I’m tasked with training my fellow technicians on snap traps. They all know how to use them, obviously, so after I review the basics, do you have any helpful hints so they can maybe up their game?
—Scared Newbie At Perfecting Professional, Educational Discourse (SNAPPED)
Good luck on your training event! Here are three tips on how to make snap traps as effective as they can be:
1. A little dab will do ya. If you watch a mouse approach your trap, sometimes you may see it “lean” over the bait cup and nibble out some of the lure, without the trap snapping. That usually means you have put too big a dollop of lure on the trigger. When you only put on a little bit of lure, mice have to work harder to get it — and are more likely to trigger the trap.
2. Know your “F” from your “S.” Let’s talk about the “F” and “S” on the expanded trigger of most snap traps. Your first impression might be that the letters stand for “Fast” and “Slow.” However, they really signify “Firm” and “Soft.” Soft will trigger easily; Firm will take a bit more effort. I always use Soft unless I’m in an area where there might be a lot of environmental vibration, such as near a dishwasher.
3. Switch it up. I have not personally seen this with Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) or house mice (Mus musculus), but I have seen roof rats (Rattus rattus) become familiar — or sensitized, so to speak — to a specific snap trap model. The scenario usually goes like this: You catch a lot of them; you know you have more. Then suddenly, you just don’t get any activity on your snap traps anymore. When this happens, try a different snap trap model — one with a different look from what you have been using. You may be surprised at what you catch after switching. It’s not because one trap is better than another, but because it doesn’t look like the old trap in which the roof rat barely missed getting caught.
Email your questions about insect identification and pest management technologies to email@example.com. Your questions most likely will be printed and answered in one of Pest Management Professional’s upcoming columns.