By Tina Jepson
I remember it like it was yesterday. I woke up, walked downstairs, and started a pot of coffee. My youngest daughter, a vibrant 2-year-old who has never in her life said “no” to a piece of fruit, noticed an apple on the ground. “Mom, can I eat this apple?” I said no. After all, it was on the floor and, in all likelihood, it had been a while since I had time to mop.
It’s a good thing I didn’t clean the floors that week.
As someone who wasn’t yet familiar with “city rats,” I didn’t pick up on the fact that a mouse or rat would ever care to make itself at home in my kitchen. It took a couple more pieces of gnarled-on fruit knocked off the counter and rolled near a hole in our floor to realize we had a problem. Our handy, strategically-placed security cameras verified the information.
EEEKKK! We have a gigantic black rat (or maybe more) running through our kitchen at night!
Since the unfortunate realization, I’ve been on constant rat-patrol. First, I realized that rats and mice are just a way of life in both the city and country so there’s no shame in it. Then, I learned that the key to riding the home of vermin was a bit more complicated than it should be. Seriously, people: rodents are remarkably smart.
I started my journey into rat and mouse-control by trying to determine the answer to a question. “What is the best rat trap?” I asked. From there, I fine-tuned my strategy.
Do you have rats or mice? Ignore those heebie-jeebies and get to work! Here’s are the most effective rat control products to try.
Glue mouse traps are just that: sheets of paper with a tacky, super-strong adhesive.
- They’re an affordable mouse control solution, averaging about $1-$2 per sheet.
- They work on small rodents.
- They work in all types of spaces, indoors and outside.
- They don’t kill the rodents right away. In fact, it can take hours or even days for the mouse to finally die.
- It’s not just mice and rats that get trapped on the glue, other animals (including birds and even your cat) can easily stick to it.
- The glue is extremely sticky. So much so that if you happen to step on a glue mouse trap, you may have to toss your entire shoe in the trash can.
The Bottom Line: Unless you’re on a tight budget, glue traps aren’t the best rodent control method. Although effective, the traps are by no means humane.
Electric rat traps provide rodent intruders with a quick high-voltage shock.
- Electric mouse traps kill the rodents quickly and efficiently.
- There are no harsh chemicals used to either kill or bait the rat. Instead, you can use anything from peanut butter to cheese to lure the rodents into the trap.
- Most electronic rat traps can kill dozens of rats or mice before the batteries need replacement
- You still have to dispose of the dead rodent.
- The average electronic trap costs between $40 and $50, much higher than the average trap.
The Bottom Line: Although expensive, electronic rat traps are one of the best, most benevolent ways to rid your home of rodents.
If you’re looking for a simple and cheap way to catch a rat or mouse, a basic snap trap is the way to go. They’re usually made of wood and feature a fast-snapping metal or plastic trigger.
- Most snap traps are around $1-$3, depending on the size.
- Snap traps kill quickly, but only if you use the right size trap. For example, you need a large snap trap for rats, whereas a regular trap is perfect for the average house mouse.
- Again, no chemicals or harsh rodenticide is needed. Instead, a small dribble of peanut butter on the trigger will be enough of a lure.
- They’re cheap enough that, if you’re squeamish, you can easily dispose of the entire trap.
- You’ll be faced with a dead, sometimes bloody mouse or rat when you go to clean the trap in the morning. It’s not a pleasant experience, to say the least.
- If you catch a large rat with a small trap, the rat may just decide to carry the trap along with him under your house. In the process, it can leave a bloody mess (unfortunately, this has happened to me).
The Bottom Line: Effective? Check. Affordable? Check. There’s a reason why people have been using snap traps for over a century.
In my experience, the rodenticide station is one of the most effective rat traps out there. Sure, it technically isn’t a trap, it’s just a child-proof/large animal-proof container, but it does the trick.
- The stations range about average, between $15-$25. The rodenticide is affordable at around .50 per green nugget.
- Chances are, you’ll never encounter your deceased intruder. After they’re poisoned, the rats and mice tend to die elsewhere (more on this later). So, there’s almost no cleanup!
- Upkeep is also minimal with rodenticide stations. Every month or so, it’s important to open up the station and, if possible, add more rodenticide pellets.
- Rodenticide is harmful. So harmful, in fact, that it’s absolutely necessary to store it away from the hands of curious little kids or the neighborhood alley cat. If you choose to use rodenticide, you should always keep it in a child-proof container.
- Remember how I mentioned that the rodents go someplace else to die? Well, that’s great if they decide to go out into a yard, or your shed. But, it’s actually quite common for rodents to crawl back into your home, including your walls or crawlspace, to spend their final moments.
The Bottom Line: Yes, rodenticide stations work, and you may never have to deal with the sight of a dead rodent ever again. On the other hand, you’re almost guaranteed to smell it. When we first started handling the rat situation, a good friend told me, “there’s nothing more distinct than the smell of a dead rat in your walls.” Readers, no truer words have ever been spoken. If you choose to use a rodent station, keep in mind that you may have to deal with some stinky repercussions.
There you have it. You can snap ‘em, trap ‘em, poison ‘em, or shock ‘em. Just so long as they stay away from your apples, right?
Images used with permission, courtesy of Tina Jepson and www.shutterstock.com