Trapping a mouse, or even it’s wee family is actually much easier than you might think! With the right tools in place, you can set up a solution that will keep on working - long after you spot the mouse. Don’t be scared about nasty trap setups, below we step through five easy steps which will show you how to trap a mouse in your Aussie home.
1 - Understand what’s attracting your mice
The first step is finding what they’re eating, and what they’re attracted to. It could be food crumbs in a cupboard, rubbish bags overflowing or something as simple as pet food on the ground. It may seem like nothing to us, but mice only need to eat around three grams a day to survive, so a few bread crumbs go a long way.
Next, we need to understand how they’re getting in. This one can be more difficult as mice can squeeze through the tiniest of holes (think about a pencil circumference!) these can be difficult to identify and cover. If you can’t find the holes, don’t stress, you’ll find the mice at the food source… hopefully your trap!
If you’ve seen mice outside, this generally means they’re inside too. Especially when temperatures start to drop, that’s when mice come indoors to nest. A wide range of trap locations is critical in this instance, so think about where you could put a number of mouse traps.
2 - Choosing the right bait & pre-feeding
Forget the old tales about a mouse and its cheese, modern mice have moved on to the good stuff. They generally look for foods that are high in energy and good fats, think peanut or almond butter, or even chocolate. No matter which trap you choose, it’s important you use a bait that’s different from what's available in the house and is super high in energy for the mouse.
Pre-feeding around traps is a sure-fire way to attract mice to the trap space, and get them used to the trap - you can even pre-feed before setting your mouse trap. Place small amounts of your chosen bait/lure around your trap location in the week before your trap is live; this attracts mice closer and gets them familiar with the trap.
If you’re using a traditional manual trap, it’s critical to use a very small amount of bait - about a pea-size. This will ensure the mouse doesn’t nibble and get away without triggering the trap, it also reduces the risk of an inhumane kill. If you are using an automatic trap, like the A24, the automatic lure pump manages this for you, so you don’t need to worry about how much lure to use - more on this below.
3 - Choosing a mouse 'trap' type
There’s a huge range of mouse traps available on the market, and something different for everyone. Here’s three common types of trap with their pros and cons:
A low cost, and common solution, the snap trap comes in many shapes and sizes and is generally available at your local hardware store. While they do require constant resetting, they will catch anything that sets off the trap - so they can be very effective. After every kill, remove the dead rodent and reset the bait and trap so they trap is live once again.
It’s important to set many snap traps in a small area if this is your chosen type of trapping. Mice can nibble at baits, and even jump over them so some pest groups recommend gluing more than one together. If caught cleanly, a snap trap can produce a humane kill on a small mouse but it’s critical to follow all instructions.
Remember that most baits will go rancid within a week, so if you haven’t had any action for over a week on a snap trap it’s important to reset it, add new bait and move it to a new location for a better chance of success.
A poison block could be a simple solution to your mouse problem. The baits attract a wide range of pests and are easy to install. This is a possible solution if you don’t have pets or children, or if the mice are in a space away from where humans are living (think a garden shed). Because poison is a catch-all, it’s critical that other animals or humans can’t access the bait as they’re deadly to many. It’s also important to wear protective equipment when handling poisons, and contact your local poisons center if you have any worries.
Poison will produce an inhumane kill, as they rodent will generally take a long time to die. This means they can go back to nests (often dying in transit), and leave you a nasty surprise in hidden spaces, like walls or ceilings for example. It’s also critical other animals don’t eat the dead mouse, as secondary poisoning can be toxic.
A24 from Goodnature
The A24 was designed for rats and mice, so it’s larger than needed for mice alone. The beauty of this is that it will also kill rats, humanely and safely. It also means that it’s very powerful for mice, and with the right set up will ensure for a very humane kill.
The A24 is automatic and resets itself 24 times before you need to reset it. If you’re not interested in changing baits or resetting a trap every few days, the A24 may be a better solution for you. Outdoor kills will likely be scavenged by other pests. If you’re trapping indoors you’ll need to remove the bodies.
It’s the most expensive option listed here, but best for those who are looking for non-toxic, automatic and human-mouse trapping.
4 - Choosing a trap location
Mice have a smaller home range than rats, around three to six meters usually. Many traps, in a small radius, is the most effective positioning method. No matter which trap you choose, place it in a dark, safe area like the back of a cupboard, in a ceiling or behind your garden shed. If this isn’t possible, traps laid along a perimeter where a mouse is more sheltered can be just as effective.
If you’re using snap traps, remember to use many in a small space to ensure you catch the mice moving through. It’s also important with snap traps to set many on the first night, this is the time you’re likely to have the most success. If you’re using an automatic trap, there’s nothing stopping you from making 24 kills on the first night with one trap, so no need to worry about this detail.
5 - Setting the trap
Mice are a little more curious than rats, but they’ll still be cautious of a new trap set up. It’s really important to let the mice get used to your trap set up, before there’s any trapping involved. Pre-feeding allows the mice to explore your trap safely, and get comfortable with it in their space.
When setting your trap, be careful to wear gloves and avoid any contact with pets before handling. Mice can smell the scent on a person's hands, which can put them off a trap. If they sense the scent of a predator (like your cat or dog) on the trap, this will have a negative impact on the attractiveness of the trap also.
These are five simple steps which show you how to trap a mouse at your Australian home. Once you’ve completed your set up, you can let the trap do the work! Please check out our other blogs for more information on trapping pests in Australia.