Product Type: Rentokil in Homeware
Newest Review: ... tube needs to be baited with a little bit of chocolate spread or peanut butter to attract the mouse. To set the trap all you have to do... more
How To Build a Better Mousetrap?
Rentokil Live Capture Mouse Trap
Member Name: Hishyeness
Rentokil Live Capture Mouse Trap
Advantages: Humane. Simple to set up and use. Re-useable. Child-friendly.
Disadvantages: Less effective than lethal traps. Can get messy.
MOUSE IN THE HOUSE!
While spring cleaning our living room, we made the unexpected and unpleasant discovery of mouse droppings (little black pellets) by the skirting board behind the sofa. This was the second time we had been "visited" by an unwanted house guest in the last three months - probably wood mice - attracted to our property by a combination of cold and wet weather, the wide country lane that runs behind our property, and an opportunistic infiltration when the French doors to the back garden were left open too long.
Both times, I have opted to use Rentokil's humane Live Capture Mousetraps to catch and then release the little blighter. Whilst I did not have any particular moral compunctions about using lethal means to get rid of these unwanted pests, I had more practical issues to consider. With an inquisitive and occasionally disobedient five year old, I did not want to risk injury to little fingers by using an ordinary "snap" type trap, and I was also uneasy about introducing any form of poison into the house. As such, the non-lethal and less hazardous option was my only realistic choice.
WHAT IS IT?
The Live Capture Mousetrap ("LCM" for short) is a long rectangular, black, heavy duty plastic rectangular box which looks like a very shallow "V". At one end is a hinged lid with two legs. At the other end is a yellow removable cap in which you stick the bait. After it is baited, you stick the trap on a flat surface - preferably behind a sofa next to the skirting board (or somewhere else along the edge of the room where you have seen evidence of mouse activity) and open the end with the legs, so that they rest on the floor.
At this point, the first part of the trap is sitting on the ground, but the back end - the bit with the bait - is raised about an inch off the floor. The idea is that the mouse enters through the front end, and when it enters the back of the trap, its body weight shifts the back part downward, forcing the front end up. The hinged door with the legs then snap shut, trapping the creature inside. The trap is ventilated, so the creature can still breathe easily while imprisoned. To release, you simply flip open the front and release the animal somewhere appropriate.
DOES IT WORK?
In the last three years, I have used this style of trap three times (twice recently), but with differing degrees of success. The first time, I laid two of them - one in the kitchen, near the back of the fridge where a mouse had clearly taken up residence, and one in the living room behind the sofa. The morning after I put them down, I found the one in the living room had been gnawed from the outside, leaving a small pile of black plastic shavings where the mouse had desperately tried to get at the peanut butter.
It appears the trap had been sprung prematurely, before the mouse had got in - possibly because it went to the back end first. The one in the kitchen was undisturbed. However, the second morning, the one in the kitchen snared the little critter, and I was able to release it outside my back gate, where it scampered off down the country lane.
The second incident - late last year - was quite surreal. I placed two traps behind each of our two sofa's, and, waking in the early hours for a totally unrelated reason, I padded downstairs to check them for mice. The first one had not tripped, so I checked the bait and put t back. The second one also had not tripped, so I picked it up as well to double-check and was startled to see two beady eyes staring back at me, with little mitts covered in peanut butter. The little chappie had clearly been enjoying himself, but the moment was so unexpected that we both sort of stared at each other for what seemed an eternity (probably only a few seconds) before I gathered my wits quickly enough to shut the lid manually as quickly as I could. It was still dark, and despite being in my bathrobe and slippers, I rushed out my front door and released it next to the storm drain. It took a moment to get its bearings, turned and gave me a farewell glance, before nonchalantly diving into the drain.
Using the LCM after our most recent discovery was entirely straightforward. We caught the mouse within a few hours of putting down the traps - but not before spending half an evening (until 3am actually) chasing it around our barricaded living room, upturning sofa's, lifting up coffee tables and creating all sorts of mayhem in a vain attempt to corner the wee little beastie. He was far too quick for me, and despite one promising moment when we engaged in a tug of war between the end of a broom and a wicker basket, I never even got close.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
The main benefit of this style of trap (as opposed to poison) is that you know when you have dealt with your problem. In addition, compared to lethal traps, with this system you never have to touch or see the mouse (except when you release it) and there is no unpleasant corpse to deal with. It is also the safest option for use around pets and children. The trap uses the simple force of gravity to close the lid, and surprisingly, it stays very effectively shut until released (using a tab at the top of the lid to lever it open).
The downside is that it has to be placed on a flat surface and slightly away from the wall, so that the friction against the skirting board or wall does not stop the trap from springing successfully. The other issue is that the mouse can easily trigger it before getting in if it approaches it the wrong way. In addition, as I found in my amusing face to face encounter, if the mouse is too small, its body weight may be insufficient to tip the LCM shut - especially when combined with the skirting board (or grabby carpet) problem.
However, the biggest drawback to these traps is that you have to monitor them on a fairly regular basis (at least three or four times a day). Although mice are used to moving around in very small spaces, they will obviously get distressed if trapped for too long. Extended distress means an almighty mess. Mice have no bladder, they pee as they go, so if they stay in for too long, they pee and poo themselves silly.
This is what happened the first time I used this trap. I actually went away, overnight, and did not return until the following afternoon, by which time I found the triggered trap in the kitchen, on its side, and sitting in a small puddle of mouse pee. It smelled absolutely foul, so I not only had a mouse to release, but a disgusting mess to clean up on the floor as well.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
These Rentokil traps are widely available from most well-known DIY stores. I buy ours from our local Homebase for £4.99 each, and it is also available on line from Amazon for the same price. This makes it a more expensive proposition than traditional traps, which retail for around the same price but come two to a pack. However, if you are looking for a non-lethal solution, this seems to be the best (and only) budget option.
TIPS FOR USE
Using this trap was my first experience of mouse-catching, and I have learned a few practical lessons along the way. First, wear a pair of heavy duty gloves - both for hygiene and protection. Cornered mice can (and do) bite, and you don't really want to be handling pee and excrement if its been in the trap too long. Secondly, if the trap has sprung, I would recommend NOT opening it until you are outside - mice are very quick and will surprise you with their strength and agility relative to their size.
Open it facing away from you - either on the ground or tilted toward the ground to release. They tend to stick their nose out, have a sniff and the rocket off like an Exocet missile. After a bit of research, it seems you need to release these critters a fair way from your home, as they have keen homing instincts and can often find their way back - especially if they have a liking for your chosen kind of bait!
The best things to bait the trap with are peanut butter or chocolate spread (like Nutella). Both of these work very well. I tend to use the former, as it has quite a strong and distinctive smell, has a nice, thick consistency (especially the crunchy variety) and stays moist for ages without slipping out of the bait cup. Mice like dark places and tend to stick to the edge of the room, so skirting boards, under radiators, and behind furniture are the best places to place a trap, especially if there is clear evidence of activity (the little black poo pellets are a dead giveaway, but also look out for shavings of gnawed wood, fabric or plastic).
The LCM has its drawbacks, and, more often than not, it is likely to take a little longer to catch your little pest than the more traditional, lethal alternatives. However, if you are willing to persevere, the success rate is quite good - and given the lack of other budget options for live capture, it is an fairly effective solution. It is simple to set up and use, easy to clean and re-use and represents reasonable value for money at its RRP.
However, it is best suited to a catching single, opportunistic, invader, rather than dealing with larger scale problems. On balance, given that I needed a child-friendly solution, it provided an acceptable balance between safety and effectiveness.
© Hishyeness 2010 - Also on Ciao
Summary: A good budget alternative to lethal traps.