By Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D.
As the role of mice in transmitting diseases and instigating asthmatic attacks becomes better known, we have a bigger obligation to get control measures right. The key to getting the job done is mastering the art and science of trapping. Much like fishing, you have to know where, what and why you are doing what you do.
Here are some mouse control tips that can help make you an all-star pest management professional:
- Know what mouse species you’re dealing with, as different species favor different foods and harborage sites.
- Give metal traps a chance to reach room temperature before setting them up, as fluctuating temperatures can cause them to go off prematurely.
- Strategically place boxes and other materials so they force the flow of mice into areas where traps are placed.
- Set traps on upper ledges and in suspended ceilings, and mark where you place them.
- Use traps in combination with other tools. For example, place glue boards on top of low-profile traps, or vice versa.
- Mice slow down when they go around corners, so place traps or glue boards about a foot away from corners. This will help increase the likelihood that mice will encounter your preferred control method when they’re traveling at a faster speed.
- If necessary, don’t be afraid to cut into walls, floors or ceilings to place traps.
- Use bait stations in dusty areas instead of glue boards.
- Drive mice out of hollow doors they may be harboring in with piperonyl butoxide, and lay glue boards outside to catch them.
When it comes to luring mice to traps, here are a few useful ideas:
- Run a string of dental floss through melted chocolate, let it dry and use it as a lure on a trap. Mice may view it as food or an appealing nesting material.
- Mice may prefer unconventional food sources like crayons, which contain fats that mice find attractive. If mice feed on crayons for three or four days, their fecal droppings will take on the color of the crayon.
- Soften chocolate and press it onto a trap mechanism. It will then harden, requiring a mouse to pull at it and trigger the trap.
- Avoid using peanut butter — too many people, especially children, are allergic.
- Use a small amount of food so a mouse isn’t able to eat without touching the trap itself.
- Place cardboard on the floor of metal traps and bait stations in cold areas. Mice hate stepping on cold surfaces with bare feet as much as you do.
In large complexes where mice may have been entrenched for years before you come in, the cost, number of visits and amount of extra work needed may be well beyond the customer’s budget. Regardless of the account, always inspect before providing a quote, as it’s important to be upfront, honest and accurate about costs. Having the right equipment and strategies can then ensure you get the job done quickly and efficiently.
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