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 email@example.com.