Time for the Mice to Move Back Indoors

Like clockwork, the one night of colder temps we had last week brought back our unwanted housemates—the mice. So we’ll gear up for the usual one-two-three punch of steel wool, poison and traps, but aren’t feeling too optimistic. (Mrs. B is allergic to cats.) One neighbor of ours is in the process of pumping his walls full of cellulose insulation, which apparently contains mouse-repelling boric acid—maybe we should try that.This got us thinking about the preferences (and ethics) of readers: Glue traps or old-school snap traps?

Photo by shadphotos

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  • glue traps are disgusting.

    ooh, i just filled my walls with cellulose, i didn’t realize the side benefits.

  • Chocolate! Seriously – mice love the stuff and can’t stay away once they smell it in a room.

  • Humane traps and cats.

    Glue traps are cruel!

  • Cats! They keep roaches away also. Plus they are warm and cuddly.

    Hairballs are the only real drawback

  • Snap traps baited with peanut butter. No cats here because spouse is allergic.

  • We tried glue and wood traps….glue caught nothing, and the best we achieved with a wood trap was a flesh wound…the solution?…


    this thing caught 4 in 4 days…..and there is something very satisfying about the blinking light that tells you when you’ve made a hit…

    …for a while every morning felt like christmas….I couldn’t wait to creep downstairs and check for “gifts”….!?

  • Snap traps…they’re quick and the mice don’t suffer.

  • What does steel wool do?

  • Second on the Rat Zapper. The red light is like “we have a winnah!”

    We tried lethal injection, but we couldn’t find a gurney small enough for the little buggers.

  • Spap’em. Pow! Squirt! It’s beautiful.

  • Third for ratzapper!(We bought the cheap model and it worked just fine.)

    We tried glue traps and snap traps and caught nothing…

  • At one time, my mom switched from snap traps to glue traps–our cat got caught instead of any mice. Poor thing was so frightened it was running down the hall like a peg-legged pirate

    Cats may or may not help, depending on their disposition. Our glue-trap cat was useless; our other cat would bring live my into my mom’s bed and play with it until my mom screamed and the mouse died of a heart attack.


  • Glue traps are awful since you end up listening to the mice struggling. Yuck! There are some breeds of cat with hardly any hair that most allergic people can live with, but those come at purebred prices. I did the stuffing-steel-wool-into-holes deal in a former apartment and it worked. Be sure to check behind the stove!

  • Snap traps work if you bait them right. One night at this season many years ago, our bread drawer was getting raided by the mice. I set a trap there in the early evening and we sat down to dinner. Snap! Sure enough, a catch. Got up, reset trap, resumed eating. Snap! Another one. Got up, reset trap. Snap! Three in about 15 minutes. Young and stupid ones all, but solved the problem. Not usually so dramatic, but they do work.

  • Gee, I can’t vote because you only give 2 choices, both involve murdering cute little creatures. :(
    Save the mice!

  • Once my neighbor got a cat, I haven’t seen a mouse since.

  • Can you tell us more about “pumping walls full of cellulose insulation” can this be done to a finished home? Do they poke small holes in the ceilings? Do you know the cost? Can I get a referal?

  • I’ve found stepping on them to be quite effective.

  • What about those things you plug into an outlet that make some noise that drives them crazy..and hopefully out of your house.

  • I second the snap traps, since I have seen mice free themselves from glue traps after they have eaten the bait.

    Anybody know what breed of cat works best for catching mice?


  • I used glue traps. I don’t give a damn about saving vermin. Get your priorities straight.
    And the “cheap” version of the rat zapper is $35 plus batteries. That buys a lot of glue traps and dead mice.

  • I hate glue traps but use them and then smash the mice with a paint can to put them out of their misery. That’s the only way they are ‘ethical’ otherwise they just starve to death/suffocate in your trash can.

    Rat Zapper works pretty well.

  • Being humane IS the priority of some people, 11:36.

    But of course somebody who uses glue traps so proudly, would also prove to be rude.

    How’s this image – mice have been known to pull themselves in half when struggling to get out of a glue trap. At the very least they pull so hard they break the bones in their little bodies.

  • In order:

    Ratzapper: totally works, kills ’em dead instantly, no mess.

    Snap trap: totally works, occasional mess, pain in the a$$ to set.

    cat: often works, frequently a deterrent, but eats food and craps in your house. Subjective call.

    glue traps: works, cruel, disgusting, you have to kill a mouse by hand or handle a live one, ewww, ewwww, I’m getting the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

    “humane” cage traps: lol. I’m sorry. just, lol. (1) Mice often return (2) or become someone else’s problem (3) and would kill you in a second if they were able.

    plug-in high-frequency rodent deterrent gizmos: may as well hire a shaman to cast a spell.

  • There are many more reasons than hairballs not to get a cat. Speaking as someone who had two cats for ten years, I’d rather deal with the mice.

    And to do that, nothing beats the RatZapper.


  • I use prophylactic measures and have only seen a mouse in my home once in twelve years. No I don’t put mice in condoms or put condoms on mice. My husband stuffed all holes with steel wool and later filled them with foam insulation to prevent mice from entering our detatched home. In addition, I keep my kitchen and bathrooms clean and dry. I store all of my dry goods in sealed containers so that I don’t have open boxes or cartons on my kitchen shelves. You can get plastic storage containers from Tupperware, Rubbermaid and even Ikea. Ikea also sells glass storage containers if you have an aversion to plastic. I don’t keep to many old papers, magazines and other clutter. We try not to eat outside of designated eating zones – kitchen dining room and basement rec room. This last practice also helps me stick to a healthier eating schedule. These measures with the strategic placement of roach bait disks will also help eliminate roaches.

  • We’ve recently moved into a new house in PS. Didn’t realise we had so many non paying tenants ! Via a mixture of poison / glue traps and snap trpas we’ve killed over 30 of them and the numbers are now down. Peanut butter works well on the the glue traps and the snap traps. We also found that moving the traps around worked well. Say every couple of days.

    Given the reaction of my better half to mice (i.e. you would think there was a rattlesnake in the room) I have no real problem disposing of them. A quick whack or drown in a bucket works well.

    Another tip would be – if you think you have mice but see no obvious droppings then put talc powder donw next to a wall in question. You’ll soon see prints if they’ve been there.

  • R A T Z A P P E R ! ! ! !
    It is the BEST!! It works like a charm and you NEVER have to see the dead mouse.
    I have had 3 Ratzappers in 8 years!! They are GREAT!

  • The advice from 12:41 is the best of all.

    You can have all the traps in the world, the cruelest most effective traps possible, and it still won’t do a bit of good if you’re not stuffing holes and entry places closed, and keeping your home clean and food sealed up. Because the mice will just keep coming.

  • the combination of traps and poison is the best of all

  • What about dealing with rats in your yard? Tips and pointers??

  • Glue traps are cruel? Suffering mice? You people are ridiculous! What’s next, massive protests for the rights of cockroaches?

    I doubt that being eaten alive by an animal much larger than you (i.e. a cat) is so much more pleasant than being caught on a glue trap.


  • Most effective cat to get is a cat that has lived & survived in your hood. Bring home a stray…. They are NINJAs. The problem is they are almost too good. The get comfortable and begin to use the mice as toys. Our cat would regularly catch a mouse, and walk around the house with the live prey in his mouth. He would then go to the bathtub and dump the rascal in there and watch him run around in a circle. When the mouse would tire, the cat would swiftly give him a smack to the head, and it would commence running in a circle again, until it died of a heart attack. Now THAT was cruel.

    But the best is when he’d sneak up on my wife with a mouth full of mouse, drop it at her feet and then pounce on it again as it tried to escape. My wife would wake the dead with the screams. it would also provide me with an alternative to crunches because of the work my abs would get from laughing so hard.

    Oh yea, the zapper has NEVER worked for us. I even saw a critter run right past the friggin’ thing. Pissed me off beyond belief.

  • Those glue traps just aren’t sticky enough. I really hate seeing a glue trap with lots of hair on it and signs of a struggle with no mouse in sight.

    Plus, the smart-ass city mice in my house now know about them and walk around them, despite the globs of peanut butter.

  • For those of you who aren’t ardent anti-gunners, a BB gun is a fun way to practice target shooting while keeping your home clean of mice and other vermin.

  • I’ve found that allowing snakes to range free in the house keeps the rodent population down. They especially like to lair in the dark, warm spots (like by the boiler) which attract mice. The only drawback is that guests are sometimes surprised – I’ve put up signs but no one ever takes them seriously.

  • 1.21, you have clearly never seen anything caught on a glue trap trying to get free. It’s AWFUL. As for breed of cat – I second the street cat suggestion. Our tuxedo formerly-feral kitty is a KILLER. We have no mice, and only 2 water bugs in a year (both if which i only saw when the cats were stalking them). And we live next door to a seriously dirty crack house.

  • Personally I think Glue traps are heinous because of the length of time it takes for them to meet their end. BUT, If you want to use them don’t put bait on them such as peanut butter, it will weaken the glue strength. an exterminator recommended cotton balls on the trap. Mice are attracted to it because it makes great nesting material.

    Spray foam around pipes and any gaps between floor and wall, door sweeps also. Mice can sneak through a space as small as 1/2 inch I think. Maybe even smaller, they have extra flexible joints ‘n bones.

    Small dogs especially terrier breeds can also be good for catching the critters, still depending on the dog. One of my Chihuahuas is rutheless at dispatching mice, the other just doesn’t wanna know.

  • They can get through really small spaces. I once lived in an apartment where they would squeeze INTO the birdcage, steal the millet meant for the budgies, then squeeze OUT of the birdcage and eat their treats behind the piano.

  • :( No glue traps. My disgusting neighbors often catch mice on glue traps and then throw them out of the window (right near my apartment entrance). It breaks my heart. Unfortunately I don’t have the stomach for it, but my boyfriend will usually put it out of its misery for me.

    Disgusting pigs…

  • EEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!! and yuck too… damnable nasty critters… either way
    of catching them is creepy… struggling on gluetraps is pitiful, and crushed mouseheads in wooden traps… arghhhhhhhh…

  • Ratzapper. The mouse dies instantly, so it is more humane and you just throw them out – you don’t have to look.

  • Nice photo, Mr. B! All the debate over traps aside, I gotta say I think there’s no substitute for a good mouser. The last two joints I moved into, we found a dead mouse each day for about the first five days–after that, nada. Zilcho. Rodent-free zone. My 2 cats, aging though they may be, will fuck you up, Mr. Mouse, thus handily justifying their otherwise useless feline existence. A friend just got two of those beautiful gray cats that are supposedly allergy-friendly. Or you could get one of those nasty-looking hairless ones.

  • For less work per mouse catch try the “Farmer’s Mouse Trap”. It’s easy to set up and maintain. Line the inside of a a bucket with peanut butter about two inches or so below the rim. Fill the bucket with enough water to drown the mouse. Set up a ramp for the mouse to access the rim. The mice strech down the inside to feed and eventually lose their grip, fall in and drown. The advantage is that multiple mice can be caught without having to empty the trap. Mine (5 gallon) often has several victims. Low tech but very effective.

    Vermont skier

  • That is soooooo gross Vermont skier. You all need to clean you nasty ass houses clean. That will help!

  • Do ALL brownstones have mice? Is there any way to avoid this? We are potential brownstone buyers and I can deal with 99% of the quirks of an old home. But mice… that thought just does me in. (And yes, I’m a female, but my husband is not much better on the topic).

  • The mice population in a Brownstone is much harder to control than in a detatched house because you will most likely have houses attached to yours on both sides. Also Brownstones are in the older neighborhoods where homes and buildings were not designed to store the piles of garbage that we manage to accumulate these days. Additionally, with trash pick up only two times a week in most Brownstone neighborhoods, you are keeping the trash longer. Previous poster stated that keeping a clean house and protecting foods stored in cabinets worked in her DETATCHED home. I am sure if you heed those cleaning and storage tips that you can make an impact on the number of mice in your home even if it is attached to a not so tidy neighbors house.



  • Plug up all your holes & drizzle a bit of peppermint oil near the holes & other areas you think mice will crawl out of. They seriously HATE the smell of the stuff! In five years, I’ve only seen 2 mice (both of which were caught & relocated to a the park – if they moved into someone else’s home … oh well)

  • Peppermint oil definitely works. I put it on cottonballs and placed them in strategic locations throughout my home.

  • I tired of snap traps after I watched a mouse get its tail snapped in one, and then it making pitiful sounds while it chewed its tail off to get away. Gross.

    Turned to poison – I’d come home a find a drunk looking mouse walking in circles in my kitchen, put a coffee can over it, with a book on top, and wait til it suffocated. Not fun. Didn’t noticably cut down on the mouse population, either.

    Will try rat zapper next time I see some. They apparently work for most, though not all posters – wonder how many they DON’T work for.

    I find filling holes doesn’t work – in my last place, the critters rapidly (and noisily) chewed new holes right next to the carefully filled ones – they chew through wood, push away the steel wool covered with plastic wood, chew through grout as hard as cement, sheetrock-no problem to mouse teeth…would get a cat if I wasn’t allergic. Have to try this peppermint idea.

  • My husband got a rat zapper type thing at the hardware store and it never worked for us. We tried snap traps and the only person who got snapped was my 3 yo daughter so I said f*ck it, let’s go for the glue traps. We caught 2 mice in one night (my husband killed them). But admittedly, that was gross. Do you think the rat zapper knock off we got was just lame? Maybe we should try the real deal.

  • Try the RatZapper Ultra (the silver one). I got two on Amazon. They were about $45 each and run on D batteries.

  • Rehab at 6:15, sounds like your friend got Cornish Rex or Devon Rex cats.

    Mice best beware! Rex cats have long fingers and Nosferatu-type claws that don’t retract, similar to Cheetahs. (They need to be clipped regularly). They are built for speed, and their super-grip paws are so effective they can easily snatch up and grip objects with them. They have long skinny arms that can reach into nooks and crannies. We have a Rex and we watched her reach way in and remove a mouse from underneath a fridge one time. Don’t ever let them get outside though. They are smaller than average cats and though scrappy they get beat up in fights. Also their fur will NOT protect them outdoors in cold weather. CFA doesn’t recommend this breed to people in cold weather climates unless they are super responsible people who make sure the cat never gets outdoors. Anyway, it’s a very playful, fun breed that stays energetic and kitten-like into old age so your friend will enjoy them!

  • “That is soooooo gross Vermont skier. You all need to clean you nasty ass houses clean. That will help!”

    they come in b/c it’s cold, not b/c your house is dirty.

    you will have mice in NYC if your house is perfectly clean.

  • Cleanliness will definitely help keep the mouse population down.

  • I love the Rat Zapper, but i’ve noticed they only last a couple of seasons. I had 2 that worked like gangbusters for 2 years, but this year they both seem to have pooped out – one had a flashing light with no mouse inside twice and the other the light flashes as soon as i turn it on. I”m not keen on shocking myself to figure out what’s wrong with them so I many just get another one for this season. Glue, snap, poison and steel wool are a waste of time. In an old brownstone, you’d need 3 tons of steel wool and an army of people to fill every possible access point. They can get in a crack the size of a pencil hole!

  • I’ve tried two kinds of humane trap, and haven’t caught anything. On the other hand, I’ve filled all the holes in my apartment with steel wool and foam, and have not seen the mouse lately, nor any signs of mouse activitie (no little mouse poop pellets).

    I know people think it’s being a selfish pussy to use humane traps and let them loose again, but hey, if everybody made their homes mouse-proof (closed off all holes and entrances, got rid of their trash in a clean and timely manner, don’t keep bowls of dog and cat food in the open — I might add that cats and dogs do better when they eat on a schedule), well, maybe they wouldn’t have mice that came to visit ME!

    If my neighbors want to kill that mouse horrifically, that’s their issue and karma.

    That mouse that came into my place came in through a new hole due to electricians working on the place. I had never seen a mouse for the five years previous.

  • Hey, how do cat owners feel about being licked by a cat that has been playing and eating dirty little mice? Yum, yum!
    Seriously, how sanitary is it? I have my doubts!

  • I’m surprised by all the recommendations for the rat zapper. We got the Rat Zapper Ultra but it only manages to kill one mouse per set of batteries – that’s 4 new “D” alkaline – about $7 per mouse! After the first kill, the thing emits a shock but not enough to kill the mouse. (The red light will be on indicating a kill, but the bait is gone, and no mouse in sight.)

  • Mice came unseasonally to our home this summer. (Good first sentence for a novel,don’tcha think?)

    After having endured the horror of a staredown from a poison-addled mouse sometime back, I turned in fear and loathing to our fearsome Maintenance Guy. He invented or otherwise created the Perfect Mousetrap.:

    Take one empty coffeecan with plastic lid.
    Fill can about halfway with water.
    Cut small hole in lid, exact size unknown, but mice get in anywhere, so it likely doesn’t matter.Smaller is better.

    Put dab of peanut butter on underside of lid, near hole; put lid on half-water-filled can.

    Mouse is inexorably drawn to the delectable delicacy, falls in and drowns! You shake can, hear the glorious sound of the inglorious rodent corpse, and jigger it up for the next drowning.

    Works in Evanston, wish I’d had it on Riverside Drive.

    PS: there may be something on the internet about this jerry-rig; haven’t looked.

    Oops, guess this is a variation on the Vermont posting. It works. Didn’t need a ramp, though.