I live in a townhome which is a 2nd and 3rd floor unit. On the 3rd floor is a closet with a crawlspace entrance which is the attic. There are definitely mice running around in there.

I tried to setup mouse traps to catch them near the entrance, but none worked for a couple reasons. One, there is an attic vent in there, and the wind comes down into our attic pretty strong which sets off the classic mouse traps, and also flips over the flimsy glues traps. Two, I highly doubt they come close to the entrance of the crawlspace, which is the only place I can set the traps because 80% of the attic is insulation. I only ever hear them running, from the 2nd floor, in the ceiling, underneath the attic, in the back of the house. Third, it sounds like they are using my attic as a "highway," only scurrying from left to right. Never to the front of the attic.

We have 2 cats so I am not really worried about them getting into the house. I assume if they every do make it in plain view, then the cats should be ale to chase them out. But, our cats are never hanging out in the cabinets, so I assume it is a matter of time before they find their way in. Also, I am still concerned that they could be nesting in my attic, which could mean there are hundreds up there. Gross!

I feel like I am fighting a losing battle. I can't set a trap all the way in the back of the attic. I cant set traps outside because they could be entering from someone else's house so it would be really tough for me to find the access point, nor do I think my neighbors would appreciate me setting traps with cats and kids running outside all day.

As a side note, my wife thinks I am nuts and isn't too concerned about it. She thinks they will not enter the house because of our cats.

Being the persistent man that I am, I still want them gone. What is the best way to get rid these critters? I really want them completely removed from the house, but I am not able to find a good solution. I am seriously debating buying some of that d-con poison, and chucking it all the way in the back of the crawlspace, or my last resort is to call a professional...

  • 7
    Sounds like a job for ceiling cat!
    – Doresoom
    May 23, 2011 at 21:33
  • I'm flagging this question as off-topic because pest control has nothing to do with home improvement as defined by the help center.
    – TylerH
    Aug 12, 2021 at 13:49
  • 1
    I'm flagging this question as off-topic because pest control has nothing to do with home improvement as defined by the help center.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 12, 2021 at 14:15

11 Answers 11


I used a tall plastic bucket once to catch the mice in the garage - I just put a small amount of dog food in the bottom, they could not climb the walls or jump that high to get out. I used a "ramp" made of simple cardboard to the top so that they could hop right in! Safe, no poison and easy to carry out when "full".


I am a big fan of the Victor Electronic Mouse Trap. They are pretty much fool-proof, and close to 100%. My wife is quite squeamish, and even she can empty them (put the whole trap in a plastic bag, open the door, and shake). They are pricy, but well worth it. We had a bit of a mouse problem last fall, and bought 2. Used a pea-size bit of peanut butter as bait, and put them in areas we knew the mice were wandering (mostly in our basement). We'd catch 2/day for about a week, then 1/day for another week.. rather than spending hundreds on an exterminator, $35 for two traps, and we handled it ourselves. It sounds like it would be an ideal type of trap for near your attic entrance. (the fan wont have any effect on it at all)

I should also note- we found a hole where the mice were coming in- plugging it up was vital to eliminating our mouse issue.

  • 2
    In my experience, steel wool works REALLY well as a plug. It still lets air through, but the mice can't get through it, and if they try to chew their way through, they will very soon be an ex-mouse.
    – fluffy
    Mar 28, 2012 at 20:25

Your wife is wrong though. The fact that they won't get into the house itself is not the issue. A serious issue is that rodents can chew the insulation off of wiring. (Insulation on new wiring is apparently sometimes soy based plastic, which rodents seem to truly love.) This may leave your house exposed to a risk of electrical fires. Also, rodents in the attic will pee and leave behind droppings, so smell problems.

We had our house bat-proofed, keeping out most of the small animals, but mice still occasionally find their way in. Whenever we do hear a mouse up there, I set traps along the tops of the rafters in our garage. This is how they come in. They like to use them as highways into the house.

I use rat traps, not small mouse traps, as the larger traps are more consistent in catching mice. I bait the traps with a piece of American cheese, melted to the trigger with some heat. (This seems to work more consistently than peanut butter on the trigger, although that did work too.)

Personally, I don't like the poison solution. This risks your cats finding and eating a dead mouse. And it leaves dead mice decomposing in the attic. Traps do work, checked frequently, they will clear out the mice. You do need to block their entrances too though.


They make non-lethal mouse traps that you can get from the hardware store. The bait is a bit of peanut butter so you don't have to worry about anything toxic around children. That said, avoid the plastic ones since mice can chew through the plastic, unless you plan on finding the mouse within a few hours of being trapped.

Also, don't count on cats catching the mice. They will likely come in from the back of cabinets, behind appliances, etc, where the cats can't catch them even if they wanted to.

  • 1
    we discovered we had mice was our cat was catching them. one incident I saw first hand, my cat was pawing at a mouse that (like you stated) was going behind the refrigerator where the cat couldn't get. The one thing I noticed though is that mice are very quite! And the mouse came out the other end and scampered across our kitchen without the cat ever knowing because she was still looking down the other gap between our frige and cabinet. My peanut butter traps were just more effective than the cat but my cat did get a few and a cat will sometimes reveal where they are coming into the house.
    – Eric
    Jul 5, 2012 at 17:36

You can get covered traps that are safe for children, cats and dogs, or you could put out rat poison. But in order to really solve the problem, you need to find where they get in and block the entrance (e.g., using wire mesh, which they can't chew through).

  • rough steel wool jambed in tight also works pretty well May 24, 2011 at 19:05

We had a serious mouse problem and I did a bit of research on this and I found the best formula to consist of traps are spring loaded. The kind where you set the trap and when the mouse comes in for the bait, he steps on a pressure sensitive plate that activates the snapping bar which kills the mouse.

Now, the best bait to use is by far PEANUT BUTTER! Within about 2 days, I had caught 8-10 mice.

I tried the glue traps, they didn't work. I tried the traps that look like jaws you put against a wall, they didn't work. In fact, I watched a mouse walk right across one and not even trip it.

The traps I use have a hood on them that force the mouse into the trap head first. That is, the mouse can't come in at an angle. The brand of mouse trap is called TOMCAT and I purchased mine at homedepot.com

Here is a link to the product website. You get this whole kit but I found that the hooded trap with peanut butter bait did the trick. http://tomcatbrand.com/product/26-mouse-control-kit


Mice are super smart, have great sniffers, and can be hard to capture if you don't have a plan. How do you remove mice? The best solution is to start a plan, and to do it yourself. After all, you can hire someone, but are they going to be at your home day and night? The cats won't help, because they are fed, and will play with your dumbest mice, but not really make a dent in the population. Tell your wife that mice are not healthy, as they carry a wide variety of diseases and scatter bacteria everywhere with their fecal matter. Trapping, and trapping in a smart way will improve your hunting skills. The best way to place a mouse trap is along the areas that these nearly blind rodents run along, and with the food bait always closest to the wall. Adopt a plan to capturing mice, and your house will be mouse and pest free!


I use the sticky mice glue traps. Use a piece of rolled duct tape under glue trap so that it will not move inside a narrow skinny 8x5x3", box enough where they can go in with a drop of peanut butter. I put a strip of tape near both entrance of box, 2" high to block the glue trap from coming out of box. When I catch mouse I place the small box in a grocery bag and place in garbage can with lid outside house.

  • Also use electronic sound plugs in outlet. Place food in sealed containers and starve them so that they can pack up and move. I just got tired of hearing them at night playing poker! lol
    – user13850
    Jul 6, 2013 at 19:19

The easiest way to get rid of mice is to kill them. If you want to catch in release it will be a part-time job. I live in the burbs and the mice population is mediocre at best.

Once every year I hit every hole in my yard with poison pellets. I push them an inch or so in the hole, so that neighbor pets don't eat them. I do this 2-3 times over a week or two. Almost instantly the mouse population is gone and the mice are dead in their holes so I don't have to deal with them. How do I know they are gone? I rake over the holes and no new ones...

The only downside to this is I will kill a squirrel or rabbit every now and then. But you cannot expect to have 50 mice living right outside your home and none ever come in.


Another option might be the Nooski Mouse Trap.

I've heard of some really good results from these. Basically the mouse pokes it's head into the trap and "wham" it gets a rubber noose around it's neck which strangles it. Similar result to a conventional mouse trap but without the problems of them going off in the wind or with the bait being eaten and the trap still set!

Another advantage is you can mount them in trees etc. Not appropriate for you but it means you can screw it down in your ceiling and the wind won't knock it over.

Hopefully, the mouse dies a very short distance from the trap. They are available on amazon etc.


Tomcat at Home Depot has a wonderful trap It is black plastic about 6" long. Put a bit of peanut butter at one end and open the door on the other and set it down on the floor. The mouse enters, and the door slams. Mouse is not injured. Now put the trap in a plastic bag and head for the woods and let it go!

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