Because of their keen sense of smell, mice are exceptionally sensitive to the scent that you leave on any trap that you set out for them. This can make all but the most appetizing of traps almost useless especially if you have a sizable mice problem or a particularly clever critter on your hands. Luckily, there are ways that you can even the odds by masking your scent from mouse traps.
So how exactly can you remove the human smell from a human-set mouse trap? An effective trap can lure in mice, but it only takes one caught mouse or one skin-to-skin handling of the trap itself to serve as a warning to other mice in the area. Aside from masking the signs of human activity on the trap itself by minimizing your contact with it, you should also take into account non-human scents that can also act as warning triggers for mice.
Learn More: Facts About Mouse Traps That You Need to Know
Mice may have a subpar vision in the dark, but their sharp sense of hearing and a keen nose for scents allow them to evade most predators - and in this case, most traps if you aren't careful. Fortunately, the rule for lessening the "human" scent from your traps is very simple: avoid skin-to-skin contact.
Humans have a unique scent that mice can easily distinguish from anything else - this is why they feel comfortable going through the areas at home with the highest foot traffic while also keeping close to the dark recesses where they can easily retreat. Anything you touch, come into contact with, or are nearby most of the time are all triggers for mice and can be more than enough reason for them to run.
So if you're looking to avoid that when it comes to your mouse traps, the easiest way to do it is to minimize your contact with your trap entirely. You can do this in the following ways:
Mice can easily smell where you've come and gone, and if you draw attention to an area where you've set a trap, they're more likely to be a little cautious around any traps you might have set. This doesn't mean that your traps don't work anymore even if you touch them once - there are some types of traps that are almost irresistible to mice infestations - but it significantly lowers your chances of getting a catch.
But what if you live in a small space, or are in a home where human scents are everywhere? What exactly can you do then? The simple answer is to get creative.
Read More: How To Get Rid Of Mice Without Traps
A mouse infestation can seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn't take a lot of observation to note that all mice are creatures of habit. They like to frequent certain places while avoiding other areas, and they're almost always after three things in a home: food, shelter, and warmth.
Once you've figured out the behavior of the mouse that you're dealing with, it becomes a little simpler to make the issue less of not leaving your scent on your traps, but rather making sure that the mice come to the trapped area either way.
There are a few ways you can do this:
While putting cheese in the trigger of snap traps still works for rodent infestations, mice tend to be faster, lighter on their feet, and just as clever as their rodent counterparts. This makes conventional rodent traps a little difficult to use on your average kitchen mouse.
However, there are some types of traps that work better than others when it comes to catching mice, the foremost being bait traps. While human foods like peanut butter, foodstuffs like pet food, or any other food debris are attractive to a mouse, it's the specially-formulated mix that you find in bait traps that can be the most successful.
For these traps, the mice may smell your scent but continue towards the trap either way because the bait is just that appetizing. If you see frequent signs of mice activity (especially around areas where you keep food) bait traps are far more likely to give you successful results, since the mice are already conditioned to go after things that smell like food.
Most homeowners make the elementary mistake of leaving their traps exposed in the middle of the kitchen or in the corner of the dining room, trusting the bait to be attractive or enticing enough to catch mice. While this approach isn't wrong, it's definitely prone to a lower catch rate since the mice will notice the trap long before it gets caught by it.
This is why some experts recommend trapping specific areas where the mice already feel comfortable going in and are therefore less likely to be on guard. This includes recesses in your walls or ceilings, behind your cabinets, or underneath your drawers. Since these are the places that mice often run to when they feel threatened, you can essentially drive them there when you see them and force them to run into your traps.
Traps along walls, traps with a trigger plate, or even glue traps are excellent ways to catch mice using this strategy. While they’re not exactly the easiest methods, they're undoubtedly effective and should help you catch the odd mouse or two that's managed to sneak their way inside your house.
A mouse trap that successfully catches a mouse is more than a sign that it's worked - it's a potential warning to other mice in the area that you're taking action against them. A spooked mouse is almost impossible to capture, and trapping it will require a lot of time, patience, and effort - all things you might not have the time for.
So if you're facing a sizable mouse infestation, always make sure to maintain your traps when necessary. If your traps catch and kill a mouse, replace or clear it out immediately as mice can sense the smell of death on a trap that hasn't been maintained. Even a no-kill trap should be maintained and checked once in a while to make sure that bait or the trap itself hasn't been moved or ruined by mice activity.
You should also use this opportunity to make your traps more difficult to detect. While it's generally a good idea to place traps along with places where mice like to travel, they'll catch on if it's left there for too long. It's an ever-developing race of you understanding your mice's behavior as they change it, and making sure that your traps are set to take advantage of those behavioral changes.
Overall, making sure that your mouse traps do their job isn't just limited to reading the instructions and setting it down properly - it's to integrate how your particular mouse is behaving to give yourself the highest chance of catching it. For the single mice inside your cupboards, the above strategies work just fine - but for a full-on infestation, you'll need the help of a professional to get that work done.
Learn More: How to Safely Open a Mouse Trap
When a mouse trap isn't enough, Positive Pest Management is there to bring the best and latest innovations in pest control to New York and Long Island. Specializing in both residential and commercial pest control, we remove insects, unwanted animals, and other pests from properties while implementing long-term solutions to prevent them from returning. For more information about us and the services we provide, contact us at 1-800-294-3130 today.