How to Trap Mice

How to Trap Mice

Mickey and Minnie notwithstanding, no one likes mice in their homes or businesses. Many of us have a natural aversion to these four-legged pests, but they can also carry and spread diseases like hantavirus, salmonellosis, and listeria through their droppings, urine, saliva, and nests. Suddenly, those cute little critters are not so cute. Mice like to invade warm, dry shelters (e.g. your attic, basement, or kitchen!) ahead of the cold months and make themselves comfy. How can you fix (and better yet, avoid) this pest problem? 

Put the Cheese Away

If you have noticed droppings, heard chewing or gnawing, or seen other evidence of mice inhabitation, such as nesting, you want to move quickly to evict these unwanted “guests.” The best way to start is with simple wood traps, which are readily available at hardware, grocery, box, and home improvement stores. They’re inexpensive - which is good because you will need a lot of them!

Place several traps in the worst-hit areas, such as the kitchen, basement, or attic. Look for mouse pathways, areas that have evidence of nesting (e.g. chewed or damaged drywall), and cabinets, which are prime real estate. Now, contrary to popular belief, mice don’t love cheese. Sure, they’ll eat it if they’re hungry and it’s there, but it’s not their preference. To entice them to the trap, use peanut butter or a bit of uncooked bacon. The smellier the bate, the better, and we all know that bacon is tough to resist! Peanut butter, though, is widely considered the most effective.

Next, place the trap all the way at the back of a paper bag. The long, skinny bags that are used for wine are perfect. If you don’t have any available, make a trip to the corner store. You may as well have a glass of wine while you’re tackling this problem! An empty cereal box will also work nicely. Mice like to hide in small spaces, so this, combined with the scent of the bait will help lure them in.

Set a half dozen traps around the room/area before you go to bed. These critters are nocturnal, and they come out at night to forage for food.

IMPORTANT: if you are using peanut butter (or Nutella - mice love Nutella), make sure you either use plastic utensils and then dispose of them so you do not contaminate the jar. Better yet, buy a separate jar, label it, and use that exclusively for pest control. Make sure children and others in your household are aware that this is off-limits. 

Chances are when you wake up in the morning, you’ll have at least one successfully trapped mouse. If you did use a bag or cereal box, you can simply toss it in your outside trash barrel without having to handle the mouse. If you do not, or if you want to recycle the trap, wear gloves to dispose of the mouse. 

Wooden traps are simple but remarkably effective. And if you have a cat with a hunter’s instinct, they can lend a hand as well.

Should You Use Poison to Rid Your Home or Business of Mice? 

This is not an optimal solution for a few reasons. Poison is, of course, ingested by the mice, but it can also be ingested by your pets and - we shudder to even think - your young children. It’s also not a humane option for removing mice. The poison affects the mice’s ability to clot blood. Essentially, they bleed internally and die. This is not pleasant to think about, to be sure. But they also tend to die in their nests, which may well be between your walls or in other hidden areas. They remain there, and the smell can be difficult to take.

We recommend using traps or calling an experienced pest control expert instead of opting for poison. 

Kick Them Out for Good

Removing mice once they’ve taken up residence in your home is much more difficult than keeping them out. Some easy steps you can take:

  • Make sure all trash is secured with a tight-fitting lid. This will also help you prevent other pest problems, such as raccoons, as well. 
  • Put pet food in a tight-fitting container. Your dog or cat’s dish is an all-you-can-eat buffet for mice.
  • Seal up any cracks or crevices that are larger than the diameter of a pencil. Mice can - and do - fit through incredibly small spaces. Use caulk or even steel wool to plug up these gaps; these are not great nesting materials, and mice won’t be attracted to your home as readily. 
  • Remove tall grass, leaves, wood, and other organic debris from around your foundation. If you heat with wood, make sure it is properly stored so it does not harbor pests.
  • Always clean up any food-related spills and messes in your home. Why feed the problem?
  • Store your pantry items (e.g. sugar, flour, crackers, etc.) in sealed plastic or glass containers
  • Contact Rid-a-Bug for pest control tips and, if you do have a mouse problem, we can take care of that for you too.

There’s no reason to live with mice this winter - or any time of year. Set some traps and then take proactive steps to make your home inhospitable to pests. If you need help with rodents and mice, contact Rid-A-Bug Exterminating.