Help! I'm being outsmarted by a mouse...

I’m putting this in IMHO because I’m looking for ideas. There probably isn’t a factual answer to this question.

In a previous thread I mentioned that a mouse, or more likely several mice, are getting into my wife’s new car and chewing through her console, presumably looking for food. After meeting with the Toyota Service Dept. they told us that they knew all about the problem and that they had a fix for it. They sell a screen that fits over a vent, which we are having installed tomorrow.

In the meantime I continue to put a few Victor snap traps in the car at night in an effort to catch them, and every once in a while I do catch one, but lately I haven’t caught any even though I know they are still around. How do I know? Because in the morning I find the traps still set, but the dab of peanut butter I put on the traps is licked clean. So the mice have learned that if they carefully lick the peanut butter they can do it without setting off the trap, which as far as I can tell is set at a hair trigger (they sometimes go off just by my setting them down on the ground).

So what am I doing wrong? Should I load them up with more peanut butter or just use a little as I have in the past. Once they have learned to avoid being caught is it still worthwhile to use snap traps? I tried adding some sticky traps too but they don’t seem to work at all. Other than selling the house are there any other suggestions?

Wire a piece of bacon rind on to the trap. Or get glue traps if the mice are small.

Oh and make sure your trap is set with the trip bar on the left side of the trigger thing. Sometimes you have to do a bit of adjusting to get it set properly.

We had the same problem with a mouse that was so gentle he would not set the trap off. Finally got him. The traps I set would sometimes spring when I set them on the ground as well.

But I had been wondering how to make sure it snaps myself. I haven’t tried this… but what if you put the peanut butter on and then lightly wound about an inch of thread or thin string around it? Moosh it into the bait a little. Make him work for it.

I really hate the idea of glue traps myself.

I’ve been researching how to deal with mice myself. One of the things I learned is that in addition to food, they also look for nesting materials. So your idea of string is correct. not to hold the peanut butter on, which it won’t, but because they will want the string. Apparently you can also use dental floss, or sewing thread.

Another idea - since we are talking about a car, there are really only 4 possible entry points for the mice. (I am assuming they are not nesting in the car itself - have you verified that?) There are jumbo size glue traps available. I just bought some on-line. It should be possible, using a bunch of these, to totally deny access to the tires. Place them all around each tire so that the mice have to step in the trap to get to the car.

The downside is you will have to remember to move the traps when you want to use the car.

Interesting. They can’t really have “learned” that, because they only get one chance at a mistake. I second the idea of tying a piece of bacon to the trap.

My son-of-a-wrek bought a old jeep out of a guys barn and mice were nesting in the seats. Meeces went running when they hauled it out of the barn. He stopped on the way home at the dump and took the seats out and tossed them. I hope your mice aren’t nesting inside the car.

Here is everything you want to know about mouse traps, a la the New York Times.

My sister, the ex rodent-lab worker, says that Froot Loops are like rodent crack. They could be trained to do anything with the promise of more Froot Loops. Plus, you can tie it in place.

Personally, I’ve found that no bait works for very long - they do seem to figure out that certain smells cause the death of their compatriots.

I’d suggest using less peanut butter so that the mice can’t lick it without disturbing the mechanism.

One of my exterminators uses pb with molasses.

Ha, mice. I live in the woods and have a valuable hotrod that I keep in my barn, and it is stored there during the winter also. I have two cats which is a huge help.

In the fall when the mice come indoors I would set a trap on each side of the car, and from then until sometime in December or so I would average one mouse per night. It would taper off then as they became less active in the depths of winter.

But they are disgusting things and I hate dealing with them, and there is no perfect mouse trap, I’ve tried them all.

So a couple of years ago I got an idea. We know they are nocturnal and will avoid lighted areas whenever possible. So I put three LED bulbs around the car, one on each side and one above the hood. They stay out! Instead of one per night in the fall, I catch maybe one or two per month. It made that much difference.

Another trick, for storage: Leave the hood up. With it down they are safe and they will nest around the engine creating a mess, and if you’re real unlucky they will chew everything up, including wires. With the hood up they are exposed, and with two cats prowling around AND an LED a few feet above the engine they don’t go near it.

Another tip for glue traps: Stick a peanut or other bait right in the middle of the trap (I always use the big rat traps). But those things are gross; I had one in my cellar years ago and when I checked it there were two mice. One was still alive and had started cannibalizing the other one.

Good luck!

Mice are incredibly smart and “trap shy.” You need a poison to get rid of them. The current type of poisons work much later than when the mouse eats the bait, because if not, the mouse associates the bait with death.

If traps are used and one sees another mouse hit, that mouse learns not to go there.