When I went into the garage, at times I could hear slight noises. It almost was the sound of dried leaves rustling. Because it is windy here, I was thinking it was the air movement through the garage, as it is not sealed due to the garage door. Over time the sounds became more frequent. I determined there were mice taking up residence in the garage.
I went to one of the greatest how-to sources in the world (YouTube) and searched for, “DYI Mouse Traps”. There are so many people with videos it was almost overwhelming. I modified the search to, “DYI Live Mouse Traps”. This brought it down to a reasonable amount. I started watching videos only to find some of the YouTube creators have their own Mouse Trap channels!
This was certainly better than any television, and the creativity was certainly inspiring. I was confident that in a few days, I would have built a trap, caught the mice and been done with everything mouse related. Little did I know. It appears, eight the Mice here are a lot smarter than some of the Mice the video creators were using.
Watch some videos video and watch the mice almost run to get into the trap. I suppose if they were hungry enough they would almost run to food, knowing they would be let go shortly. The mice here did not appear to be so desperate. I built a simple bottle trap, put some sunflower seeds in and waited. Days gone by and no mice. I decided, the Mice didn’t like the smell of the bottle, so I made a second trap out of a plastic milk bottle. Now with two traps, surely something would happen.
Day one led to day two, which led to week one. I guess the Mice were not that excited about sunflower seeds. I then added peanut butter. Rinse and repeat. Oatmeal must be the key. In went the oatmeal in both traps. No Mice. I wasn’t catching or seeing any mice, so I thought it was my imagination. After looking over the more protected shelve areas, the evidence appeared. Mouse droppings.
Some droppings were near the bottles, but they did not have any interest in the buffet. I watched more YouTube videos. DYI Live Traps run the gamut from simpler than the Bottle Trap, to quite sophisticated. They all seemed to be using peanut butter, and having good results – they caught mice.
I came across two older videos which was only a minute or so long. I wish I had saved them, so I could give it a call out. The first was a trap with a cake pan and a L shaped piece of wire. The wire held the cake pan up on one side. The other end of the wire held some bait, once again peanut butter (I think). The second video was shorter than the first, and it was a Man who seemed to be having the same problem I was having, empty traps.
He said, someone told him the secret was using chocolate for bait. He said Mice could not resist chocolate, and went crazy for it. What did I have to lose? I found a large pan in the garage. It was a monster, about eleven inches around, heavy aluminum. I also found part of an old coat hanger.
I made the coat hanger into a very relaxed and modified L shape. It was short on the small leg, and longer on the tall leg. I doubled over the end to have a spot for peanut butter and sunflower seed. Every day the peanut butter and seed were gone, but the pan did not drop. I did not understand this at first, as it was very hard to balance the pan and get it to stand correctly.
The pan is very heavy and mice are very light! How obvious now. It would take a mouse the size of a squirrel to trip the trigger and make the pan fall. I looked for a lighter pan, and found a bread load pan. I made a new trigger from lighter wire, and put more of U shape in it. At the bait end, I doubled it over and put a small sliver of wood to hold more bait.
I used chocolate syrup and sunflower seeds for bait. The syrup was not viscous enough to hold the seed, and it fell off. Well, a little peanut butter wouldn’t hurt. Changing to a lighter bread pan and using chocolate syrup was the magic combination. The Mice could not resist.
I thought there were perhaps two Mice in the garage. The first day, I caught two Mice. The second day, I caught two more. It seems Mice can hide their presence well. Going into the garage, I can hear slight noise from two different places, so I am expecting to catch at least two more mice.
I am using old cat litter buckets with lids to put the captured mice in. When the pan is flat on the shelve, it is time to move the captured Mouse from the pan to the bucket. I place the un-covered bucket in a large trash can to prevent escapes. I then slide a heavy piece of cardboard (about three-quarters of the size of the top of the bucket) under the bread pan without allowing any space between the cardboard and pan.
Placing the bread pan and cardboard into the litter bucket, I tilt the far side of the pan and cardboard down into the bucket. I then lift the pan and listen to the mouse scratching trying to remain on the card board – which is a losing battle. After a second or two the mouse falls to the bottom of the bucket, runs for cover under the crumpled newspaper without any thought of jumping out. Now I simply slide the bucket lid back into place.
One of the videos I watched said Mice are very good at finding their way home, and need to be let go at least one-half mile away from where they were caught. There is a park about that far away with shrubs and such, that looks like like good mouse habitat, so that is where I let them go. I lay the bucket sideways on the ground, remove the lid, and tap the bottom of the bucket. If that doesn’t work, I carefully reach in and pull back the newspaper. As soon as they see daylight, they run a little slower than the speed of light for cover.
One Mouse Trap maker on YouTube thinks these Mice rarely survive in a new habitat. I like to think, at least they have a chances and if they do not survive, they contribute to the food chain, which is probably what would have happened if they were living outside to start with.