Many brides will recognize the traditional rhyme recounting the must-have items for their big day: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” These items symbolize continuity, optimism, happiness and love as a couple enters the institution of marriage.
With a little imagination, though, this rhyme can be repurposed by pest management professionals (PMPs) as an easy reminder for selecting effective snap trap baits for house mice (Mus musculus).
Something old: House mice are notorious for their habitual behaviors. They often frequent the same runways and food sources multiple times each night. Likewise, when a mouse finds a reliable food source in a building, PMPs should bait traps with the food mice already are eating.
Something new: On the other hand, just like people, mice welcome alternatives to the foods they frequently eat. For example, when trapping in a pet store, try something sweet in addition to the pet food and grains the mice already are eating.
Something borrowed: The behavioral drive to find nesting materials is so strong that pregnant mice may leave the nest 150 times each night to “borrow” non-food materials to provision the nest. Try using bits of items such as fabric, string and paper as bait.
Something blue: Just like the color blue contrasts the traditional white wedding dress, remember that variety is the spice of life. Try as many different baits as possible, especially early in a trapping program. When you hit upon something that is working for a particular population of mice, use more. But remember that tastes and nutritional needs will vary within a population, so provide plenty of variety.
Baits always have been one of the most hotly debated topics among PMPs, and will remain that way as long as PMPs experiment with their own “secret recipes.”
By remembering these simple rules, however, you will be prepared for your own “big day” of trapping
and mouse control.