Efficient trapping of rats and mice can be an effective part of their control. In some instances, it can be an effective method on its own, but for this there are a few tips and tricks that will help you.
- Avoid putting your scent, or that of other animals, on the traps or bait. Always wear clean gloves when handling the traps or applying bait to the traps. The scent of humans or other animals such as pets can deter rodents and will at the very least mean they take longer to interact with the traps.
Wearing gloves also protects you from diseases that rodents can carry.
- Use the right bait. A well-positioned treadle type trap may not need to be baited. If you can set the trap where rodents are known to travel, (e.g., base of walls, fences, gaps around pipes and cables) with the trap perpendicular to the wall and the treadle towards the wall the rodent only must run over the treadle to set the trap off. See the 1-2-3 Rodent Trapping Programme.
If using bait, clean any old bait away and place the fresh bait carefully in the bait holder. Chocolate, peanut butter or hazelnut spread are the most effective readily available baits. They are attractive to rodents and will remain palatable for several weeks in dry conditions. Use small amounts of bait, these force rodents to interact more closely with the traps.
If there are other food sources available to the rodents that cannot be removed, or access denied, then food baits may be less effective. An alternative in such situations is to use something that rodents might use as nesting material; strands of wool, cotton, string, etc. can work well.
- Pre-position traps without setting them for 2-3 days. Place the traps in position but do not set them, this gets the rodents used to the traps and more likely to interact with the traps when they are set. The traps can also be baited while pre-positioned to get the rodents used to the bait.
- Set several traps close together (within a metre of each other). Placing more than one trap in locations that rodents are known to be travelling has two advantages: it increases the likelihood of catching the rodents by increasing the possible interactions with traps, and when a trap is set off and catches a rodent there are still set traps available to catch further rodents. There is very rarely only one rat or mouse in an infestation.
- Place traps in several locations. Plan to catch as many of the rodents in the infestation as possible in the first few nights. You can use a variety of baits so that you catch individuals with different taste in food.
See also the 1-2-3 Rodent Control Programme.