One of the more humane traps used for rodent control is the cage trap, also known as a live catch trap. These are no-kill traps that capture the mouse for relocation later on. Understanding how to use this type of trap is vital to dealing with rodent problems effectively.
So what’s the most effective way to use a cage mouse trap? It comes down to setting it up properly, using an effective bait, and placing it in a location with known mice activity.
Read More: How to Keep a Mouse Trap Stationary
Although cage traps may come in different designs, they all typically have the same components with similar purposes. Before learning how to use a cage trap, it would be beneficial to first understand the parts of the trap. This way, it’s easier for you to follow along with our guide.
The overall structure of this kind of mouse trap tends to vary. Each design shares a similar purpose: to capture mice without killing them immediately. Cage traps are made with galvanized steel, making them a lightweight trap. The larger variations of this type of trap are considered more as rat traps, as they tend to also be made with more durable material. The structure may have loose metal or wiring surrounding it which can harm those handling this mouse trap without using gloves.
Another feature that some cage traps have is a handle. This makes it easy to carry around the captured mice without coming into direct contact with the cage structure. A handle would therefore be an ideal feature to look for if you're looking to buy another cage trap.
This is where you will place the bait that you intend on using. As an essential part of any mouse trap, this is one of the few parts that the cage trap shares with common snap traps. Another term for this is the bait pedal. These are not always in the shape of platforms that mice can press down, however; some cage traps will have a hook.
Similar to snap traps, this is what holds-down the trap mechanism. Unlike snap traps, however, the hold-down bar holds down the door as opposed to the kill bar or "hammer."
This part is directly attached to the bait pan, pedal, or hook and extends to the door mechanism. It is important that you do not bend or alter the length or shape of this bar. It is typically only just long enough to hold down the door mechanism to keep it open. Think of it like stretching a rubber band with just the tips of your finger; that is how much grip the end of the hold-down bar has on the door mechanism.
Some cage traps will have one door while others have two. They essentially serve the same purpose: to provide the mouse with an entrance to the trap. Two-door traps are more accessible to rodents, as well as making the design more like an unsuspecting tunnel that rodents can pass through.
There are generally two kinds of door mechanisms: gravity doors and spring-loaded doors.
Gravity doors are simpler and less daunting to set up. Once the mouse goes for the bit of bait held in the bait pan, the cage simply falls and traps the pest inside of it. Having a gravity door will benefit you in the long run because there are no springs used that may wear out. A potential downside, however, is that, since these are relatively simpler to make, may be too lightweight a trap. Larger animals like rats might be able to roll it over, rendering the trap useless.
Spring-loaded doors, on the other hand, use what’s called a "torsion spring." This type of spring is commonly used in garage doors. Similar to what’s used in a lethal trap such as the common spring-loaded bar mousetrap, it uses the force of the spring to slam the door down. The door of the mouse trap is sealed shut and difficult for mice or other animals to open. If you have this trap type, it is important to always check the strength of the door's spring; overuse may lead to the spring weakening.
Most cage-type trap doors will have long, handle-like bars protruding upward or outward from the trap that you will need to use with the hold-down bar to set the trap.
Learn More: Placing Mouse Traps Inside Vents
There are a variety of bait types that you can use, such as meat and grains. Peanut butter, however, is the most commonly recommended and ideal bait. It's fatty as well as rich in carbohydrates, which mice need for their daily diets.
Sometimes, you may not even need to bait your cage with food; using nesting material can also be an alternative bait. It can be twine, string, or ripped pieces of paper.
After placing the bait on the bait pan, you will need to open the door of the mouse trap to set the trap mechanism. Hold down the bar extending from the door and carefully place the hold-down bar on it. It will only need to hang on to less than an inch of the bar; to make it more sensitive, lessen how much of the hold-down bar is holding onto it.
Afterwards, be very gentle with placing it on the ground to avoid the trap from misfiring.
The placement of the trap will greatly affect the welfare of the captured rodent. Mice naturally look for warmer areas for refuge during the colder seasons. Placing the trap somewhere cold may negatively affect any rodent or animal that gets caught in the trap. Another factor to consider is the amount of sunlight there is in the area you plan to place the trap. Since common cage traps are made of steel, it will get much hotter when directly exposed to sunlight, harming the captured pest even more.
Look to place the cage trap in warmer, shaded locations near crevices and gaps: a mouse's access point into and out of the house. This way you can ensure that captured mice are not harmed any more than you feel that they need to be.
Similar to bucket traps and other live catch traps, you will need to relocate the mouse as soon as they are captured. It is recommended that you relocate mice as far away as 100 yards from where you captured them. Always wear gloves while relocating mice to protect yourself from catching any bacteria from the mice. It should be noted that relocating animals may be illegal in certain states.
For cage trap maintenance, you should always check its condition and clean the cage trap. Remember to always wear gloves while handling the trap as mice are known carriers of bacteria and harmful diseases that can spread to humans.
The cage structure may also have sharp metal edges the more it's worn down. Wear gloves while holding the trap to avoid any potential scratching or gashing from the metal.
As the cage is used more and more, it’s possible for parts of it to wear down. This is especially the case with spring-loaded cage traps. The more the spring is twisted and released, the more likely the spring will loosen, losing its impact. Always make sure that your mouse traps are in proper working conditions to avoid misfires and headaches.
To ensure that the cage trap is working as well as it can, it’s important to clean the trap. A study found that once mice have smelled a bait once, it’s less likely to return on the second and third time that it’s placed.
You can simply use warm water and soap to rinse off the remains of bait left on the bait pan to ensure that the scent is gone.
When the door is no longer closing effectively or it opens too easily, it may be time to replace the cage trap. Should other animals damage the trap by rolling it over, it may also signal time to replace the cage trap.
Learn More: Are Mouse Traps Harmful to Humans?
Professional pest management services are always recommended as soon as the first mouse is seen. Female mice can produce at least 32 pups in a year. A single mouse seen in the day could mean much more during the night.
Should your rodent problem be causing you more emotional stress than you can handle, it is advisable to contact professionals.
We at Pinnacle Pest Control provide you with the peace of mind that you're looking for through our wide variety of pest management solutions. By strictly adhering to IPM, or integrated pest management strategies, your safety is always ensured with us. If you're interested in our services, you may contact us through our website.