It is time to admit it: you have a mouse infestation, and you got to do something about it. These crafty rodents can seem impossible to exterminate and may lead you to seek drastic measures. Before you have the exterminator enter your home, you may want to try the good old mouse trap approach. We will tell you here how to set a mouse trap to catch the little pests red-handed and rid your home of them once and for all.
There is an art to setting a mouse trap, from choosing the right bait to making sure it is not your finger under the bar, it all takes a bit of knowledge. Depending on how severe the problem is, you may want to stock up on a few traps to set around the house. Once you know how to set a mouse trap properly, you will be well on your way to a rodent-free home again.
How Do Mouse Traps Work?
To know how to set a mouse trap, you have to know first how a mouse trap works. Mouse traps have been around for over a century and have changed little over the years: a testament to their effectiveness. A proper mouse trap needs only a strategic location and great bait. People have used these devices for years and have found them easy to operate. Let’s get to the mechanics of it all.
History of the Mouse Trap
Mouse traps were introduced in the late 1800s. Rodents ran rampant in Europe during much of the preceding centuries and the device was overdue. William C. Hooker of Illinois was the man who patented the first mouse trap in America in 1894. Just a few years later, the devices were being used in Europe. The spring loaded-bar device has been so efficient over the years that few changes have been made to it since its inception.
The Device Mechanics
Mouse traps have simple but effective mechanics. The spring loaded-bar sits on a small wooden or plastic platform. Bait is placed near the trap’s spring mechanism, which is triggered by the weight of the mouse as it steps onto the platform to eat the bait. The spring loaded-bar releases with enough force to kill the unsuspecting mouse nearly instantly.
Obtaining Mouse Traps
Mouse traps are sold commercially worldwide. The cost of mouse traps is generally affordable, which allows for multiple purchases. Mouse traps can vary in their sophistication, and some of the modern versions are meant to just capture the mouse and not kill it. Catch and release mouse traps are popular these days, but for the purpose of this piece we are sticking to the conventional mouse trap.
Why Is Safety an Issue When Setting Mouse Traps?
Because the conventional mouse trap is meant to kill the mouse, it must have sufficient force behind it. While the force delivered by a mouse trap may seem harmless, it can pose a danger for fingers during the setup process. Not only are you in danger, but also dogs, cats, or children who may be present in the home can also be hurt. Mouse traps present a danger for the following reasons:
- They have reasonable strength in their spring loaded-bar system
- They can be easily forgotten if placed improperly.
- Curious pets and children can find themselves hurt by the device
- If set up incorrectly, the device can go off on an unintended target (fingers)
For all these reasons and more, a mouse trap can present some dangers. While some mouse traps have safety devices in place, the conventional trap does not. Understanding how the trap works and where to best place it is your best bet to avoid any accidents.
How to Set a Mouse Trap Without Getting Hurt
In order to avoid accidents, it’s key to learn how to set a mouse trap without getting hurt. We will be discussing what you need to keep in mind and the types of bait that can help the trap’s efficiency. Mice are clever little creatures and survivalists above all. Setting up a mouse trap goes beyond just placing the bait and walking away.
How to set a mouse trap: the key issue above all is to be sure you are keeping your fingers clear of the spring loaded-bar once it is set. To set the device, you must follow the steps below:
- Release the bar from the staple
- Slowly move the arm bar of the trap and let it hang over the back of the trap
- Apply the bait
- Pull the kill bar back, holding it with your thumb securely
- Place the arm bar over the kill bar and secure it
Most mouse traps will have a plastic pedal near the front where the arm bar can be secured. Once the trap is secured, it needs to be handled with care. Some traps are more sensitive than others, so you need to be careful. Those that are most sensitive are usually labelled as such.
Proper placement is key when setting up a mouse trap. You want to be sure that traps are set in places where mice can reach them but are not accessible to pets and children. Think of places like under the sink or behind the fridge. These are mice hangout areas but certainly not places children can get to. A properly placed mouse trap is a highly effective mouse trap.
What Bait to Use
The bait used to catch mice is important. You want to find a bait that gives the trap enough time to be effective. Most people think of small pieces of cheese or crackers when they think of mouse traps, but these are not always good options. Some mice may be large enough to scurry away with the bait fast enough to not get caught, so not underestimate them.
Foods high in protein are always a good choice. Think of peanut butter or hazelnut spread. The scent will be strong and it will keep the mouse in place. Mice also enjoy the same seeds that birds like, so it can be effective to place peanut butter on the trap with some seeds within it.
Disposing of Your Mouse Trap
Once the mouse has been trapped and killed, it is time to clear the trap. This may seem like a harmless part of the process but the truth is that it can present health concerns. Once the mouse trap has done its job, it should leave a small, dead and decomposing animal on it. You should wear disposable gloves when handling the mouse trap and dispose of the entire device, preferably in a garbage container outside of your home.
Now that you know how to set a mouse trap properly it is important that you understand that mice are crafty creatures. Yes, you cannot simply set the trap and walk away, there is a strategy to it all. To catch a crafty mouse, you will want to avoid making certain mistakes. Mice are not brilliant creatures but they are perceptive and will have a good idea of which areas to avoid.
Identify Mice Runs
Identify mice runs by following traces left behind from the night before. Some mouse traps today even have small cameras attached to them so you can see the critters pass by. Once you have a good idea what areas of the kitchen or home the mice frequent, you can begin setting the traps properly. Knowing how to set a mouse trap comes down to knowing where it will be most effective.
Eliminate Human Scent
When setting a mouse trap it is important that you eliminate human scent by wearing gloves. Mice are not necessarily smart enough to know that a mouse trap is set to kill them, but they will stay away from it if it has a strong human scent. Gloves should help to mask some of the scents and will increase your chances of success.
Try Different Bait
If the old peanut butter trick is not working, try something different. High-calorie sweets and fats are perfect because they typically have a strong scent. Anything large enough to fit in the trap is good because it keeps the mouse in place. If you want to use cheese, use a cheese with a strong odor. In general, mice like the same food we do, which is one reason they like to live in our homes!
Now you know how to set a mouse trap without getting hurt and how to best trick the crafty rodents. It is fantastic when a trap works like a charm ,but the truth is that sometimes they can take time. Give the trap a few nights to do its job, and if you need to, experiment with placement and bait.
If the traps are set in places where people cannot reach them, that is best; but it does not hurt to let inhabitants of the home know! Use the tips outlined here to rid your home of the pesky rodents once and for all.