The Better Mousetrap To Protect Your Food Storage From Rodents

The Better Mousetrap

Long term storage of foods invite rodents… mice. Protect your investment. The best way to deal with mice is to eliminate them. Use a better mousetrap.

I don’t care how much work you put into discovering how and where they’re getting in, good luck with that. Though you should look for ways in and plug it up. Still, you’re going to have to set the mouse traps.

There are several precautions that you must take in order to be assured that your extra food will stand the test of time. Not only should you be concerned about the storage environment (temperature, etc..), but also be very aware of your food storage containment — the container it’s kept in.

Rodents (mice) have a way of finding food. And there are precautions that you can take to prevent rodents from destroying your valuable food storage!
 
Many of you store dry foods including grains, rice, flour, and beans. Perhaps various processed goods in their own containers / boxes, etc..

It is VERY IMPORTANT to realize the likelihood that sneaky little rodents (e.g. mice) will find your food. They will do whatever they can to separate you from your food storage!

Here’s the the thing… If they can smell it, they will try to get it.

Mice Got To My Food Storage

One reader of Modern Survival Blog emailed me some time ago and told me his story of a multi-hundred dollar mistake. He had acquired a lot of freeze-dried food. They were in those foil / mylar packets. He had kept them stored in a cardboard box. The mice discovered it, and most of his supply became a total loss. He mentioned how a simple steel garbage can with a tight fitting lid could have prevented his loss (as one example).

One of my own examples from awhile ago: We had an issue with a few mice that had somehow entered the house (still not sure how!). They discovered some of our processed foods which were only stored in their pressed-cardboard boxes on a shelf. They chewed their way in and ate some, while leaving their excrement behind (gross). We didn’t lose much since we had caught the problem in time. Much of our food storage of that particular variety is stored in plastic bins (except for what the mice found).

A Better Mousetrap

By the way, I’ve got to tell you about one of the best mouse traps (reusable) that I’ve discovered. They work exceedingly well. Truly the better mousetrap! They’re so easy and simple to operate (and dispose of the dispatched rodent). Either put a little peanut butter on it, or a piece of cracker (my own experience finds that a cracker seems to work better as mouse bait). Position the trap along a wall (mice run the edges), and voila… SNAP! I have lots of these mouse traps now. Keep them set in various places to bait any newcomers…

The Better Mousetrap
(view on amzn)

Acrobatic Opportunistic Mice

One thing we discovered is how absolutely seemingly acrobatic these clever mice are. They can climb and are opportunists. Fortunately they often leave a trail of ‘turd’ clues – so you know where they’ve been…

Mice Resistant Buckets, Bins, Trash Cans

Generally speaking (though not absolute!) most typical small mice won’t readily chew threw your 5 or 6-gallon pails of dry goods. Unless of course you’re dealing with some extraordinary beast of a rodent ;)

I’ve never had a problem (so far) storing foods within plastic storage bins either.

[ Read: A Great Way To Store Food ]

Metal trash cans would be the best (if it’s an issue for you).

Never Assume There Are No Mice!

One thing to keep in mind is to never assume that a given room, pantry, any location — is secured from rodents. These little buggers can squeeze through very tiny thin openings. I swear they can ‘beam me up Scotty’ to anywhere they want… So you’re better off keeping mouse traps always baited. Check them once in awhile and check your storage once in awhile for signs.

What are your ideas (or horror stories) regarding rodent control for your food storage?

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42 Comments

      1. The Amazon link is to a slightly different looking trap, by Feeke. The ones in your photo are Intruder.
        Does the serrated edge of the Feeke work better?
        At least they’re available at a decent price, the Intruders are a lot more expensive now….

        1. I couldn’t find the exact model that I had purchased years ago. Looks like other companies are making near-exact equivalents – such as the link in the article. I would think that the teeth would grip better upon the CLAMP/SNAP action! Though I’ve had few escapes with mine…

          1. Sounds like a plan. Will order another dozen, since I can’t find the first set I ordered from last time, lol! Thanks!

    1. Do they kill or capture? I still use Victor’s.
      Found a hole behind frig where water comes in for ice maker. Stuffed in some steel wool. Mice do not care for steel wool.
      Guess the foxes will help with the mouse population too. Cats do pretty well too.

  1. We have those type. We also got metal ones like it for rats. Definitely dont want to catch your fingers in them!

  2. I went to check my PO.Box on a Saturday afternoon. As I walk up,sitting in the windowsill is a big rat eating a piece of popcorn. Post office is closed of course. I stand at the window watching it. It didnt get startled. Just looking at me while I’m looking at him.I took a couple pictures of the rat.
    Next time I was inside picking up a package I kidded the teller about their “mascot”. Showed her the pic and she about croaked. Called out the Post Master to see it.
    He was not amused but everyone in line seemed to think it was hilarious…

    1. BJH
      What can one say about the post master–no humor. I found it rather hilarious myself.

  3. I too have had good experiences with that style of trap. However, note, these traps often catch but don’t kill the mouse.

    One problem with snap traps that kill, is various bodily fluids and substances can leak from a fighting to escape or a dead mouse. It can make a smelly mess that is sometimes hard to clean if it soaks into a wood or other porous surface.

    To make this all much easier I use double face tape or a loop of packing tape to stick the trap to a small paper plate. Position the business end in about the middle of the plate. Then the plate catches any mess and also keeps a not dead mouse from dragging the trap away to a hard to reach spot like under a freezer or fridge.

    If the mouse isn’t dead, pretty common with these traps, you don’t need to grab him or the trap. Just grasp a plate edge and drop the whole thing into a bucket of water for a few minutes. Discard mouse snd paper plate in trash and affix a new plate and reset.

    1. That’s interesting. Maybe the mice in your area are bigger or different. But I’ve been using this style trap for many years. Never have I found a mouse alive. Always dead.

      Good idea though sticking the trap itself to a plate. Thanks for the tip.

  4. I used to work at a church. The pest control people said we had mice. They put out all kinds of traps, but we never caught any. What was strange was that none of the evidence was in the kitchen/dining areas, but only in the sanctuary. Then we noticed that their “pellets” weren’t against walls, and they were bigger than most mice’s leavings. The pest control people said it was rats, not mice. (Mice run where their whiskers can touch the walls, but fearless rats go anywhere.) More traps. Nothing was caught. A different guy from the pest control company came out, took one look at the leavings, and said, “What were they thinking? You don’t have a rat problem, you have a bat problem.” He was correct! No wonder the traps didn’t catch anything. :)

    1. I have an alcove at the back of the house where a bat family comes every year to have the young. The walls are stucco and they seem to sleep comfortably up near the vaulted ceiling. There are some droppings, but I put up with it because they spent every night eating insects.

      1. Friendly reminder to wear protective gear (mask and gloves) when cleaning up after droppings of rodents (hantavirus) and bat guano (histoplasmosis)
        while not common…it’s still a health hazard

        1. Fireswamp

          I would love to say that I too take the useless temperatures of my guest bats every spring, but in truth, after about ten years with the return of one family (or descendants) I have learned to take the precautions you mention. But we do have many chipmunks here and I wonder if their droppings could be a risk as well.

          1. Rodents in general (so wild rodents:squirrels,chipmunks, mice, rats,muskrats
            ”pocket pets” like hamsters,gerbils,guinea pigs
            rabbits and hedgehogs)
            are all potential reservoirs for disease (vector borne from ticks too)
            so in addition to hantavirus and histoplasmosis
            things like babesia, tuleremia, leptospirosis, rat bite fever,Lyme,powassan,plague Etc

          2. Fireswamp

            I have had rabbits for years and never thought about health risk, but then they are caged inside with filtered air. I suppose they could get something from the straw and hay I bring in.

  5. Ken,

    As with all pests, if you remove their food source, they will go elsewhere or starve. I hereby promise not to be a future food source.

    None of us really know exactly how much effort you put into maintaining this site as a place to learn and gather. I’ll bet it’s a whole lot more than I can imagine. It’s invaluable – thanks for doing it!

    1. Farmgirl,removing their food source does not always make them go elsewhere. Sometimes they are just looking for a dry place to build their nest. After taking care of the mouse problem in the attic, I cleaned up their nest and always found acorns that they would bring in from outside stuffed into and around their nest.

      1. Peanut,

        I guess you’re right there. Though I was kind of speaking metaphorically, about a different kind of rodent. ;-)

  6. Mom fought a running battle with mice when we were kids. At the time we were surrounded by empty fields, so of course as construction went on the mice had to go somewhere. And our house was apparently the promised land, in spite of our cats.

    She tightened down everything, sealed all the holes she could find, but they still got in. Years later she found out where they were coming from, when she saw one scale the side of the house to go in through the dryer vent.

  7. I lost several mylar bags of food and some things in carboard boxes. I should have known better. Now everything is in plastic or tin. We have those traps with the red bar on top and have also used the kind on the Amazon link. Sometimes they work sometimes they manage to snap the traps with the red bar and lift up the peanut butter holder and eat it. I think those are chippers. I have a hard time understanding how mice can eat the peanut butter, or whatever and not snap the trap.

  8. If the mouse you catch has not gone into rigor mortis yet, toss it in the chicken yard and watch them eat it. Pretty funny watching them run around with a mouse half way down, with the other chickens chasing them.

  9. Timely article, since I was re-reading the Level 3 article about how much decomposition we may face in a truly bad situation. Of course, we’d also face a problem if trash service was interrupted for any reason. So even those of us who don’t see mice can benefit from preparing for their inevitable arrival if things get bad.

  10. Mice, no problems, now take Packrats, that’s a totally different story.
    Yes thet can abd do chew through Plastic Buckets.
    Luckily the neighbouring farm has a huge storage room full of all kinds of nasty “rodent elimination pellets”.
    Hence no more rats, BUT, Be very careful with that stuff. If the dog or chickens eat a crooked rat…. do the math.
    I also use the up size of the traps Ken shows…. they work well.

  11. Our problem is the danged rock squirrels. They have decimated our garden over the years. They excavate huge burrow systems and are quite destructive. We live trapped 28…28!!…of those little devils this year and relocated them a few miles down the road. I’ve been using the “Squirrelinator” trap and have caught two and three at a time (and a young raccoon). I know I’ll never eliminate them, but at least their numbers are tolerable.

    1. Even if I could find a way to take pepe le pew down the road to give someone else a problem for their chickens etc, I have decided to dispatch them here. The same with every packrat I have caught.

      1. LOL, I just can’t do it. Sometimes I wish I could, but I end up taking them to a place that I know has acorns and black hickory nuts. I even released a nursing mother back to her babies…I caught her again, along with her 4 young-uns.

  12. I also use these types of traps. I spray them down with a bit of bleach/water mix after disposing of the dead mouse. I also bait them with a few grains of scratch grains. They especially love the corn.

  13. While not a mouse or rat trap I keep several, as in 7 or 8, cats (out side of course). Since moving on my property over thirty years ago cats have eaten all of the ground rattlers, mice, rats, and thinned out the squirrels. I realize the temperature is conducive here to year around outside cats, but a few barn or shed cats really will help. Feed them enough to keep them around but not enough they won’t hunt.

  14. We had an issue with mice in the travel trailer at the ranch. Glue traps were the first line of defense. However, if we skipped a weekend visit then the little guys smelled awesome in the summer sun. The newest technology to thwart their advancement came when I installed an owl house in the yard. This cut the rodent issue by 90%. I installed a house outside every barn and this helped tremendously. Now we see less than 3 mice a year on the glue traps in the trailer when previously it was a minimum of 1 per month. The owls are not permanent fixtures but come and go as temp residents. When we first drive up you can see them sitting in their enclosure. To me it is long term and cost effective as I see lots of the little skeletons under the owl house and I don’t have to deal with the traps. The plans can be found on the Internet and the materials are under $10 for a single house.

    We still keep a box of traps in the barn, JIC the owls take a vacation.

  15. ‘TOMCAT’ rat traps at Home Depot, for $5, worked best for me.
    Efficient and safe and easy to set. Did the job.
    I had to stop using them, however, because I started to get Flying Squirrels in them.
    Just too cute to kill.
    Now I use HaveAHart live traps.
    Of course, this is outside around my chicken coop.
    Too big for inside.

  16. Up here at about 7500′ we have a overpopulation of mice this year. All the old timers say this is a sign of a very snowy winter. An over abundance of mice have made this area a target rich environment for trying out several mice elimination methods to see which ones work best. Our cat has made several kills already and presents the bodies of the little critters on our front sidewalk for our approval. Luckily none have made it into the house yet so all those years of mouse proofing the house seems to be paying off.

  17. To Ken,

    Thanks for retelling my own story of loss from many decades ago. I tell it as a learning point for the new folks out there to put some thought into storage of resources prior to purchasing mass quantities of any food stuff. These days, I ask myself if I have a place to put things prior to purchasing them.

  18. re putting feed bags in metal trash cans. I pick up the small dollies when they go on sale at Harbor Freight. I put the cans on them and then add feed. Easy to move around that way.

  19. To the new people getting into the lifestyle:
    This happened to me when I was living a fairly transient lifestyle going from seasonal quarters at my job to apartments of good or lesser quality. The freeze dried food was gifted to me from a fellow worker who cancelled his grand adventure that season. I placed it in a storage unit and procrastinated on purchasing a metal garbage can for rodent safe storage. It took less than 2 weeks in storage for the mice to discover this bounty.

    Since that day, I have learned many things that apply for people who are preparing for shortages of groceries/ or those that come into a bounty of food:
    #1 do not procrastinate: in this case, it was an expensive lesson for me. Buy that garbage can and store it properly in the first hour you place it in storage.
    #2 Before you make that big purchase of anything, ask yourself if you have room to store it/ freeze or preserve it.

    The irony of this story was that there was a hardware store just down the road that was open. I thought about mice briefly but did not take the action of obtaining a metal storage container. Most of the rental apartments I have lived in had some type of pest problem so I learned to keep a clean place and kitchen back then prior to tackling the pest problem.

  20. Homemade mouse trap
    I had problems with traps..they don’t always kill or trap the mice. I am going back to my old homemade trap after them stealing the bait without snapping the trap 70% of the time. They are getting too smart. I used everything from mouse hotels, spring traps, and the plastic one shown above. One trap that always got the critters was a tall plastic bucket with 3 inches water, and a dowel with a punched soda can on the dowel that twirls easily positioned on top of the bucket. I taped a rough stick up to the top as a ladder for the mice. I placed the peanut butter in the middle of the can so the mice get on the twirling can, they fall off and drown in the water. They can’t jump out, and can’t jump out from a twirling can but down.

    I won’t use poison because I have dogs, and eating a poisoned mouse will poison them,

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