Radio interview source: Stephen Vantassel, Wildlife Damage Management Expert, Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
Listen here to the radio story (mp3) or read below
Almost everyone has had to deal with mice and figure out how to get rid of them. Stephen Vantassel is a wildlife damage management expert. He says do what you can to seal off cracks and crevices from the outside to prevent mice from coming in. However, even if you just see one mouse, he recommends setting numerous traps in strategic locations. In other words, think like a mouse.
"When the person's thinking about setting traps, they need to think where is the heat source coming from this building, because that's where the mice are ultimately going to be drawn to," Vantassel says. "The other thing they want to look at is what are the travel ways? For example, mice will use pipes, they'll use studs, they will use things that go from floor-to-floor. They are exceptional climbers, and they are exceptional jumpers as well."
Vantassel says if it's easy for you to check the traps, they're probably in the wrong place. Mice avoid open areas. They prefer to stay in the shadows, hugging the edges. There are a variety of baits you can use to coax mice into a trap. Peanut butter, bird seed glued to the trigger, and caramel are very effective. Cotton is also attractive for nesting material. Sometimes mice get the bait without being caught, but Vantassel says you can outsmart them. "A lot of times that happens because they didn't set it sensitively enough, or the mouse was able to lick the peanut butter off without triggering the trap," Vantassel says. "In those situations, I tell them to get some panty hose, and then wrap the trigger slightly with the panty hose. And that way, the peanut butter can actually meld in with the panty hose so when he bites it and pulls, that's what fires the trap."
Vantassel says although there are many types of mouse traps, the type of trap you choose may depend on your willingness to handle the carcass.
Learn more about trapping mice and pest control from the National Pesticide Information Center and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
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