The Best Ways to Trap Mice
Proper trap baiting and placement are essential to successfully eliminating mice from your home. Follow these tips and techniques to get rid of the rodents as efficiently as possible.
Buy and Set Lots of Mouse Traps
Peanut Butter is the Best Bait
Plus: How to Get Rid of Ants
Video: 11 Tips for Getting Rid of Mice
If your family cat has retired from mousing duty, watch this video from The Family Handyman editor, Travis Larson. He shares some of his best tips for catching mice without a cat. Can you beat 41 catches in three weeks?
Pet Food is a Problem and an Opportunity
Look for the Pathways
A mouse is like Tarzan when it comes to climbing. In fact, a mouse can jump up to 8 in. and climb up electrical cords to get to other places. So if you find droppings in high places, look low and put your traps there.
The spaces under cabinets are like a freeway for mice. Pull out your bottom drawers and look for droppings. Put traps down there on the floor, replace the drawers and check them every morning.
Look for Wall Penetrations
Mice love to live inside walls where they’re safe and warm. Look around to see where plumbing or anything else penetrates drywall or plaster and put traps just below it. That’s where they’ll come in at night to feed.
Look for Feeding Areas
Just like pet dishes, there are other sources of food. We have to admit that the stovetop in our shop isn’t as clean as the stove in the house. So when we found mouse scat there, we put some traps there and caught five mice on the countertop nearby.
Plus: Bad Smell in the House?
Keep ’em Out!
When the temperature starts dropping, mice are looking for a warm, dry place with food and good nesting conditions. In other words, they want to live inside your house. They enter through the smallest imaginable holes and cracks. Young ones can worm their way through a 1/4-in. opening. Take a very close look around the outside of your house, and then caulk, plug or do whatever it takes to close every entry point you can find.
Worn weather stripping under doors can be a perfect, easy entry point for mice looking for a warm place to winter. Replacing it is usually as simple as taking the door off the hinges and slipping a new weather strip into the slots. Take the old weather stripping to the home center to find a match.
Place Traps Next to Vertical Surfaces
Mice are prey after all, so they’re born scared. That means that they’re terrified to be out in the open and prefer traveling close to walls. Once again, the more traps the better, especially in areas where you know mice are hanging out, usually where there’s food.
Our Mouse-Trapping Philosophy
- Live traps. Mice, by nature, build nests and store food. So you trap them this fall and let them go outside where they start their life anew, right? Well, that’s not how it works. They have no food stored away and no nest to live in, and they’ll most likely die of starvation and/or exposure.
- Poison. Most poisons are ingested and cause severe dehydration or blood coagulation. It’s not a painless death.
- Live with the disease-carrying creatures. As they run around your floors, countertops, plates with leftovers and your pet’s food dishes, they’re leaving a trail of waste behind them. So, no.
- Sticky mouse traps. Then what? They’re not dead and you have to either kill them with your shoe or throw them into the trash can where they’ll die a slow, miserable death from thirst.
All this mouse-killing business isn’t for the faint-of-heart. Sometimes, but not too often, mice don’t get killed right away. And sometimes they suffer. But if you have a mouse problem and ignore it, you’re putting your family’s health at risk.