Frequently Asked Questions
Rodent Trapping Questions
Have questions about rodent trapping? Read our library of Frequently Asked Questions to find immediate answers about rodent traps, bait types, trap placements, repellents and much more. Solve your rodent problems. If you have a question not answered below, please feel free to contact us.
General Trapping FAQs
What is the most common mistake in trapping?
The true number of rodents present is often underestimated. As a result, people usually don’t use enough traps. Though you may kill a few rodents, the remainder of the population continues to multiply. Learn about other common trapping mistakes.
Where should I place my trap?
Snap traps should be placed perpendicular to the wall near signs of rodent activity (to find out where your area of high activity is, please see Diagnose Your Home). By placing the snap trap perpendicular, you ensure the rodents interact with the trip pedal as they travel along the wall, no matter which direction they come from. For rats, place traps unset for a few days so they can become familiar with it.
I'm having trouble trapping rodents. What can I do?
Rodents will travel the same pathways over and over. The pathways are usually along the base of a wall or similar vertical structure. Traps should be placed in these pathways. For best results, pair multiple traps together since mice will often jump over obstructions in their normal path.
When using snap traps, place traps perpendicular at close intervals along the wall or place them parallel, end-to-end (red V's on traps pointing towards each other), so that the bait pedal will be encountered first as mice approach from either direction. For trickier spots like walls, air ducts, and crawl spaces, check out our article, How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Walls.
When using electronic traps or other tunnel-style traps, place traps at 2 to 3 ft intervals along the wall where you’ve seen rodent activity. In the areas with the highest traffic, you can place traps even closer together.
How do I keep my pet(s) away from mouse/rat traps?
When using a traditional wooden snap trap, you can place the trap inside a small cardboard box that has enough height to allow the trap to snap. Simply cut a 3" x 3” opening on opposite sides of the box. Place the box with a baited trap in a known rodent path. The ends of the box with the holes should be parallel to the wall.
Will live catch mouse traps also work for voles?
Unfortunately, no. Typically voles will not enter this type of live catch trap. A better alternative would be a Havahart® X-Small Live Animal Trap. It's a cage-style trap designed for humane catch and release of small rodents.
How to catch a mouse
Electronic mouse traps are a quick, effective, and humane way to catch mice. They are easy to use, and offer No-See, No-Touch™ disposal.
Safe-Set™ mouse traps are a great mouse control option for homes with children and pets. The Safe-Set™ design prevents accidental triggers, and the trap can be easily set and released with just one click.
For more information, view our complete guide on How to Catch a Mouse.
What is the best bait for a mouse trap?
Mice are most attracted to high protein and sweet foods. When trapping mice, opt for baits such as peanut butter, hazelnut spread, chocolate, or oats. In fall and winter, you can also attract them with nesting materials such as cotton, yarn, or string.
Where should I place my mouse trap?
Snap traps should be placed perpendicular to the wall near signs of rodent activity (to find out where your area of high activity is, please see Diagnose Your Home). By placing the snap trap perpendicular, you ensure mice interact with the trip pedal as they travel along the wall, regardless of which direction they come from.
I caught a mouse! What now?
Be sure to check traps daily and replace or reset the traps as needed. Always wear gloves when disposing of rodents. Because rodents can spread disease, it is recommended to disinfect the area with a household cleaner. For more information, view our complete guide on How to Dispose of a Dead Mouse.
How many mice are born at once? How do I know that I've trapped them all?
The average litter for mice is between five and seven pups, although up to twice as many pups are possible. For more information on infestation sizes, view our complete guide.
It's practically impossible to tell when you've trapped them all. You should continue to set traps for as long as you see mice or notice signs of rodent activity. The most apparent sign of an infestation is fresh droppings.
How to Catch a Rat
Electronic rat traps are a quick, effective, and humane way to catch rats. They are easy to use, and offer No-See, No-Touch™ disposal.
Safe-Set™ rat traps are a great rodent control option for homes with children and pets. The Safe-Set™ design prevents accidental triggers, and the trap can be easily set and released with just one click.
For more information on How to Catch a Rat, view our complete guide below.
What is the best bait for a rat trap?
Rats are most attracted to high protein foods. When trapping rats, opt for baits such as peanut butter, hazelnut spread, bacon, dried fruits, or cereal.
Where should I place my rat trap?
Snap traps should be placed perpendicular to the wall near signs of rodent activity (to find out where your area of high activity is, please see Diagnose Your Home). By placing the snap trap perpendicular, you ensure rats interact with the trip pedal as they travel along the wall, regardless of which direction they come from. Place traps unset for a few days so they can become familiar with it.
Electronic traps should be placed parallel to the wall, so rats are able to walk directly into the tunnel entrance as they travel along the wall.
How do I set a metal pedal snap trap?
- Remove the staple locking the arm bar to the wood base. Move the arm bar to the back of the trap so it hangs over the back of the trap.
- Apply bait on the curl of the metal trigger pedal.
- Pull the kill bar back and hold it in place with your thumb.
- With the other hand, swing the arm bar over the kill bar and latch the bent end of the arm bar into the notch on the metal pedal. Slowly release pressure from the kill bar until the arm bar has fully engaged and holds the kill bar securely.
How do I set a plastic pedal snap trap?
- Remove the staple locking the arm bar to the wood base. Move the arm bar to the back of the trap so it hangs over the back of the trap.
- Apply bait in the opening of the yellow plastic trigger pedal.
- Pull the kill bar back and hold it in place with your thumb.
- With the other hand, swing the arm bar over the kill bar. Tilt the yellow pedal up and latch the end of the arm bar into the notch on the plastic pedal. Take note of the Firm and Sensitive settings. The trap will be easier to set on the firm side but won’t trip as easily. The trap will be more difficult to set on the sensitive side but will trip very easily.
- Slowly release pressure from the kill bar until the arm bar has fully engaged and holds the kill bar securely.
How do I set Power-Kill™, Safe-Set™, and other one-click snap traps?
The bait was eaten, but no rodent was caught. What should I do?
The more bait you use, the easier it is for rodents to remove it without disturbing the traps. A pea-size amount of bait is just right - enough to attract rodents, but not so much that they can eat it without springing the trap.
The goal is to have them apply force to the trigger pedal with their nose/tongue to remove the bait. For best results, press a small amount of bait into notches of the bait pedal. Additionally, by using nesting materials like a string, mice will need to tug on the material to free it from the trap.
Be sure to position the snap trap so that the baited end of each trap is placed perpendicular to the wall. Rodents generally travel with their bodies against a wall for protection. It may be necessary to bait a rat trap without setting the trap and allow the bait to be eaten a couple of times before setting the trap. Rats tend to shy away from new objects, so this method gets them accustomed to the trap. Mice are more inquisitive than rats, so pre-baiting is less likely to be needed.
For more information about common trap mistakes, visit our complete guide.
Rodent Repellent Questions
Have questions about rodent repellents? Read our library of Frequently Asked Questions to find immediate answers about ultrasonic rodent repellents, common mistakes, how they work and more. Is it safe for my pets? Find the rodent repellent answers you need. If you have a question not answered below, please feel free to contact us.
How do ultrasonic repellents work?
Unlike traps and poisons, ultrasound does not kill rodents. Ultrasound repels rodents by subjecting them to intense auditory stress. The Victor® PestChaser® sweeps a frequency of 32-62 kHz, which rodents find irritating and will avoid if possible. This method is a classic animal behavior modification technique.
The non-repetitive frequencies cause additional discomfort and prevent rodents from getting used to the device. The sound rodents hear would be equivalent to us hearing a jackhammer non-stop. PestChaser® can provide long-term reductions in rodent populations by creating a "rodent-unfriendly" environment that discourages rodent infestations.
What are the most common mistakes people make with ultrasonic repellents?
- Using ultrasound alone to control an infestation – The most common mistake is using ultrasound units alone to control an established infestation. Simply plugging in a PestChaser® will not send rodents running out into cold winter temperatures if there is still sufficient food and shelter in your home or shed. It is also important to incorporate sanitation and exclusion techniques. Additionally, traps or baits should be used in conjunction with ultrasonic devices.
- Not using enough units – Ultrasonic waves behave more like light than sound. Ultrasound cannot penetrate solid surfaces (walls, floors, ceilings) or travel around corners, so it is important to use at least one unit per affected room.
- Choosing poor placement – Ultrasound is reflected by hard surfaces and absorbed by soft surfaces. Placement behind a couch will not allow waves to bounce around freely, causing a hostile sound environment.
How much area does a unit cover?
Coverage area differs between PestChaser® models. Regardless of which PestChaser® model you have, coverage of multiple rooms requires the use of multiple units.
- PestChaser® Rodent Repeller with Nightlight - Covers up to one average-sized room (living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms)
- PestChaser® Rodent Repeller with Nightlight & Extra Outlet - Covers up to one average-sized room (living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms)
- PestChaser® Pro Rodent Repeller - Covers up to one large-sized room (attics, basements, garages, businesses, warehouses)
- Ultra PestChaser® Rodent Repeller - Covers up to one large-sized room (attics, basements, garages, businesses, warehouses)
Where should I place the device?
First, identify a room that has signs of rodent activity. Rodents are nocturnal, which means they rarely surface during the daytime. Signs of an infestation include chewing or gnaw marks, droppings, tracks, nests, and greasy marks along baseboards. Next, plug the unit into an outlet which is open to the rest of the room, not behind furniture where the sound waves may be blocked.
Ultrasound is reflected by hard surfaces and absorbed by soft surfaces. In a room with mostly hard surfaces, like a kitchen, ultrasound will “bounce” around giving more effective coverage. The ideal placement would be one that allows the sound waves to cross in front of an entrance way.
How do I know the device is on?
PestChaser® rodent repellers use a frequency that is inaudible to humans. Instead, they use an LED light to let you know the device is working.
- PestChaser® Rodent Repeller with Nightlight & PestChaser® Rodent Repeller with Nightlight & Extra Outlet - When plugged in, these devices emit a soft blue ring of light to let you know it’s working. The light also doubles as a convenient nightlight.
- PestChaser® Pro Rodent Repeller - When plugged in, the red “V” logo lights up to indicate the device is working.
- Ultra PestChaser® Rodent Repeller - Once turned on, an optional red LED light behind the speaker grill will mimic the ultrasound pulsating from the device.
NEVER put your ear up to the speaker once it has been plugged in. The powerful sound waves may cause damage to your ear drums.
How long until I see results?
The best way to rid your home or property of rodents is to take an integrated approach. For established infestations, it is important to use traps or baits in conjunction with ultrasonic devices to effectively reduce the population.
When using ultrasonic repellents, rodent activity may not immediately stop. Rodents that are particularly hungry or tempted by easily-accessible morsels of food may find another route around your protected area. Allow 2 weeks for ultrasonic frequencies to affect pests with an established food source.
Are ultrasonic repellents safe for pets?
The PestChaser® sweeps a frequency of 32-62 kHz, which is well above the range of hearing for humans and non-rodent pets like cats, dogs, birds, and fish. If you have a rabbit or rodent pet such as a hamster, rat, or guinea pig, move it to a room without a PestChaser® unit.
What sets the Victor® PestChaser® apart?
The unit constantly pulses, varying volumes and frequencies with multiple spike points numerous times each minute. This complex pattern is specifically designed to prevent rodents from becoming accustomed to the the sound over time.
Does the Victor® PestChaser® interfere with other equipment?
No, it will not interfere with pacemakers, garage door openers, or any other electronic equipment.
Do ultrasonic frequencies affect insects?
Some insect species can produce or perceive sound in ultrasonic frequencies and are affected by high-frequency sound. This does not mean that it can effectively repel them or control them.
There has been little true scientific research to determine if ultrasonic sound generators could produce effective insect control results. You may find that some insects seem to respond to ultrasound while others are oblivious to it. The PestChaser® should not be used for insect pest control.
What about "electromagnetic" pest repellents that claim to repel pests behind walls?
These devices claim to alter the electromagnetic output of common house wiring to turn your whole house into a giant pest repeller, driving all species of pests out of the walls of your home.
In fact, there is scant credible scientific research to suggest that electromagnetic fields have any repellent effect on any living creature, much less specific pest species (mice, insects, etc.).
The EPA and U.S. Postal Service took action to remove all "electromagnetic" (not ultrasonic) pest control devices from the market in 1980 when a flood of them entered the market. Additionally, Health Canada has banned the sale of electromagnetic pest repellers in Canada. Finally, there are serious questions as to the advisability of increasing one's exposure to electromagnetic energy.
How much does it cost to operate a PestChaser® repellent?
PestChaser®'s are very economical - it costs less than a penny a day in electricity.
How do scent repellents work
Victor® scent repellents use essential oils, such as peppermint oil and cinnamon oil, to naturally drive away rodents. Mice and rats are sensitive to smells. So, while pleasant to us, these powerful scents are highly unpleasant to rodents. When faced with these odors, mice and rats will typically seek shelter elsewhere.
Where should I place scent repellents?
If you’ve identified signs of rodent activity (chewing or gnaw marks, droppings, tracks, nests, or greasy marks along baseboards), it’s best to tackle those areas first. If your goal is prevention, start outdoors and work your way in. For best results, scent repellents should be applied in a variety of locations both indoors and outdoors to ensure there are no gaps in your defenses.
- Outdoor granular and spray scent repellents can be used around the perimeter of your home, shed, and other structures. Make sure to apply the repellent in an unbroken line. By utilizing repellents around the perimeter of your home, you can prevent rats and mice from entering and infesting your home as they will not want to cross the unpleasant barrier.
- Indoor scent repellents can add an extra layer of protection to prevent infestations and help create an unpleasant environment for rodents that have already invaded. Protect small spaces such as cupboards, pantries, and other areas that mice and rats might raid for food or nesting materials with Scent-Away™ Repellent Packs. Defend large rooms and main living areas with a Victor® Plug-in Rodent Repellent. Also, keep in mind garages, basements, and attics. These areas are often left undisturbed for longer periods of time, making them ideal spots for mice to take up shelter. Victor® Mouse and Rat Repellent can be applied in these types of indoor areas, as well as outdoors.
Which animals do scent repellents affect?
Victor® scent repellents are formulated with essential oils like peppermint oil and cinnamon oil, which are only designed to target mice and rats. These scurrying pests are sensitive to the smell and, unlike humans, find the smell unpleasant. As a result, rodents will typically look for other places to go, away from the scent.
Are scent repellents safe for pets?
Victor® scent repellents are safe to use around people and pets when used as directed because they are non-toxic, poison-free, and use naturally derived ingredients.
Do you have questions about rodent baiting? Read our library of Frequently Asked Questions to find immediate answers about rodent baits, how they work, how to use them, and more. If you have a question not answered below, please feel free to contact us.
How Do Baits Work
How many pellets of second-generation anticoagulants does it take to kill a rodent?
Usually consuming only a few pellets will kill a mouse. For rats, usually 6-30 pellets are required. Both rats and mice will continue to feed for several days until they succumb to the effects of the poisons.
Will rodents leave the building to die?
Poisoned rodents may die anywhere, including in some very inconvenient areas. There is no evidence that the rodents exit buildings "seeking water" and then die outside. Most times, poisoned rodents succumb to the bait in their nests.
How long does it take for rodent baits to work?
With Victor® Fast-Kill™ rodent baits, once a rodent has consumed a lethal dose, it will die within 12 hours to 2 days. Additionally, once the rodent consumes a lethal dose, it will stop feeding. This greatly reduces the risk of secondary poisoning.
What does it mean to see droppings the color of the bait?
Colored droppings indicate a rodent has ingested and digested the bait and its active ingredient. It takes several days for most baits to kill a rodent. Mice produce upwards of 50 or more droppings every day, rats produce 30-40. Thus, some droppings will be passed through the body containing the green, blue, or red dye of the rodent bait.
How to Use Baits
Should I broadcast rodenticide bait pellets?
No, you should not broadcast (spread the loose pellets) rodenticide bait. Apply bait in locations that are out of reach of pets and other non-target wildlife or use a tamper-resistant bait station.
How often should rodent baits be replaced?
Most recommendations suggest changing out rodent bait every 4-6 weeks. Moldy or decayed baits are unattractive to rodents, and thus may not be any better than no baits at all.
Pets & Rodenticides
Will my pets be harmed if they eat mouse or rat poison?
Rodenticides can be harmful if ingested by domestic pets or non-target wildlife. To prevent exposure, follow these precautions:
- When not in use, store product in a location that is out of reach of pets.
- Apply bait in locations that are out of reach of pets and other non-target wildlife or use a tamper-resistant bait station.
- Collect and dispose of any dead rodents and leftover bait right away.
What should I do if my pet eats mouse or rat poison?
Call a poison control center, veterinarian, or 1-800-858-7378 immediately for treatment advice. Have the product label with you when obtaining advice for treatment.
Proper Bait Storage
Should baits be stored away from chemical odors like insecticides, cleaning agents, etc.?
In some cases, it may be crucial. Rats can taste chemicals in their food in parts per billion. In infestations where rodents may have other food sources readily available, they have the option of rejecting foods that have chemical tastes.