Are you squeamish when it comes to mice? I am VERY squeamish when it comes to mice. One winter we got a bunch of the evil slithery little critters, and I went on a mouse research binge because I’m supposed to be smarter than they are. So far they’d been wrecking my self image in that regard.
I was surprised to learn that Victor makes an electronic mousetrap that actually works great. It had mixed love/hate reviews on Amazon but I really wanted the thing to work, so I called Victor’s Customer Service line and said, “Please tell me everything I could do wrong to make this thing not work right.”
Before I get into that though, take a look at the lift door of the mouse trap itself. Its mouse entrance is self-explanatory. Inside the baiting/emptying lift door is a little maze. At the end of it are two electronic floor plates, and your bait is best placed in the far corner, to the right of the holes in this photo. When the mouse contacts the plates, zap. It’s a MUCH more humane process than spring traps, which can catch the poor little thing by the nose or another non-lethal scenario.
As for emptying, no longer do you have to get your fingers near the mouse to pry up a spring. You don’t even have to look at the mouse, just simply open the lift door and turn the box upside down over a bag or out in the field. The mouse drops out. If it’s wedged in at all (and I’ve caught some big ones), just a little shake may be needed. And it’s a done deal.
I can’t tell you how much I recommend these things. I bought one to start with, then two more after I saw how well it worked and how squeam-friendly it was.
Here are the tips:
1. Use peanut butter or mayonnaise and don’t over-bait it. Victor said people slather peanut butter all over the inside of these things, which falls on the electronic plate and the trap thinks it’s been activated. Mice have a phenomenal sense of smell, so just a toothpick’s dab in the corner is enough. Don’t put it over the holes because a mouse can lick through the holes and think he’s found the stash. You want it in the corner, about half way up.
2. Keep the electrical plates clean (use a q-tip). No little mouse hairs left on it either.
3. Be sure the lift door is firmly snapped closed, then turn it on. You’ll see a green light for only a second or two which tells you it’s set.
4. While a red light will flash on and off to let you know you’ve caught a mouse, it only flashes once every 7 seconds, and it does so fast to save battery (4 AA’s needed). So don’t just glance at it. Look at it for at least 7 seconds.
5. If your trap works great for the first X number of mice, then you start seeing the “Eureka!” light flashing and nothing’s inside, change the batteries. Don’t throw them out, they’re perfect good still for other devices, but you want full-strength batteries for this purpose.
Prevention: Mice are attracted to the scent of food, but in cold weather they’re also quite attracted to the heat they sense coming from your house. Further, mice have collapsible skeletons (a real marvel of evolution) which is why they can crawl through a hole the size of a pencil. Literally! So make liberal use of caulking for thin cracks and also get Great Stuff which is an expanding squirt foam that will fill up big gaping holes. Yes, they could chew through either, but this blocks their reason to investigate further. Pay particular attention to gaps around plumbing pipes inside cabinets under sinks, or in old farmhouses that have been remodeled a hundred times, trace them from there to whatever obscure side cabinet some sadistic plumber hid them in. Another good block for filling bigger spaces is extra fine steel wool. You’d think coarse would be better, but it doesn’t stuff and conform as tightly as #0000 extra fine will. If you want to squirt Good Stuff over the stuffed gap hole, all the better.
Last but not least: For others who are squeamish, you’ll find the easy, no-touch (and if you want, no-see) emptying of this trap is extremely squeam-friendly. However, one day I opened the lift door and purposely looked at the mouse. These may be disgusting little beasties when they’re darting at the speed of light across a floor, but the truth of it is that they’re just furry little animals. By looking at a safely-dispatched one up close, you will begin to lose your panic-fear of them. It just helps not to have that phobia.
The model I have is M2524, which is somewhere around $20 on Amazon (depending on their mood because they change their prices constantly). The big box stores don’t seem to stock them reliably anymore and the alternative brands don’t seem to do the job as well, so I’m specifically recommending the one that I’ve tested out myself.