Tips and Tricks: Using snap traps for rodent control


November 16, 2012

By Mike Goldstein
Sales Manager, Woodstream

It’s becoming increasingly popular to use the traditional wooden base snap trap as a key tool in any successful rodent control program. Pest management professionals (PMPs) have learned that, when used properly, nothing crashes a mouse population faster then hitting it hard with snap traps.

The first key step is to perform a thorough inspection to determine where you must place your traps. This includes all the areas adjacent to and above or below the area you’re treating, such as drop ceilings, crawlspaces and false floors. Identify heat sources or warm areas in the room, such as appliances and electrical motors, because mice will be drawn there. Look for active areas or runways with lots of droppings and mouse odor — these are signs of activity on which to focus your trapping efforts.

You can never use too many traps! A common, critical mistake is using too few traps to match the level of infestation. This only increases your time and labor. What you end up doing is simply harvesting mice instead of eliminating the problem quickly. It’s always better to overkill the job then to not use enough traps initially.

Also be aware that most snap traps have an adjustable sensitivity setting on the yellow expanded trigger. The “S” on the trigger stands for “sensitive” and the “F” for “firm.” This allows you to change the sensitivity of the trigger; however, most times placing the locking bar in the middle position is recommended.

When placing your traps, don’t just place one trap here and another 10 ft. away. Put traps along runways in groupings of two, three and four traps, spaced 1 in. apart. This will increase your catch rate and success.

The next step is to select the attractant. Always offer mice a buffet, or at least a choice. Certainly use whatever mice are feeding on in the account, but also offer several other options, such as peanut butter, hazelnut spread, molasses, sunflower seed, chocolate, raisins, chocolate-covered raisins, pet food and beef jerky sticks. Schools and other sensitive facilities may have a zero-peanut-tolerance policy to avoid allergy issues. Make sure you’re aware of any such policy before selecting any peanut product as your attractant.

In addition to food attractants, you should offer some traps with nesting material, such as dental floss or a piece of cotton ball tied or jammed under the raised “V” of the trigger. This forces better interaction between the mouse and trap, which increases your catch rate.

The mouse snap trap is a great tool that should not be overlooked. When used properly, it can have a huge positive impact on your rodent control program — and the bottom line.

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