Although technically mice aren’t bugs, we feel that the rate of house mice infestation is significant enough to warrant an article on this pest control site of ours. Mice and rats can be extremely difficult to tell apart with the exception being their difference in size (a rat is often twice as big as a mouse).
For ordinary homes though, mice infestations are approximately 15 times more common compared to rat infestations so if you see one of these rodents in your house and they aren’t terribly huge (longer than 4 inches in length), you can safely bet that it’s a house mouse you’re seeing.
Regardless of all that though, both mice and rats can survive for extended periods despite having very limited resources of food and water. The approaches that you can use to catch these critters are also identical so you really don’t need to tell the differences between the two.
Firstly, the single most effective method of getting rid of mice is to trap them. A snap trap, in particular, which is triggered as a mouse runs across it or if it’s baited to step upon it, is the simplest yet most cost-effective way of killing these rodents. The choice of your baits doesn’t have to be complicated because mice will be attracted to literally all sorts of food that are left out in the open.
If you still want a recommendation from us though, we’d suggest using a tiny scrap of cheese as the bait just because we’re fans of the cliche and it doesn’t get any more generic than that!
A cheap snap trap (~$12) that we find most effective is the Snap-E mouse trap because it kills a mouse instantly by snapping down on it really hard but without crushing the head or limbs. Out of 20 or so mice we killed instantly using this trap, only 1 was caught by its back foot. We still don’t know how that happened but we suspect that it’s a particularly light-footed one! It’s nothing a whack on the head wouldn’t solve though.
Because this trap doesn’t cut up or cause the rodent to suffer from bleeding injuries, you can easily reset and reuse the trap over and over again. If you plan on releasing your caught rodents alive out into the wild though, this might not be the best choice for you! For live catches, you’ll ideally want a glue or cage trap discussed below.
An alternative here would be electrical traps (that basically electrocutes the rodents to death) but these are a lot more expensive (up to $40) and will not offer any additional advantage over well-made snap traps.
Glue Traps & Cage Traps
These types of traps can ensnare a mouse and leave them well alive and without any harm but this also means that you’ll have to manually kill the mouse by whacking it over the head.
Drowning it is usually a cleaner way but we don’t do this anymore because it’s not really a humane way to kill a rat (or anything at all really). You could choose to release the mouse elsewhere but if you don’t do it far away enough (like at least half a mile away), it could very likely track its way back to your property eventually.
Poison Or Rodenticides
This used to be a popular option years ago before significant drawbacks were discovered. Firstly, other predators of rats or scavengers might consume these poisoned critters and be subsequently poisoned themselves.
Secondly, it takes a while before the poison kicks in and finally kills off the poisoned rodent. In that time, the rodent could have crawled into a difficult to reach area before it dies. Its corpse will emit a lasting odor and will also attract other pests or scavengers into the area. On the whole, using poison or rodenticides is a messy affair that we’ve learned to stay away from.
Well-made snap traps are the best way to kill mice or rats quickly and in a clean manner. Electrical traps work just as well but it doesn’t make sense to use them because they’re a lot pricier. A glue or cage trap is only useful if you’re planning on catching a mouse instead of killing it. Poison or rodenticides are just way too messy and have too many awful drawbacks.