It’s something that no home owner wants to see. Little black droppings in the cupboards. Or even worse, you lay awake at night listening to scratching coming from inside the walls. If you’re real lucky you may even get to see those dark black beady little eyes peering at you from a shelf in the garage or see one scamper along the wall and under the couch. Most homeowners out there have had one of these unfortunate encounters with the furry menace known as the mouse.
This fall seems to be particularly bad for mice. You might call it a bumper crop. So what can you do short of calling an exterminator? There’s no shortage of effective options, you just need to decide what the right one is for your situation.
Here’s a few that we’ve found to be effective:
POISON: Mouse poison comes in a few different brands and forms. You can buy pellets of poison (like in the image to the right) that you simply open the box and let them eat out of it. There are also bait blocks that you can toss into an area that you can’t reach. There are bags filled with poison pellets that you leave unopened and let the mice chew their way through. The poison used is essentially the same from brand to brand. The only real difference is how it’s formed and packaged.
The benefit of poison is its ease of use and it’s effectiveness. The downfall of poison is the possibility of harming something other than mice (i.e. children and pets) and the fact that you will have dead mice somewhere that you probably won’t find. Make sure that if you decide to use poison that you put in a place that it won’t have the ability to harm something other than the intended target. As for the dead bodies problem, we usually recommend using poison in the garage or shed where it won’t be as much of an issue.
SNAP TRAPS: There’s variety of choices when it comes to the classic mouse trap. You have people who swear by the old standard but if you’re like me you haven’t had much luck using this style. Maybe I just had intelligent city mice but they seemed to be able to clean the peanut butter off of these things without setting them off. Fortunately, there are people out there that have built a better mouse trap. There are d-cons hockey puck looking trap that winds up and snaps closed when set off. Or my personal favorite Snap-E’s easy set snap trap.
This trap has a cup in which you put the peanut butter that is below the trigger for the trap. There’s no way that a mouse is going to get that peanut butter without setting this trap off. Another plus for this brand is how easy it is to set the trap and then also how easy it is to release the dead mouse afterward. I just used this particular trap in my own home over the weekend and caught a few myself. They work and they are easy to use, plain and simple.In my opinion this is the “better mouse trap”.
One drawback of snap traps is the occasional mouse that only get a paw or two snapped in the trap and will drag the trap all over the house. For this reason I recommend tying a string to the trap so that it doesn’t run away.
Other snap traps include d-cons “no view no touch” trap that looks like a hockey puck. This is an effective and is great for the squeamish. The mouse enters the trap, the trap snaps closed, you throw away the trap mouse and all. The downfalls are that a) at about $7 for 2 traps this option can be pricey and b) it is another throw away plastic item for the landfills.
A new comer (and in my opinion, a much better option) to the “no see, no mess” snap trap arena is Ortho’s Home Defense mouse trap. The mouse gets snapped internally so you don’t see it dead and then the trap has a lever to release the mouse out of the trap so that the trap can be reused. At around $10 for 2 traps it isn’t exactly inexpensive but remember they can be reused more than once.
GLUE TRAPS: Glue traps are a baited tray that is filled with very sticky glue. They are an effective option if you don’t like the idea of a squished mouse or a poisoned mouse. There are a few drawbacks to the glue trap. One of the drawbacks would be that it is a large open tray of sticky goo that anything and everything that it comes in contact with sticks to it. That means dust, dirt, bugs, cats (see picture), kids and anything else that happens to touch it will all adhere themselves to the tray. Another drawback is that the mouse will probably not be dead when you find it. That means dealing with a live mouse. It also means that most people will probably just throw away the trap with the live mouse attached to it. That means that the mouse will suffer a much crueller, slower death than with other traps. I know that they just mice but that doesn’t mean that they should be treated cruelly. I would suggest that if you don’t have the stomach to kill the mouse quickly and humanely after catching it in a glue trap that you shouldn’t use this option.
LIVE TRAPS: For the person who doesn’t want to kill the mouse but doesn’t want to live with it either. A live trap is a good option for the person who doesn’t want to kill a mouse. There are a few good option for this including the Havahart brand of traps. These traps come in a large variety of sizes that can catch everything from mice to raccoons. They are a metal cage trap that need to be baited with seeds or peanut butter. They do work well and I have had success catching a variety of pests with them.
My personal choice of live trap is from a company called Kness. It has a door on the back of the trap that you open and bait the trap with peanut butter. You then close the bait door and open up the trap door. Place the trap free of any obstacles and check periodically. If the door is closed you’ve got a mouse. The downfall for this trap is that now you have a live mouse. You will have to “dispose” of the mouse yourself or release it somewhere where it can pester someone else. From experience, these traps do work well and are very easy to use.
REPELLENTS: There are a few options when it comes to preventing mice from going in to your home, garage, or other space. One of these options is a plug-in high frequency sonic repeller. Victor makes a few models that you can simply plug-in to an outlet and they emit an ultrasonic high frequency sound that mice don’t like. Apparently it won’t bother other animals such as dogs, cats or farm animals. The downfall of these units is the fact that the high pitch sound does not travel through solid objects such as walls or furniture which limits its effectiveness.
Another option for repelling mice is moth balls. Mice don’t like the smell of moth balls and will avoid the area around where the smell is. The downfall of moth balls is the fact that nobody likes the smell of mothballs and no wonder mice avoid the area. A better option is a product called “Mouse Magic”. It is a blend of natural non-poisonous or harmful materials that mice don’t like. The nice thing with Mouse Magic is that it works and isn’t bad-smelling. The downfall of Mouse Magic is that it doesn’t last very long. The pouches only last about 30 days.
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- Ridding Your Home of Mice Effectively (cedricclovis.typepad.com)