mouse.

3 tips to trap placement

Trap placement is crucial to catching mice. Here are 3 tips you can make use of, to increase your chances of catching mice.

  1. Place the traps in places, where you have confirmed the presence of mice. Many people make the mistake of setting the trap where the mice find food, such as in the kitchen, but the trap will be more effective if you place them near the nest.
  2. Place the trap against the wall. Mice like to move along the wall, so you have a good chance of catching them there. Place two traps next to each other and turn the bait containers away from each other. This way you can catch mice coming from both sides.
  3. Use gnaw cards or place bait around the house. This way you can figure out where the mice like to stay. The places where the most bait has been eaten will be a very good place to put the mouse trap.

Avoid competing traps

Removing competing traps and food sources will make your traps as effective as possible. Above all, you should avoid having many different kinds of baits and traps in close proximity to each other. For example, if you use both pedal traps, CO2-driven traps, electric traps and mouse poison, they will all be competing against each other for the catch. It is best to stick to one type of trap if you want to use several traps close together.

The most important thing: Be patient

It is very important to be patient when catching mice. It can take time for the mouse to change it's behavior, and become attracted to the bait . This is especially true if you use advanced traps such as CO2-driven traps or electrical traps. When using more advanced traps, it is very reasonable for mice to start entering the trap after a couple of weeks. They need to adjust to the presence of these strange boxes, scattered around the house. Be patient and keep an eye on your traps. If you have not seen any results after 5-6 weeks, you can try moving the trap. In time you will start to catch the mice.

7 Common mistakes when using mouse traps

If you have placed several mouse traps around your property, and they are still not catching mice, check that the traps are set correctly. In this section you can read about seven common mistakes that are often made when setting up mouse traps.

  1. Too many traps are used: Avoid having too many traps around the house. You also need to think carefully about the location of the traps and leave them there for some time. If you want to place traps in other places, it is better to buy more traps and spread them out than to move the ones you already have.
  2. Too few traps are used: Using too few traps is one of the most common mistakes. Mice reproduce extremely quickly, so it's important to have plenty of traps ready. Place the traps at intervals of about 60 centimetres (23 inches) .
  3. The wrong bait is used: Do you use cheese as bait? Then you can quickly make your traps more effective. Cheese is not a very good bait. Peanut butter will work much better than cheese. Nuts and grains also work well.
  4. Traps are placed in the wrong place: The location of the trap is critical to the trap getting the catch. Set traps near the house and along the walls both inside and outside. Mice like to move along the wall, so this is often one of the best places to trap. In general it's best to avoid placing traps in large, open rooms and areas.
  5. Impatience: You need to be patient when trapping mice. It's important to be strategic and wait for results. It takes time for mice to change their habits and behavior. Give them time to explore the trap in peace and quiet. If you use advanced traps, such as a CO2 driven traps, you can expect results after a couple of weeks. Mouse take longer to adjust to the more advanced traps. If you don't see any results after 5-6 weeks, you should consider moving the trap.
  6. Too much bait: Many people make the mistake of putting too much bait on the trap in the hope that it will attract the mice. The problem with a large amount of bait is that the mouse may nibble at it without activating the trap. Mice have an incredible sense of smell and will be attracted to even the smallest amount of bait. By reducing the amount of bait used, you increase the chance that the mouse will trigger the trap.
  7. The bait is contaminated with human odours: As mentioned earlier, mice have a very good sense of smell, which means they can smell you too. Therefore, avoid touching the bait or the trap with your hands, as this will contaminate the bait. Mice are unlikely to approach the trap if they smell humans. Always wear gloves to protect the bait from human odour.

Frequently asked questions: Using mouse traps

What are the different types of mouse traps and which one is best for me?

There are several different types of mouse traps to choose from, including snap traps, glue traps, and electronic traps. The best type of trap for you will depend on your personal preferences and the specific needs of your situation. Snap traps are traditional mechanical traps that use a spring-loaded bar to kill the mouse, while glue traps use a sticky surface to hold the mouse in place. Electronic traps use a high voltage shock to kill the mouse.

How do I choose the right bait for my mouse trap?

Mice are attracted to a variety of foods, including seeds, nuts, grains, and fruit. Cheese is also a common bait for mouse traps. Experiment with different types of bait to find out which one works best for your trap. It's also important to use fresh bait, as stale or spoiled bait may not be as effective.

Where should I place my mouse trap?

Mouse traps should be placed in areas where mice are known to be active, such as along walls, in corners, or near sources of food. It's also a good idea to place traps in areas where children and pets cannot easily access them.

How do I dispose of a mouse after it has been caught in a trap?

It is important to dispose of mice safely and humanely. If you are using a pedal trap, you can release the pedal over the trash can, so you dispose of the mouse without touching it. Electronic traps will often have catch containers, that you can empty when appropriate. If you use glue traps, which we highly recommend against, you should get rid of the entire trap when a mouse is caught.

Are mouse traps safe to use around children and pets?

Most mouse traps are safe to use around children and pets if they are used as directed. However, it is important to keep all mouse traps out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental injury. It is also important to dispose of mice and mouse traps safely to avoid any potential health risks.

Pesteleminater Log
Pesteleminator is a website that offers tips and information on pest control and prevention. We provide articles and infographics to help educate people on the best practices for keeping their properties free of pests, including insects and rodents. Whether you are dealing with an infestation or just want to take proactive steps to prevent pests, Pesteleminator has something for you.