How To Catch A Mouse

How to catch a mouse with mice traps & best ways to catch mice.

Mouse Trapping Tips and Best Ways To Catch Mice

  • Location : Good trap placement is an essential step for the effective use of mouse traps. Inspect first to determine the activity of the mice. Place traps in areas of high activity. Typical active areas are along walls, behind appliances, behind objects, and darkened corners. Placing mouse traps out evenly at a set distance may provide thorough coverage, but it is not guaranteed to reach the mice. Place traps in areas where mice are running or nesting. To maximize the chances of mice passing over the traps, place along their runways or paths. Place mouse traps at a right angle from the wall, with the trigger end almost touching the wall. If they are set parallel to the wall, set them in pairs with the triggers situated to intercept mice from either direction. Use more traps for heavier populations.
  • Use Enough Traps : A common trapping error when placing out mice traps is to use too few traps. Even for just one or two mice, using six traps are not too many. Place mice traps at intervals of two-ten feet apart. A typical residential example uses two traps behind the stove, two traps behind the refrigerator, and two traps under the kitchen sink. Most of the time, mice are caught the first night. In a storage room in a restaurant, two dozen traps may be required.
  • Two Mouse Traps (Snap Traps or Glue Traps) Placed Together : In locations of high mice activity, use two snap or glue mouse traps together, with about 1" space between them. This method would catch mice that try to jump over the traps, a particularly common occurrence.
  • Aggressive Trapping: Take advantage of the first trap night when trapping mice. More mice are caught on the first night than the following nights. Make sure to set out plenty of traps to take advantage of the timing.
  • Baits or Lures : Only a small amount (pea size) of bait or lure is needed. It is a good idea to offer a mouse a lure high in protein, like peanut butter. But the lure's success depends significantly on how much other food is available and what they are accustomed to eating. Besides peanut butter, fried bacon, salami, oatmeal, and chocolate are usually favored by mice. If there are numerous mice, using various baits in different mice traps would offer a wide range of choices. A good strategy would be to provide food lures that are not available in the area. As an example, in a flour mill, use meat as an enticement.
  • The Provoke Mouse Attractant or Pro-Pest Professional Lure has a combined food matrix without peanut butter, designed particularly for mice.
  • If the mice are currently building their nest, they may be attracted to nest-building materials like cotton, string, etc. The female mice will have more excellent nest-building instincts before the onset of winter. If using a lure in locations where food is abundant, a food-based lure may not be attractive enough to lure the rodent on the trap. Using soft material such as thread, cotton, or other soft material tied on the trigger may lure the mice.
  • Secure the traps: Hercules putty offers an easy way to secure traps without using nails.
  • Finish the job: Continue to monitor the areas for mice activity and continue to place traps out until the activity has ceased.

General Rodent Trapping Tips

  • Before handling traps, do not touch pets. Dogs and cats are natural predators; their odors can create an aversion to the traps. Other odors such as human or dead-rodent odors do not make an aversion.
  • Oil moving parts of traps with an odorless, light pharmaceutical-grade mineral oil.
  • Glue traps can melt in high heat, do not store in vehicles during warm weather months.
  • Do not use traps with warped bases. The wobbling will frighten the mouse as it steps on the trap.
  • Eliminate as many food sources as possible to encourage the lure on traps.
  • Avoid handling dead rodents with bare hands to prevent contact with ectoparasites or disease organisms (e.g., hantavirus, LCM, etc.). Use disposable gloves when handling traps. See tips on cleaning mouse traps and disposal of rodents.

Advantages of Mouse Traps Compared to Rodent Baits

  • It can take several days to kill mice with mice rodent bait. During this time, the mice can contaminate the area with feces and urine. With captured mice in a mousetrap, there is immediate prevention of contamination.
  • Rodenticides can be spilled accidentally and are toxic.
  • If rodent baits are left out too long, they lose their palatability and may become a lure for grain insects.
  • If traps are correctly used, the mice do not die within a wall. Trapping prevents odor problems and possible fly infestations by locating the decayed corpse.

Mice Snap Traps

The mouse snap trap is one of the oldest types of traps for mouse control. Of the mouse snap traps, we carry the Victor Snap Trap #325 and the easy to set Mini Rex Mouse Trap.

The Mini Rex Mousetrap has a removable bait cup to place the lure inside; it forces the mouse to commit to the trap. The Victor Snap Trap #325 has an expanded trigger (professional model) to use the trap without the lure. Place it next to the wall where the mice are running, and they step on it.

Studies have shown that the professional model trap has a capture rate of 53% as compared to 37% for the standard trigger model.

Both types have the same escape rates (the mice set off the trigger and escape) of about 12 %-14%. Bait stealing did not occur with the professional level traps but occur around 16% of the time with standard mouse snap traps.

Snap Trap Advantages

  • Quick knockdown of population
  • Snap traps may be used where rodenticides are undesirable or not safe for use.
  • Use snap traps if the odor of decomposing mice may be unacceptable.
  • They can be reused if contamination is not a problem. In fact, odors from past rodents may be more attractive to future mice.

Snap Trap Disadvantages

  • Trapping skill required; inspection and trap placement
  • Setting out mice traps requires more time in trap placement and monitoring. Traps can not be placed where pets or children would tamper with them.
  • Once the snap trap is sprung, snap traps are ineffective until they are reset.
  • If the mice get trapped by its tail or foot, it can drop the trap away if the trap is not secured.

Trapping Strategies for Mice Snap Traps

  • After inspection, place traps where the mice are active. Consider placing in double sets close together.
  • As with all trapping, use many traps. Twelve or more traps are not too many for just a couple of mice in a home.
  • Use dental floss to tie down a solid type of bait such as nuts, candy, meats, etc. With trap models with expanded triggers like Victor 325, wedge the bait tightly in the bait slot; this will prevent the action of stolen bait by the mice and increase the capture rate. Choose various lure baits with a strong aroma, such as peanut butter, oatmeal, fried bacon, and candy. Pro Pest lures or Provoke lures have attractive lures and are peanut-free for allergy sensitivities. Snap traps like the Victor 325 with its expanded trigger may not need a lure at all. Place the trigger next to the wall, where the rodent will step on it.
  • Place the trigger end of the trap next to a wall. Using several traps placed close together will capture any mice that attempt to jump over the traps.

Snap Traps

Multiple Mouse Traps

Multiple mice traps catch multiple mice. These traps are known as "curiosity traps." There are two types; the wind up traps like Ketch All and the low profile traps like Tin Cat or Repeater Mice Traps.

Many low profile types can be used as live/humane traps if used without glue boards. The wind-up style may stun the mice as it flips it over into a holding chamber after it steps on the spring-loaded platform. The low profile type works via the trap door. As they enter the trap door, they can not escape. The low profile type allows you to place them under pallets and equipment, as well as suspended ceilings.

Some multiple mice traps have solid tops, and other types have see-thru tops for easy inspection. Metal traps are prone to rusting unless they are galvanized.

Carefully inspect metal traps for dents or warps, so the mice will not escape. The Trapper 24/7 is made of impact-resistant material, a durable plastic.

The Trapper 24/7, Repeater, and Tin Cat may all be used with glue boards or without glue boards. If used without glue boards, and you want them to function as a humane trap, inspect the traps frequently to let out the mice.

These traps rely upon the mouse's curiosity. They like to investigate new holes and harborages they encounter in their travels. As one enters the hole one the trap, other mice want to follow. Captured mice attract other mice. Once the mice are trapped inside, they die due to loss of body heat or food deprivation. The amount of time it takes for mice to die depends on surrounding temperatures or if other mice are also captured (that they may use for food).

The multiple mouse traps are used widely in warehouses, commercial buildings, and the food industry. Large numbers of multiple mouse traps are used in commercial establishments. In commercial settings, they should be placed in areas of high or continual mouse activity and locations that have a potential for mice entry, such as nearby exterior doors. These exterior placed traps should be kept from dust, dirt, and elements. The clear top Tin Cat would not be a good choice outside because sunlight will damage the clear lid. Most commercial food and pharmaceutical plants check their traps on a weekly basis.

Trapping Strategies and Tips for Multiple Mouse Traps

  • Place these traps either parallel or perpendicular to the walls. The low profile type works best with the entry point parallel to the wall.
  • Place traps in high or continual mouse activity and locations that may be potential mouse entry like nearby exterior doors. Pay particular attention to wall areas that are bordered outside by weeds, trash receptacles, or other debris where mice can harbor. Also, place these traps on the exterior near all entrances to catch mice before entering the building.
  • These traps should be placed around the entire interior perimeter every 20-40 feet for preventative programs in the food industry.
  • Multiple mice traps usually do not need to be baited but may use vanilla extract or peanut butter inside the entryway to increase attractiveness and the catch.
  • Using glue boards inside the low profile multiple mice traps will make inspection more manageable and the extra time needed to deal with live mice.
  • Even though the dead mice will not prevent other mice from entering, traps should be inspected and cleaned out to avoid contamination. Use nonstick food spray at the bottom of the trap's base to prevent the dead mice from sticking.
  • Wear gloves when servicing these traps.
  • Keep traps clean from dead rodents, hair, and feces to avoid contamination. If contamination is not an issue, do not wash traps often, so it does not remove the previous rodent odor (which is attractive to rodents).
  • Place traps in high-activity runways of mice (areas where excrement droppings have been noted).
  • Keeping a log of caught mice and inspections would help determine areas of high mice activity.

Multiple Mouse Traps

Glue Traps-Boards and Trays

Glue traps are non-toxic and provide quick results. They also are effective in capturing and monitoring insects. Even though glue board traps are easy to use, they generally not as effective as the snap or multiple mice traps.

They are ineffective in locations with a lot of dust, dirt, or water. Also, they are less useful in extreme hot or cold temperatures. In severe mouse infestations, they can help reduce the populations. However, other rodent control types will need to supplement the glue traps since some mice avoid the glue surfaces. The young juvenile mice are more easily captured on the glue traps.

Glue traps come in scented varieties or unscented varieties (for those sensitive to scents). In general, glue traps are ineffective in extremely cold or hot weather. The Catchmaster Cold Temperature Trap has a usage range of 30-120 degrees F.

Glue boards are more efficient in capturing mice than capturing rats.

Placement of Glue Traps

Place glue traps along their runways or areas of high activity. If food is scarce, use a lure (vanilla extract, chocolate, peanut butter, etc.) placed in the middle of the trap to help attract the mice to the glue trap. In general, set glue traps along well-used runways, where the mice can not avoid them, as they blindly run into them. Glue traps also monitor insect activity. Many glue traps can be placed inside the multiple mice traps, preventing escape. The multiple mouse traps will also protect the glue from dust and debris.

Disadvantages of Glue Traps

  • Glue traps should not be placed where they are visible in a room or near children or pets. If a pet or child adheres (gets stuck) to the glue on the trap, use vegetable cooking oil to separate the glue from the person or pet.
  • Due to the prolonged manner in which the mice are trapped on a glue board, some consider this trap inhumane.

Glue Trapping Tips

  • Check glue traps frequently. A daily inspection would be ideal. Captured rodents may use their urine, hair, and feces to escape traps.
  • To prevent glue traps from becoming ineffective due to dust and debris, place glue boards inside multiple mice traps like the Repeater Mice Trap. 24/7 Mice Traps and Tin Cat Mice Traps all have optional glue boards for fitting inside these traps.
  • Secure the traps with Hercules Putty or a strong double-stick tape or adhesive to prevent captive mice with free legs from moving the traps.
  • Since dust and moisture damage a glue trap's effectiveness, do not use in areas where the mice may carry the dust and moisture on their feet or body.

Key Takeaway

Whether using traps or baits, remember that mice don't usually travel far from their nest. Places baits or traps near areas of known activity.

Humane Mice Traps and Hygienic Mouse Traps

Humane Mouse Traps

Humane mice traps capture the mice without killing or harming them. These traps need to be inspected and the mice need to be released after capture.

Written by our resident pest control expert Ken Martin.