Thursday, August 27, 2015

ERJ Annual Rodentia Trapping Guide (2015 edition)

This is the time of year when mice, voles and other rodents enter the house.

Their numbers outside are peaking.  I don't know that they are trying to get out of the cold.  I think their population is so high that they are being pressured into very niche, cranny, crack and crevice of habitat.

So I heard that gnawing sound a couple of nights ago.  Mice.

I am back to using these.  I was having too many "misses" with the traditional traps with the bent metal trigger.
One of the downsides of this trap is that you will sometimes get a non-lethal leg hold.  The mouse will drag the trap off if it is not secured.  I secure them by taking a three foot (1m) length of whatever string is handy (this is black #69 nylon thread) and tying it into a loop.  You can see the knot in the lower left corner.  Then I run the other end of the loop into the pivot of the dog as shown in the upper center of the photo.

Stuff the knot in the top of a screw top bottle.  Add at least two ounces (60ml) of water.
Screw on the top.
I like using a combination bait.  A mouse might lick off the peanut butter off the trigger but they have to tug on the raisins.
Push that raisin into the bait well.  Wedge it in good.  Drier, harder raisins are best.  I once worked with a man who salvaged a half peanut from an M&M that had been stepped on.  He super-glued it to the trigger of a trap.  He used the same half peanut for two years, catching countless factory mice.  He is my hero.
Peanut butter pulls them in.  It is the smell.  The peanut butter that is scraped off  on the inside the rim is plenty good enough for bait.
Ready for placement.
Ideally, you will place four traps in four different places.  The reason for four different sets is because you don't always know the best place to put them.  Also, you may have a colony that you are not yet aware of.  Once you start getting catches you can move some of your non-performers closer to your more successful sets.

Catching the second mouse is always a letdown.  Two mice is the biological equivalent of an imaginary number.  Imaginary numbers may exist but they flicker in-and-out of existence so quickly that they do not exist in time as we know it.

This type of trap also works well atop girts in pole barns.  You need to use a box nail or a drywall screw to fix the business end to the top of the girt.  These traps do not need to be baited when placed in a run!

Another good place is to put them near storage tubs (bins) that have been pushed up against the wall.  Due to the taper of the bins, there is nearly always a "runway" between the bottom of the tub and the base board.  Mice cannot resist the perceived security of running those enclosed stretches.  It must be a primordial fear of owls and hawks.

Good luck!!!   I am pulling for you.


  1. Kudos to your half M+M friend. A almond, glued and crimped into the bait holder of a regular mouse trap will last for many mice. Half the hassle is rebaiting a messy trap.I keep a pair of blue disposable gloves near the sets to put on when handling kills. Usually a casual walk by will tell-if there is a dead mouse, there will be flies. It is amazing how quick a fly will find carrion.

  2. Good idea, I guess the mice I caught were dumb, they went for the crunchy peanut butter. :-)

  3. Good idea, I guess the mice I caught were dumb, they went for the crunchy peanut butter. :-)

  4. We have had a pocket gopher infestation here in recent years . Never used to see them around, I think they may make use of pre-dug mole tunnels. This coincides with the strange disappearance of garter snakes- we used to have a lot of them, now I rarely see them. Are there places to buy "seed snakes"? "Snakes to Go" or something like that? I would love to let 100 or so loose here. Any non venomous native species would be fine to keep the vermin down.