We've had mice since last year (maybe even the year before) and they seem to have smartened up after successfully using snap traps the first time we noticed them. We probably caught at most 10 and I'm pretty sure that they've bred a thousand more over the months.

I've plugged a couple holes in the bathroom walls with fine steel wool, one hole that isn't made by a mouse (no idea why it's there) and one that is. There's another hole in one of the bedroom walls that I'm afraid of plugging because I don't want to end up with the possibility of dead mice in the walls.

The steel-wool in the mouse-made hole mysteriously disappeared in about 2 weeks of plugging, and continued to do so within a week of replugging it. Bits of the wall were on the floor when it happened so I'm assuming the mice are pulling it into the walls. I just place a glue trap in front of it now instead of replugging.

Anyway, here's a list of other things I've tried:

  • Putting the food away. They still come to scratch the walls and other things to find nesting material I'm guessing.
  • A bunch of snap traps in the recommended positions, changing the type of bait occasionally when I noticed I haven't caught anything in a couple weeks. Unfortunately, they remained uncaught. I've even tried 'hiding' the traps with tissue paper, haha. One with bait under the paper, over the paper, and no bait at all.
  • My brother tried the live bucket trap; didn't work.
  • Glue traps worked twice. I'm not sure about the first time, but I'm positive the second catch was pure luck.
  • I've a Victor electronic trap that's been on for a few months with nothing in it. I've tried baited and unbaited (which it currently is right now), nothing.
  • We have those bait stations that go into a corner, but they haven't done anything since being put up either.

And that's about it. One thing about these mice is that they don't care what time of day it is, they'll still venture about the house, usually a day before, after, and on the weekends. I'm certain they also just walk around the traps. There have been times when they ran away upon seeing me and avoided all the paths with snaptraps waiting.

Anything I can do? Sorry for the long post.

  • 4
    Have you tried cats?
    – getterdun
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 2:51
  • Nope. I'd love to get a cat, but my parents don't want to get one for some reason.
    – user21860
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 22:14
  • 1
    You put the peanut butter laden traps along routes you know the mice use? In spots where they'll feel safe from observation/predation? All the traps in the world will do nothing if you don't place them in accord with the four-legged-furry's habits. Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 14:24
  • You need a cat it seems Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 15:45

7 Answers 7


Every time I have dealt with a rodent issue they ALWAYS eat the poison pellets. Now can you live with a dead mouse somewhere? Maybe it isn't the best inside way to catch them. But if you hit them with pellets all along the outside of your house 2-3 heavy sweeps over a course of a few months they will all be dead or close. They share food when close. I have done this on a couple houses and I not only killed the mice but didn't notice a chipmunk or squirrel for a while. I would try this even if you have an inside problem because often they will nest outside right by your house.

  • I'm okay with dead mice, but aside from a horrible smell, do you know if there'd be a health issue with them rotting in the walls? Thanks.
    – user21860
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 18:14
  • 1
    @user21860 Most of the time their main nest is not inside a home unless it is a pretty bad infestation. Mice don't live an extremely long time. What do you think happens to them if they die naturally? They probably aren't buried in a proper funeral... probably in your walls and attic. Point being just get rid of all of them as fast as possible. I use poison outside my house and glue traps in it. I had a mouse problem when I bought my house, nothing the past 4 years. I just poison 2-3 times a year.
    – DMoore
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 18:51
  • What brand do you use?
    – paragbaxi
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 9:24
  • You have to be aware of what type of poison. In studying rats, it was discovered they are immune to certain poisons. If mice are nearly as smart as rats (who actually send the weak ones to test traps and are impossible to get rid of), they may be immune too. Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 5:50
  • I have used poison that dehydrates them or I believe it does we usually find the close to dead or dead ones close to the water dish. We hide the bait in places like the back of cabinets, behind the piano, couch. Not in the open but a covered area, we get invasions when the winter cold, rains start but have mostly found the mice in the open when they are close to dying or dead. I bleve the brand is Tom cat , or ally cat, bars that you break up they have safety covers but the blocks inside those never seam to be touched but the hidden bars show chew marks. Use caution never touch a dead mouse.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 18:39

I've enjoyed dusting flour (from the kitchen) onto the floor overnight, thus showing me in the morning the mouse/rat travel path. That in turn can inform the best trap locations.


You might try dipping your steel wool in rodent poison.

However, for a persistent problem, cats provide a remarkably effective solution.

  • 1
    Yes, easiest solution is to just get a cat. Why complicate things further :) Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 15:45

First, you said: "I don't want to end up with the possibility of dead mice in the walls." It's actually not that big of a deal. They don't really decay and stink in the way that you'd first think. They more like dry out and mummify. Then 400 years from now when they dig up your house they'll know you killed a mouse. ;) For this reason, I recommend a slow poison. One that kills in about 3 or 4 days, that way they all get their fill before figuring out it's bad food.

They are likely avoiding the snap traps not because they are so smart and realize it's a death machine, but rather because of the smell. If you've handled them too much, or if a mouse has been killed in it previously, that can leave a smell on the trap that other mice will instinctively avoid. Get a fresh new set of traps, handle them with gloves only, and then see what you get.

Baiting traps is not as important as trap placement (but if you feel like to need to bait, use peanut butter). You said you placed them as suggested, but I'm going to reiterate some common advice here anyway. Traps should be placed along walls and in pairs 3 to 7 feet apart. You place them along walls because mice instinctively move along anything that lets their whiskers drag on it. This won't happen in the open, so mice almost never travel in the open. Perimeter walls are also more likely to have traffic. You place them in pairs because as a mouse approaches a trap, it will do so with tremendous caution, sometimes tripping a trap without being caught. When that happens, they instinctively flee, sometimes running over the other trap.

Getting a cat will work, but not because the cat will catch them all. Again, instincts and smell here. Mice can smell a cat and are instinctively terrified of it. They will simply leave. Also, having a cat has it's own set of issues, including litter box stink. Don't jump into getting a cat unless you are sure that you would actually want one for the next 10 to 15 years.

For your personal advice, I might spend the money on a pro this time. It sounds like you have a persistent and large infestation. Sometimes DIY is not the best way. Also, pest control often comes with insect control too, so that might be a real benefit if you also have ants or earwigs.


I have the exact same problem inside the house. I used every thing imaginable to catch or kill them all but fail. Because I a small u-shape kitchen, once I saw it coming from side then I would scare it then he would run to the other where I'm waiting for him then I catch it with a bare hand. I know it sounds crazy and hard to believe, but I manage to catch more than 5 rats over the course of 5 or 6 months.

  • 1
    Jesus you must have the reflexes of a shaolin warrior monk!
    – k1308517
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 8:46
  • 2
    "The force is strong in this one" said obiwan.
    – bigbull15
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 15:29
  • 2
    I strongly recommend that you never catch a wild rat or mouse with bare hands. At least wear gloves that they can't bite through.
    – user19565
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 18:08

Although this is an old topic, the one thing that hasn't been addressed to this point (that I saw), is prevention in the first place. All the traps and bait in the world won't stop new mice from getting into your abode. Rather than just trying to kill them once they get in, you need to find out how they're getting in, and keeping them out in the first place. Otherwise, you'll just keep getting more mice (or other vermin) coming in from the outside, as they can breed faster than you can kill them once they come inside. :-)

This is different than, say, trying to get rid of ants, as ants will often take the bait/poison back to their nest and share with others in the colony, killing the whole group where they live. Mice don't typically share food, so by only trying to kill those that are in, you're not impacting in the least those that aren't directly getting into the poison or traps.

As others have mentioned, depending on your situation, this may need to involve a professional who is experienced in rodent control.

  • Cats are by far the best rodent control on the market :) helps when you have a cat lady living in your neighborhood
    – user70085
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 20:25

I accidentially caught mice in a cooking oil bottle left without lid on kitchen counter. Two of them crawled in and the oil prevented them from exiting. All you have to do is screw the lid back on and throw it away.

  • 2
    Or more humanely, use the container to take them far away, and let them enjoy a new home. Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 0:59

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