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Mouse Problem – Should You Bait or Trap?

By Chris Williams on May 21, 2014.

Mice TrapsQuestion

I hate to admit it, but we have mice. My husband wants to put out poison bait, but I’d rather use the good old-fashioned mouse traps. Which one is the better choice?—C.C., Rollinsford NH

Answer

I would say there is no one right answer. It depends entirely on the situation, because each method has its advantages and disadvantages and each mouse infestation is different. That’s why at Colonial, we use both methods.

Either Method Might Need a Protective Bait Station

Probably the biggest difference between the two is that one uses a pesticide bait and the other is pesticide-free. This may be an important factor if you have children or pets in your home. By law, rodent baits must be placed inside tamper-resistant bait stations so that children or pets can’t reach them. In fact, new federal regulations have banned “mouse pellets” and require that rodent baits sold to the public come prepackaged inside a bait station. If there are children or pets present, snap traps should really be inside bait stations, too, to prevent trapped fingers or tails!

“What is That Smell?”

With snap traps, you know right away if you were successful…but then you have to look at the dead or dying mouse and dispose of it. With baits, you may not know for some time whether you were successful. You may not have to see the dead mouse, but that can be a bad thing because baited mice often die in wall voids or inaccessible places. When that happens, the disturbance from the odor can be worse than the disturbance from the mouse (see Use Traps to Avoid Dead Mouse Odors).

If you’re trapping, use snap traps that have an expanded trigger that gives a bigger area for the mouse to step on. You can add a food bait to the trap (see Baiting Mouse Traps-Which Foods Work Best?). Peanut butter works well because the mice have to work to get the sticky stuff  off of the trigger, making it more likely that they will be caught. It’s especially important that you keep traps out of the reach of children and pets if you are adding food bait.

As to which method is more effective, that depends on the size of the infestation, the location of the infestation, whether the traps or baits are placed properly, and how often they are serviced. As you can see, it’s complicated. My advice is to contact a professional exterminator and leave the job to mouse experts.

Photo credit: Nick Harris1 / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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