Why house mouse device placement matters

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January 20, 2017

mouse photo from iStock.com/PCreativeNature_nl

Photo: ©iStock.com/PCreativeNature_nl

When it comes to Mus musculus management, one of the most important rules of thumb is to place bait stations, traps or other control devices where house mice are active. This recommendation might sound elementary, but it’s worth the extra effort to make sure the location of your house mouse control devices are based on the biology and behavior of the rodent, not on your convenience.

House mice are curious by nature, and will often enter multiple-catch traps and investigate traditional snap traps without needing to be lured in by a bait. When a mouse encounters something new in its environment, its natural behavior is to explore the item.

It’s important to remember, though, that curiosity only kicks in if the novel item is placed within the normal range of activity for house mice. Because the natural range of a house mouse is only 15 to 20 ft. from its nesting location, a device placed 20 ft. away may never be encountered at all.

To increase the likelihood that a mouse will encounter and spend time interacting with a device, traps and bait stations should be placed in areas where mice are known to be active. To identify these areas, inspect dark corners and other out-of-the-way places for mouse droppings and other signs of infestation.

Avoid placing devices in areas where no evidence exists. Mice use chemical cues in sebum (gland oils that leave rub marks), droppings and urine to communicate; an abundance of these chemical cues in a location indicates to a mouse that it’s a good place to eat, drink, rest or explore.

The bottom line: If a location is good enough for a mouse, it’s a great place for a control device.

Dr. Fredericks, VP of technical and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), can be reached at jfredericks@pestworld.org.

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About the Author

Dr. Jim Fredericks

You can reach Dr. Fredericks, VP of technical and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), at jfredericks@pestworld.org.

Leave A Comment

  1. Lolo says:

    I’ve been using ammonia on my floors and where there have been droppings and rodent repellant until I get my house inspected by wildlife professionals… one has actually died in the ammonia .

    I’ve done some sealing and I gotta get traps. I’ve removed all foods away.

    What else can I do for now besides getting snap traps ??

    1. PMP Staff says:

      Lolo, the National Pest Management Association’s website has an entire page devoted to rodents and what homeowners can do about them: http://www.pestworld.org/search/?search=rodent. However, we really do recommend you get a professional in ASAP. He or she can figure out exactly where the problem is coming from and address it specifically. Good luck!