How to Use Mouse Traps Successfully

By Chris Williams on June 15, 2016.

We have a mouse problem and I’ve been using the plastic snap traps trying to catch them but I’m having terrible luck. They always escape with the bait. What am I doing wrong? C. P., Windham, NH

As the owner of a pest control company, I would be remiss if I didn’t first say that hiring a professional to deal with your mouse problem is always the best option…and is guaranteed to have the best success rate.

But if you prefer to go it alone, I might be able to help you out. Success in trapping mice depends on the type of trap you are using, the type of bait you are using, and the placement of the traps.

(1) Trap type – Use a snap trap with an expanded trigger or a larger bait pan. This gives the mouse more area to step on and trigger the kill bar. You don’t need to clean the traps in between sets but don’t let them get so gunky that it slows down the trigger action.

(2) Bait type – If mice are good at stealing your bait, use a bait that will make them work harder to get if off of the trigger such as sticky peanut butter, or tie gum drops or caramel corn onto the trap with dental floss. You can also melt some food baits such as chocolate or marshmallows directly onto the trigger. If mice have plenty of other food available, they may be more receptive to nest materials than to food bait. You can tie cotton balls, string, or strips of tissues onto the trigger. See What’s the Best Bait for Mouse Traps? 

(3) Trap placement – Don’t just stick the traps in any old place. Place them where you have seen mouse activity, especially along walls and edges and other mouse runways. Place traps where you have seen mouse poop, nest material, or gnawing damage, or near a known food source (but remove the food first if you can). Don’t just place one or two traps, put out as many as you can and base the number on the suspected size of the infestation. Don’t place traps where children or pets could come in contact with them. You can also place them inside a tamper-resistant rodent bait station. See How to Place Snap Traps for Mice.

If you want guaranteed trapping success, give Colonial Pest a call!

Photo Credit : “2005 mousetrap cage 2“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.



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