Over the past year, I have experimented with a few old and new mouse-control devices. Some work better and are more convenient than others, but none of them gets all the critters all the time. I am pleased to report that the mouse population in my 102-year-old farmhouse has dropped so significantly that I neither see mice nor their calling cards for up to a month at a time. Considering I experienced daily sightings back in December, I’d say I’m doing pretty well.
AgriZap Inc.’s RatZapper line of electrocuting rodent traps are the best traps on the market as far as I’m concerned (www.RatZapper.com). I put two models, the RatZapper Classic and the RatZapper Ultra, to work in the house and garage last December after limited luck with more conventional traps and, wow, did these devices do their jobs well.
These “better” mousetraps appeal to the rodent’s curiosity and eagerness to explore small cave-like areas. You can entice the little creatures with a bit of dog kibble, and when they explore deeply enough they get zapped with sufficient high voltage to stun them instantly and kill them within seconds. The RatZappers even have a light that blinks to let you know to dump the dead critter into the trash – no more getting up close and personal with the carcass and no more blood or other gore to contend with. The humane RatZapper is battery-powered, will kill many mice before running out of juice and is the best tool I have ever used in the seasonal battle against invading rodents.
Victor Quick Set
Before I experienced the RatZapper line of traps, I was pretty well sold on Victor’s Quick Set line of plastic mousetraps (www.VictorPest.com). These fall into the general snap category of traps that lure the mouse into the jaws of a clamp or spring-loaded wire. The Quick Set is a jaw-style snap trap that’s easy to use and reusable. Setting the Quick Set trap is as easy as baiting the trigger and squeezing the back side of the jaws together (much like you might squeeze a hinged clothespin) until you feel/hear a click. The trap is now set and relatively easy to place without springing. In any case, if you spring it, there’s little chance of getting bitten because you hold the Quick Set opposite the jaws.
I like this Victor model because it’s plastic, easy to clean, easy to set and easy to unload a mouse from. I also admit to enjoying the audible “snap” coming from the kitchen 20 minutes after heading off to bed to read. The Victor Quick Set was more effective than the more traditional wire-spring snap traps because I was more likely to set it, and reset it, than the older style. I still use the Quick Set traps in places that pets aren’t likely to encounter them. They have an advantage over the RatZapper – there are no batteries to worry about.
d-CON No View, No Touch
When I first spied d-CON’s No View, No Touch mouse traps in the rodent-control section of my favorite home improvement store, I kind of chuckled, since I am not at all squeamish about dead mice. But squeamish people and snap-trap triggering pets do move through the house from time to time, so I decided to give them a try. This is a new concept in traps that lures the mouse into a hockey puck-shaped container where it is dispatched with a spring-loaded device on the inside that you can’t see. These traps are effective, but designed for a single use before disposal.
To operate the d-CON, all I had to do was peel back an adhesive label to gain access to the bottom-loading bait chamber, add a bit of cheese and close the chamber. Setting the baited trap was as easy as rotating the top in a clockwise direction until it locked into place. This action also opened up the trap’s door and caused a red indicator to become visible through a hole marked “set.” Then I placed the trap in a likely corner and waited. It took a couple of days, but eventually, the trap was sprung – the red indicator showed through a hole marked “mouse caught” and the door was closed. Skeptic that I am, I had to shake the thing and palm-weigh it against a new one to convince myself that there was a mouse inside. Sure enough the No View, No Touch worked. Once I used up the package of traps, I didn’t replenish them because I would have gone broke with disposable traps.
TOMCAT Glue Traps
Even though there is some controversy over using glue traps to catch mice, I have had good luck with them over the years, so I decided to set a few glue traps here and there around the house as well. To salve my conscience I chose TOMCAT’s version with Eugenol – a naturally occurring chemical that has anesthetic properties said to reduce mouse suffering. I tend to wind up having to kill the stuck mice anyway, but I don’t believe any creature needs to suffer at my hands.
To my complete and total surprise, I was unable to catch a single mouse with the glue traps. I tried two different packages and, while the glue was plenty sticky to my touch and that of the hair on the dogs’ ears, the local Kansas mice were completely immune to it. How do I know this? Because in several instances, there were dusty mouse prints on the glue boards along with crumbs of the dog kibble they were eating while sitting there.
I am not inclined to indict TOMCAT or any other brand of glue boards here. I have used them with great success in the past in South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. The only thing that comes to mind in this instance is that the fine limestone clay dust that covers the house’s crawlspace insulated the mice sufficiently to keep them from sticking.
Once I had the mice more or less under control – in my mind at least – I felt compelled to keep the house as rodent free as possible. So, with relentless nagging from my youngest daughter, I decided to let a cat live in the house. This particular cat, I call her Callie, is a lovely calico female that just appeared at the farm one day and let herself into the house. Well, I guess I let her in when I opened the door to go do chores, but in she came and in she stayed. I wasn’t happy that she chose me at the time, but I will admit that she has grown on me considerably over the months. Callie has two confirmed kills to date – the traps have only one since her arrival. All in all, the domestic cat is the highest maintenance mousetrap I have ever experienced, but she has a way of making up for it with entertaining antics and an ever cheerful spirit.
Grit Editor Hank Will has a love-hate relationship with rodents and cats at his Osage County, Kansas, farm.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper’s Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.