Before I begin, let me tell you that I did not invent this design of mousetrap. If you search the internet you will find different and/or similar variations of this device. Just because I call this the Better Mousetrap it does not mean that it will only catch mice. If the hole is large enough you can use it to trap other rodents such as chipmunks, rats and the like.
To build this trap you will need a large waterproof container such as a 5 gallon plastic bucket. You will also need some 1/8" galvanized wire to go from one side of the bucket to the other with a couple extra inches to bend at the tips. I use the wire from one of those conical shaped (wire) tomato/vegetable supports or you can use parts from a shopping cart. For the actual trapping mechanism you will need a piece of 1/2" PVC, the length to go from one side of the bucket to the other over the previous 1/8" wire. You will also need a couple scrap pieces of lumber (1/2"thick x 1"wide x 18" long) to serve as a climbing plank into the bucket. Some automobile winterizer fluid or RV antifreeze will help if you live in a cold climate area. The antifreeze is only used to keep the water in the bucket from freezing.
Start off by drilling a 1" to 1.5" hole on both sides of the bucket approximately 2" from the top edge. This will act as a double entry into the trap. Directly underneath the entrance hole drill a small hole the diameter of the wire (1/8"). This wire will be the support for the 1/2" PVC pipe rings. Cut the length of the PVC pipe into several sections. I cut 2 pieces about 3" long and the rest I cut into 1/2" to 1" long rings. You will then put a 45 degree bend on one end of the wire and run the straight end though the outside of the first small hole. As you feed the wire through the bucked add the PVC rings onto the wire so as to cover the full length of wire. Continue feeding the wire through the other side and bend the end of the wire at a 45 degree angle outside of the bucket. Now the wire will hold the PVC rings in place and it won't fall out of the bucket.
The next step is to drill a 1/8" hole on the center of the bucket cover. Take a 6" piece of 1/8" wire and put a short 90 degree bend to keep the wire from falling into the bucket. Pass the wire through the top hole so that the long section of wire hangs inside the bucket. Let it hang down about 1"- 2" and bend the inside end into a loop (see picture). This will be the traps bait loop.
Finally pour approximately one gallon of a 1/2 and 1/2 mix of water and antifreeze into the bucket. Put some peanut butter on the bait loop attached to the cover and place the cover on top of the bucket with the bait loop directly above the PVC pipe. Set your trap at some location where you know there was previous mouse activity. Angle drill a small hole at one end of each piece of lumber (ladder or ramp) and attach these to the 45degree bends on the wire extending out of the bucket. If you think that the wooden ramp takes up too much space you may use pieces of rope to lure the mouse into the bucket. You may wipe a very small amount of peanut butter on the ramp as an attractant. Check back in a day or two and look inside the bucket for dead mice.
Oooops...Almost forgot...Don't forget to get yourself a small fish net to take the dead mice out of the bucket!
The main idea here is to lead the mice up the wooden ramp an onto the PVC rings. The PVC will be unstable and the mouse will slip into the bucket. It works!!!!
If you keep the trap outside and the bucket looks too unsightly you can dig a hole in the ground and place the bucket into the hole to a depth up to the side entrance holes. This way the only thing you see is the bucket's top section and you don't need the wooden ramps. Every-so-often you can peek under the cover to see if anything fell in. Make sure you protect the surrounding area so that it will be safe. You don't want anyone to trip over the bucket.
Someone asked me if this design would be dangerous to small house pets. If the entrance hole is only 1" to 1.5" in size a small dog or cat won't fall into the bucket. If you consider mice as pets then you DO have a problem.
Keep in mind that before the trapping process can be a success all available food sources in the area must be removed. Also before the removal of the critters is performed one must seal up all access points into the building paying particular attention to the foundation of the home. If this is not performed correctly the critters will return in due time and the process will start all over again. Of course all these precautions are not necessary when treating pests out in the open.
This is the 2 nd. version/design of a DIY mouse trap. It is very easy and cheap to make. All you need is a short section of 3" or 4" PVC/ABS pipe and either a 90 or a 45 degree fitting. Watch the video and you will see how it works.
I have used this trap in my back yard to keep the field mouse population down. There is no maintenance and no need to check except to empty out the tray at the bottom.
When is the right time to use poisons? If you are having a problem with wasps and/or yellow jackets you might want to try DIY pest control by going the chemical route. Those social insects could build a significant size nest but the contents within the comb are different from those of the honeybee. Although wasps and yellow jackets do feed on nectar, wasps' main food source coming into the nest is usually "other insects". Honeybees on the other hand feed strictly on pollen and honey which they store in large quantities to expand their colony and to survive the winter months.
If you plan to exterminate the honeybee colony by plugging up the entrance hole or spraying some type of poison your problems have just begun! All those dead bees, left-over brood, honey, wax and pollen have just become the food source for other critters. We are not talking 100's but 1,000's of bees!!!!!!!
If you have sprayed some poison at the entrance to the colony as a DIY pest control measure you have just disturbed the bees, put them in a protective mode and have now decided to search for another exit point. This is when you start finding bees flying around inside your home.
That previously unnoticed small wall gap where the TV antenna enters the living room or that hanging light on your ceiling usually has holes large enough to allow bees to slip through.
Once you kill the bees you destroy the defense of the hive and it now becomes a target zone for scavengers. Mice and other insects will be attracted by the smell and will begin to feast on the eggs, brood and honey. Wax moths will take over the comb and create an ugly entanglement of fibers and feces. Also, if you decide to exterminate the colony during a time of hot weather, you might find stains forming on your walls and ceilings. The reason for this is that while the bees are alive they maintain a constant hive temperature of around 93 degrees Fahrenheit. They do this by fanning the nest, thus creating a flow of air that regulates the temperature and moisture content within the nest.
No Bees = No Fanning = Wax/Honey Melting = Dripping on Ceilings = Stains!
Sometimes people think that they can take care of a bird, bee or animal problem on their own. They don't realize that there are special techniques and tools that are used during such a process. The homeowner might go ahead and purchase an animal friendly "catch'em-live" mouse trap only to find out that the pests won't go into the trap. If the homeowner does manage to get the animal into the trap the next phase is to properly dispose of the pest. Disposing of the animal is not as simple as one might think. First of all, in Massachusetts it is illegal to relocate an animal and a violation of this law usually carries a fine. The trapped animal must either be released on the same property where it was caught or it must be euthanized in a humane manner.
In order to have success in maintaining a critter free place one must first extricate the animals and then follow a routine schedule of preventive maintenance. You can try DIY pest control or you can hire the services of Bees, Bats and Beyond to take care of these problems for you.
Another problem is that many birds and animals could either be internally infected with a disease and usually are infested with fleas, mites, ticks and/or other such carriers of transmittable diseases. The improper handling of such pests could become a human health hazard.
For these reasons you should hire a professional with the knowledge and equipment to do such work. Here at Bees, Bats and Beyond you will find the right service professional for your pest control needs.
Some time ago I received a call to do a bee removal from a four story building. Several weeks prior to the call the owner noticed that there were honey bees flying into the roof-line of his home. In a attempt to kill the bees himself he decided to opened up the interior ceiling at an assumed location near the bee access point. After opening up a section of ceiling he realized that he could not access the bee nest due to obstructions from roof rafters. He gave up on the attempt after he noticed that the bees were now invading his bedroom. Several days later I was contacted to remedy the problem. These pictures showe the results:
When it comes to bees, all they need is a 1/4 " gap to make their way through an obstruction. The depth of the dead and dying bees on these steps is approximately 2" thick in the center of the piles.
Another view looking up into the bedroom
Looking down from the bedroom.
Notice the "bearding" going on around the window sill.
Before I could begin any work with the honey bee removal I had to spend several hours vacuuming all the bees from within the bedroom. I estimate that approximately 40,000 bees lay dead or dying on the bedroom floor, stairs, windows and walls. This bee colony was the size of an average working bee hive. Needless to say, after accessing the ceiling nest area I found no honeybee queen and very few bees on the brood and combs. This lead me to believe that due to the reduction in bee population and the lack of food returning to the nest the queen decided to abscond with the remaining bees and honey. In conclusion, "bees or no bees", the nest had to be removed and the structure sealed to prevent any future pest infestation.