The Best Mouse Trap Options for Your Home
While keeping your home clean and sealing off common entry points are two essential ways to keep mice outdoors, these creatures often find a way to get inside your home—regardless of your efforts. If this happens, don't fret: There are ways to lure them out and remove them effectively. "Mice are quick and clever animals, so bait is a valuable tool for reducing populations. Homeowners can count on sweet or fatty foods to draw in rodents, including peanut butter, wet cat food, and soft cheese," explains Shannon Motley, a senior merchant at The Home Depot. "For optimal results, homeowners can try specialty baits, which are designed to lure in and poison mice, like Bait Block Peanut Butter Flavor Anticoagulant Rodenticide for Mice and Rats ($22.20, homedepot.com)."
Another option is to use a trap. If you're concerned, know that there are several humane, live-capture varieties on the market. Here, experts explain the different trap options available to you, no exterminator required.
"An electric mouse trap—like the Victor Electronic Mouse Trap ($22, homedepot.com)—is essentially a small box where bait is placed," says Motley. "Once the rodent enters the trap, a high voltage current is sent throughout the body of the mouse or rat, producing a kill in as little as five seconds." She adds that electric shock happens because it completes the circuit once the mouse steps on it, releasing the voltage into the rodent.
This option allows you to catch a mouse without harming it at all. Essentially, the rodent finds its way to the bait in the trap. Once this happens, a metal door closes and keeps the mouse inside. While this type of trap—such as the Harris Catch and Release Humane Mouse Trap ($8.88, homedepot.com)—is reusable, safe around pets and kids, and the most humane variety, you should think through how to properly exterminate or keep the mouse out afterwards. Motley says rodents usually try coming back, making this option less effective to ward them off permanently. Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware's home expert, agrees and recommends looking at your community's regulations; many municipalities do not allow homeowners to catch and release rodents back out in the wild, he says. He recommends the JT Eaton Repeater Multiple Catch Trap ($14, acehardware.com), since there is almost always more than one mouse in a home.
Before using this choice, Manfredini explains that snap traps will need bait—but you shouldn't use cheese. He recommends peanut butter or hummus. "Snap traps are ones that activate quickly and kill the rodents in less than a second or two, so there is little to no suffering," he adds. While these come in different makes and models, most traditionally you will find one that has a metal bar. After placing this trap in an area where the mouse is most likely to visit, the bar will snap and kill the rodent once it makes its way to the bait, Motley says; she suggests the Victor Metal Pedal Mouse Trap Bundle ($24.01, homedepot.com). Manfredini notes that snap traps are typically effective, but mice can set them off and still not get caught. Another variation on this is the Tomcat Spin Trap ($8, acehardware.com). This exterminates mice immediately (they're much less likely to get away)—plus, you won't see the mouse at all. All you'll need to do is add peanut butter to the trap and activate it. While you can reuse this option, Manfredini suggests throwing it away once the mouse dies.
Glue traps are coated with adhesive to cause mice or rats to immediately stick to the product's surface. This trap often comes pre-baited, so you simply need to place it in the necessary areas of your home. However, this choice is not recommended. Once the rodents get stuck, they typically die of starvation unless otherwise exterminated. More humane options are suggested to limit as much suffering as possible, our experts explain.
"Baits are a food source that kill the rodents, and the best way to use these is to bait them outside of the home," Manfredini says. "Creating a food source outside of the home pulls the rodents out and there is a better chance they expire outside of the home, rather than indoors." His suggestion? D-Con Bait Station Blocks For Mice and Rats ($22, acehardware.com), specifically since the bait station will only attract the mice—so it is safe to use around your pets.
Whenever you can, consider using humane options that draw mice away from your interior without killing them. "Repellents are just that—humane sprinkles and enclosed pouches you place to repel the rodents from areas of your home," Manfredini says. "These, used in combination with baiting outdoors, can be very effective." While he notes that there are electronic repellents (these emit a wave that hurts a mouse's ears) on the market, they don't work for an extended period of time; critters can eventually learn to ignore the sound altogether. He recommends Bonide Rat Magic Repellent Pouches ($20, acehardware.com) since they are especially helpful around troublesome areas—like the underbelly of your sink or your basement.