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Cooler weather brings mice: How to effectively set a mousetrap

Cooler weather brings mice: How to effectively set a mousetrap

As the temperature continues to decline and we prepare for cooler weather, it is time to remember that rodents are doing the same. Safe shelter and a small amount of food is all it takes to sustain an infestation of mice in the home. If you suspect rodents in your home, it is recommended to contact a pest control professional to have them eliminated; however, many homeowners resort to do-it-yourself remedies, such as setting mouse traps. Here are a few simple tips to consider when placing mouse traps throughout your home.


Do

Do ensure you have a good number of traps

A common error is using only a few traps. Because mice are secretive in nature and are primarily active at night, we tend to underestimate the size of the infestation. Mice are prolific when it comes to reproduction, and so chances are high that you will have more than one mouse. Set several traps for this reason, and if you do only have one mouse, more traps will increase your chance of capture anyway.

Do place traps along walls

Because they are heavily predated upon in the wild, mice prefer to remain undetected and will typically cling to walls as they travel back and forth from their food source to their nest. Therefore, set traps along the walls where mice will encounter them.

Do follow manufacturer’s recommended use for traps

Not all traps are alike, snap traps or glue traps come in different varieties. For optimal results, you should follow the recommendations on placement from the manufacturer. Following their instructions can be well worth a small investment in time.

Do contact a pest management professional

Mice commonly cause damage to walls, wiring, and furniture with their continuous gnawing behavior. Additionally, they contaminate food, utensils, countertops and household items with their droppings and urine, and also carry disease-causing pathogens. If you suspect that mice may be present, the best action to take is to contact a pest management professional. A pest management professional is knowledgeable on mouse biology, and can help design an effective pest management strategy to eliminate (or even prevent) a mouse infestation.


Don't

Do not underestimate the population

When it comes to reproduction, rodents are generally prolific creatures. Mice have a gestation period of only three weeks, produce 5-7 pups per litter, and can have 6-10 litters per year. This means an infestation can happen relatively fast, and as such, the size of the infestation is often underestimated. Therefore, it’s best to contact a pest management professional, who will factor in the rodent’s reproductive potential, and design an effective management strategy accordingly.

Do not use cheese to bait for mice

Although mice and cheese seem to go hand-in-hand in cartoons and silly mouse trap illustrations, cheese is not the most attractive bait to mice. Bait snap traps with aromatic foods such as chocolate or bacon. Or, use whatever the mice are already feeding on because it is a trusted food source. In addition to using food as bait, you can also use nesting materials, such as cotton balls. A mouse’s need to find nesting materials is almost as strong as its need to find food.

Do not let children or pets near traps

Whether used by yourself or by a pest management professional, mouse traps can hurt a child’s hand or a pet’s tail or paw, so it’s important to make sure they do not come into contact with the traps. Place traps in out-of-reach or inconspicuous areas. Or, place traps inside of a cardboard box with holes cut out to permit rodent entry.

Do not handle rodents directly

All mice have the potential to carry germs which can cause illness and allergies. They can also spread disease through the ticks, fleas and mites that live on their bodies. Therefore, you should always wear gloves when handling dead rodents or used traps. Additionally, live rodents will bite when cornered or handled, so be sure to take proper precautions before handling, such as wearing heavy duty leather gloves and transporting in a hard plastic bucket or container.


Summary
Jumping cartoon

Although it helps to know how to handle an infestation, it’s just as important to know how to prevent one. Being proactive can decrease your risk of rodents invading your home; however, if you notice rodent feces or hear sounds of scurrying in the walls, remember to set a number of traps along the walls, follow manufacturers recommendations and place traps in out-of-reach areas to protect children and pets. Rodents can transmit diseases, so do not handle directly. A pest management professional can help eliminate the infestation safely and efficiently.


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Photo Credits: nikkytok/bigstock.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Nancy Troyano, PhD, BCETraining manager / Entomologist

After graduating from Lehigh Carbon Community College with an A.A.S. degree in Veterinary Technology, Nancy became a certified veterinary technician. Nancy worked as a zookeeper while pursuing a B.S. degree in Environmental Science at East Strou...

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