What Are the Easiest Tricks for Trapping Mice?

By Roxy FavrettoLast Updated September 19, 2020
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It’s not uncommon for mice to find snack sources in homes and invite themselves in for a lengthy stay, ruining food and damaging your possessions in the process. And not everyone has an easy time getting rid of these rodents once they’re discovered. Yes, you can call in a professional exterminator or even consider getting a cat, but these solutions can be expensive or require some commitment.

Often, the quickest and easiest solution is to use a trap. You can choose from a variety of traps, ranging from humane traps that allow you to relocate the mouse once you catch it to the old-fashioned wood ones. Whatever you choose, follow these tips to get rid of your unwanted vermin visitors as soon as possible.

Remember Location, Location, Location

A common mistake people make when trapping mice is putting the traps in the wrong spots. Often, trap placement can make the difference between catching a mouse or not. It helps to figure out where the mice are entering your home and spending most of their time. For many people, it's the kitchen.

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Once mice are in your house, they tend to travel behind appliances, along baseboards and in dark corners and spaces to get between the food source and their nest. If you spot a nest or mouse droppings, place the trap within 10 feet of this area.

Once you've narrowed down the location, set the trap perpendicular to the wall with the trigger end closest to the wall. Because mice tend to stay along the baseboards, they're more likely to discover the bait this way.

Use a Tasty Lure

Once you've figured out where to set the trap, it’s important to choose the right lure. Many people make the mistake of using cheese because we all associate it with mice, but peanut butter and other types of nut butters are better options. Some rodents won't even touch cheese, but they love nuts and seeds, and they're always on the hunt for high-protein, high-calorie foods. Bacon, chocolate and oatmeal are also usually good options.

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It's important that you only use a pea-size amount of peanut butter or whatever bait you have on hand. If you offer too much, the mouse will be able to snatch some of it without setting the trap’s trigger off, unless you’re using a trap with a door.

Set Up Multiple Traps

One mouse trap may do the trick, but two — or more — are always better than one. You may want to place two right beside each other; some mice will run and jump over a foreign object that’s in the way of their familiar path. If you put two traps down next to each other, the mouse will likely land on the second one when it jumps over the first trap in its path.

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Remember that mice reproduce quickly. A single mouse can have a litter of six or seven babies every 21 days or so. If you suspect you have multiple mice, set multiple traps in the same area and in various spots where you see droppings. Wear gloves when you handle the traps, too; sometimes, human scents can make mice steer clear of your bait.

Throw Away or Wash Used Traps

Once you do catch a mouse, it may be tempting to reuse the trap if you think you have more to catch, but you may find that the same trap doesn't work twice. That's because a mouse can smell the odor of the caught mouse on the trap and may try to avoid it. If you use snap traps, bag up the entire trap with the dead mouse and throw it away.

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If you use humane traps, you can reuse them after each catch, but it’s important to clean them properly to remove the smell of the caught mouse you released. Put on a pair of gloves and soak the trap in a bucket of warm water and soap. Use an old brush to loosen and remove any residue on the trap. Wash the trap again in the soapy water and let it dry. Continue handling it with gloves on to keep your scent off the clean trap.

Clean Up Your Food Messes

Keeping your house clean, especially when it comes to food, won't keep mice away. But it can help you catch them. If you have crumbs all over your kitchen, your lure may not attract the mice because they can easily find food elsewhere.

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However, if your counters are wiped clean and your floors are swept and mopped up daily, the mice in your home will be forced to search for food, and the food in the traps will become much more enticing to them. The lure should be their only option when it comes to easily accessible food. If you need to, start storing cereal, rice and other food products — which you might typically leave in open boxes or bags — in sealed containers like glass jars with lids.

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