How To Set A Mouse Trap (Without Losing A Finger!)

how to set a mouse trap

If you find evidence of mice on your property, you need to get rid of them as soon as you can. They can damage properties, eat food and build nests if they are left unchecked.

There are various traps available, and these are easy to set if you know how. Wooden snap traps are the most common, and these have to be set with great care. As long as the traps are loaded with the correct bait and placed correctly, you should soon be able to resolve the problem. Before you set your trap up, you need to get your preparation right.

Where to position the mouse traps

  • Placing them randomly around the house won’t solve the problem. You need to look for evidence of where mice run or feed. They stick close to walls, so don’t set your trap out in the open. Look for droppings, bite marks, scratches or gnawed bags of food.
  • The best time to place your trap is during the afternoon or in the evening. They should be in place before the mice come out at night.
  • The trap should be placed at right angles to the wall, with the bait on the side closest to the wall.
  • If you know where the mice are gaining access to your property, place traps close to the entrance. You can put more than one trap in the same place.
  • Don’t put a mouse trap anywhere where pets or children can get to it.

Choose your bait

The right bait will also help to catch the mice. If you put down foods they don’t like, they won’t go near your traps. Try to put all food in your house in plastic containers or sealed cupboards. Removing any available food will help draw the mice to the trap.

Just some of the foods you can use are:

  • Peanut butter. The consistency means it won’t fall off a trap and mice love the taste.
  • Sunflower seeds. Another mouse favorite, and the hard shell on the seed means they will sit and gnaw to get in to it. This makes it more likely they will trip the trap. Seeds are best in traps which have a tray for food.
  • Mice have a sweet tooth, so a small piece of chocolate will make good bait.
  • If you use cheese it needs to have a good, strong smell to attract the mice.
  • Bacon bits. The smell will attract them to the trap.

Types of trap

While the snap trap is still a firm favorite, there are other types of trap on the market.

  • Snap trap: These have a bar with a spring which snaps shut when the mouse touches the trigger.
  • Press and Set: These are also spring loaded, but they are easier to set up than a snap trap.
  • Electronic: These deliver an electric shock which kills the mouse instantly.
  • No kill trap: These are humane traps which don’t actually kill the mouse.
  • Glue trap: These are not so popular and in some areas they can no longer be used. They simply glue the mouse to the trap so it can’t escape.

There are also many versions of homemade traps around.

How to set a mouse trap

1. Snap trap

These traps are cheap and work well for catching mice. Most people prefer to simply throw the trap away with the mouse once it’s done its job. While these are popular, they do tend to frighten people when they try to set them as it is very possible to catch your finger in the trap.

Victor mouse traps are readily available and this is the best way to set one.

  • First of all, look at the trap and remove the staple which holds the arm to the base.
  • You will need something like peanut butter as other bait could roll off this type of trap if it’s knocked. Put just enough peanut butter on the trigger to cover it and as far from the spring as possible.
  • Pull back the snap wire, keeping a firm grip on it.
  • Carefully put the lock bar under the hook on the trigger. If you keep one thumb firmly on the snap wire it will prevent it from snapping shut.
  • With the lock bar in place, slowly release the pressure on the snap wire. It will move in to place as the lock bar sets.
  • Be very careful, because the trap will snap shut if the lock bar is not set correctly.
  • Place the trap by holding one end, with your fingers clear of the snap wire.
  • Place the trigger end with the bait at a 90 degree angle to the wall.

Here’s a great instructional video:

2. Press and set

These traps also have a spring to catch the mice, but they are easier to set than a snap trap.

  • Inside the trap is a small cup for the bait. You can use peanut butter but it is also designed for seeds.
  • With the bait in place, simply pull the snap arm back until it clicks in to place.
  • The trap is now set, and can be placed against the wall, being careful to hold it so it cannot trap your fingers.

One advantage of these traps over a snap trap is that if you catch a mouse, you can simply release it and use the trap again.

To see how easy these traps are to set, just watch this video:

3. Electronic

These traps are much safer to set up. The deliver an electric shock as the mouse enters which kills them instantly.

  • They work on batteries so first you must make sure you put fresh batteries in.
  • Lift the trap and place the bait in the bait station inside. Peanut butter is a good choice as the mice will smell it and be drawn inside the trap. Don’t use your fingers to place the bait or the mice could detect your smell and be scared away from the trap.
  • Replace the lid and place against the wall with the entrance to the trap closest to the wall.
  • Switch the trap on and it’s ready to catch mice.

For an easy to use guide, just watch this video:

4. Humane / No kill trap

There are different versions of no kill traps, but they mainly follow the same principle. They have a trap door which releases as they enter, then closes behind them, trapping the mouse inside the trap. You then release the mouse back outside, but far enough away that it won’t find its way back.

  • First raise the lid and place your bait inside.
  • Close the lid.
  • Place the trap against the wall with the entry closest to the wall.
  • You do not have to set anything else as the trap door mechanism will automatically close and trap the mice inside.
  • When you want to release the mice, simply lift the lid to let them out,

Find out how easy and humane these traps are with this video:

5. Glue trap

Use glue traps with care as it’s possible you may catch other critters as well. If you check these traps regularly, you can release the mouse without it injuring itself.

  • Place the bait in the middle of the glue trap. It needs to stick so it cannot fall off.
  • Place the trap against the wall, out of the way of pets.

To free a mouse stuck to a glue trap you need simple vegetable oil. A Q-tip is also recommended so you don’t get your fingers within biting distance of the mouse. Dribble some oil on the mouse and on the glue and spread the oil with the Q-tip, particularly where the mouse is touching the glue.

As the mouse struggles it will work the oil in and will eventually release itself from the trap.

To find out more about glue traps just watch this video:

Homemade traps

There are many homemade methods which are used all over the country to catch mice and most of these are effective and simple to set up. If you want to create a homemade mouse trap, you need to make sure you have a way of catching the mice that they can’t get out of.

One method shown in this video uses an empty toilet roll, a piece of cheese and a plastic bin! You can also use a raisin or peanut butter.


Comments are closed.