Mickey, Jerry, Mighty Mouse, The Rescuers… Mice have long entertained us on the screen, but though they are cute, seeing a mouse scamper across your living room or squeeze under a kitchen appliance is alarming.

When dealing with a mouse infestation – or any rodent infestation, for that matter – follow these seven do-it-yourself steps to ensure that your strategy is effective.

1.) Stop Putting Traps in the Middle of the Room

Though it seems logical to put a mouse trap in the middle of the room, where the bait is highly visible, that’s actually the least effective place for a trap. Mice have very poor eyesight – relying on their whiskers for navigation – and timid demeanors, so they tend to stick closely to corners and walls. Placing traps along the wall, with the bait and trigger end of the trap facing the wall, is the best practice.

2.) Use the Food that Mice Crave

Remember watching Speedy Gonzales elude Sylvester and raid the cheese factory? Well, now please promptly forget that. Contrary to what cartoons tell us, rodents are primarily nut and seed eaters. Peanut butter and hazelnut spreads are tried and tested baits that strongly attract mice. You can also try chocolate, but we know that you’d rather save that for yourself.

In the winter, when mice come inside and focus on building nests, materials such as cotton balls, yarn, dental floss, and twine can often tempt them.

3.) Don’t Overload the Trap

Keep in mind that the bait is for a tiny mouse, not your fraternity brother The Human Landfill. Overloading a trap can cause the device to malfunction, and the mouse can steal the bait without getting caught. A pea-sized dab of peanut butter should be more than enough to attract them.

4.) Use More Mouse Traps

Once you’ve seen a mouse, or you’ve found their telltale droppings (gross!!!), you’ll want to get started on eliminating these pests from your home right away. Studies show that more mice are caught on the first night you set out mouse traps in your home than on any subsequent nights.

Start your extermination campaign by setting up traps wherever you’ve seen evidence of activity or places that they commonly explore, such as behind the fridge or sofa. Be sure to use many traps and a few different types of bait to ensure a successful first night.

5.) Put Away the Broom and Baseball Bat

We get it. You were all-state in high school and you keep your prized bat next to your bed for these exact situations. It sure would be satisfying to chase after a rodent with a weapon, but mice and rats are incredibly fast and agile. The most likely outcome of your onslaught is a damaged floor and walls – not to mention a damaged ego.

6.) Stop Using Dangerous Substances

Using poisons for pest control is often a last resort, even for the professionals. It’s important to keep your children, pets, spouse, and yourself safe during your gallant rodent-exterminating quest. Traps, and especially live traps, are much safer and more effective than chemicals.

7.) Stop Treating the Symptoms and Not the Cause

Trapping a mouse cures the issue in the short-term, but to completely eliminate the infestation, you’ll need to get to the source. Try to figure out where the mice or rodents are gaining access to your home, and seal up any vulnerable spots or holes. Cleaning up your home – and especially your kitchen – will also help remediate any pest control problem.

If you’ve got a rodent problem, just follow our do-it-yourself rodent control tips. With any luck, you’ll be able to outsmart these whiskery pests and keep them outside your home – and in the cartoons – where they belong.

7 DIY Rodent Control Mistakes You’re Making in Virginia

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