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How to Select and Set Up a Mouse Trap

Ask This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook gives tips on the best ways to trap mice, and how to keep them out of a home.

If a rodent found a way into your house it’s time to take action. There are several manufactured traps to help catch and kill mice that sneak into a home. We compare five types of mouse traps so you can decide which one to use.

How to Set Up a Mouse Trap

Metal Pedal Mouse Trap

One of the oldest but most effective traps is the metal pedal mouse trap. To set a metal pedal mouse trap:

  1. Pull back the metal arm and place peanut butter on the metal pedal with a toothpick or a knife. You do not want human scent on the trap.
  2. Pull the kill bar back and latch the metal arm bar into the metal pedal.
  3. Place the trap perpendicular to the wall where mouse activity has been seen.

Kill and Contain Mouse Trap

The kill-and-contain mouse trap is very similar to the metal pedal, but the trap is surrounded by a container. To set it up:

  1. Place peanut butter in the bait cup and close it.
  2. Pull the trap set level and place it parallel to the base of the wall.
  3. When the mouse is killed, the mouse is not seen and the trap is thrown out.

Plastic Mouse Trap

There is a plastic version of the metal pedal mouse trap that is equally as effective. To set this type of trap simply press down on the spring-activated lever and place peanut butter in the bait area. The lever will clamp down on the mouse and kill it.

Electronic Mouse Trap

An electronic mouse trap is battery-powered and can be set along the wall. When the mouse enters the trap, it receives an electric shock powerful enough to kill it.

Live Animal Cage

A live animal cage allows homeowners to lure mice into a cage with food. Instead of killing the animal, however, it just traps the mouse. You can then get rid of the mouse as you see fit.

Tips for Avoiding Mice

  • To avoid mice in a home, be sure to close any cracks or gaps in the exterior of the house.
  • Use a foam sealant in a crack, cover it with wire cloth and add another layer of sealant. This should form a solid barrier from pests.
  • Smaller gaps can also be covered with steel wool. Mice have a tough time eating through this material.
  • To ward off mice, use a repellent. There are a number of repellents available that give off a smell mice do not like.