Will a Mouse Trap Still Work if I Touch It with Bare Hands?

Mousetraps are a straightforward, effective way to eliminate mice in a property. But homeowners who are dealing with these rodents for the first time are often clueless using mouse traps, resulting in mistakes that decrease its effectiveness – like touching the trap with bare hands.

So will a mouse trap still work if I touch it with bare hands? Setting the mouse trap without rubber gloves makes it less effective because you might leave your scent, mask the smell of bait, or accidentally trigger the trap. Leaving your scent makes mice more wary of human presence and become more vigilant when you’re around, while triggering the mechanism of a trap, especially if done quite a lot, can get the mice used to it and dodge it the next time you use it. 

Why You Shouldn’t Touch a Mouse Trap with Bare Hands

Mice are shy creatures that invade homes in search of food, water, and warmth – but don’t let their size and appearance fool you. These filthy critters are a problem for millions of American households every year. According to the United States Census Bureau, about 14.8 million homeowners spotted rodents on their property in 2020.

There are different ways to get rid of these pests, but mouse traps are the most commonly used method. They work well in catching mice, but there are a few mistakes that make them less effective, such as installing them with bare hands – and here are a few reasons why: 

1. You Might Leave Your Scent

Mice have an incredible sense of smell that allows them to find food sources and escape from predators. These smart critters can tell if a human because of the smell they leave. Touching the mouse trap with bare hands isn’t a good idea because of 2 things – they won’t go near the trap because it’s unfamiliar to them and it has the scent of a predator.  

Mice are extremely responsive to the scent produced by different predators – whether it's fur, urine, blood, or sweat. When mice smell predators like cats and humans, their brain releases a surge of stress hormones that causes them to “hyper-prepare” and escape as quickly as they can.

When you touch a mouse trap with bare hands, there’s a huge chance that some of the sweat from your hands will cling to the trap. Make sure to use disposable gloves when placing mouse traps to avoid scaring off the rodents. 

2. Your Scent Masks the Smell of Bait or Other Mice

The bait is an important part of the mouse trap because it’s what lures the rodents out of hiding. Sweet foods with a strong smell attract them, but be careful when placing the bait because human scent might overpower the food bait. Leaving human scent might not completely scare off some mice, but it definitely reduces the effectiveness of the bait and mouse trap. 

How Mice Use Their Noses to Find Food

Mice have terrible eyesight, which is why they use their noses and whiskers to hunt for a food source and escape from danger. When they’re placed in a new environment, they start running around and sniffing everything to familiarize themselves.

These rodents look for sweet and protein-rich food scraps to survive. They’re usually attracted to sweet scents like vanilla and pumpkin. However, their incredible noses might also be used against them – homeowners who don’t like using traps usually turn to natural repellents to drive mice off their property.

Scents like peppermint, cloves, vinegar, mint, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon irritate their nasal passages, which causes them to avoid certain areas around the house.

Best Food Baits with Strong Smell

Mice are opportunistics feeder that eat a wide range of different food, but here are some of the most effective types of bait to try:

  • Peanut Butter – Mice love eating nuts and seeds, which is why peanut butter is a great bait choice. Its nutty smell lures mice out of hiding and its sticky consistency makes it difficult for them to eat the bait without triggering the trap.
  • Chocolate Spread – Mice also like sweet things, which makes chocolate one of the top choices for a mouse bait. While many kinds of chocolate attract mice, it’s best to use chocolate or hazelnut spread because of its stickiness. The consistency of the bait increases the chances of catching mice.
  • Pet Food  – This type of bait also attracts mice because it has all the nutrients that rodents need to survive. Just make sure to wet the dry foods when using them as mouse bait to prevent mice from eating them without triggering the trap mechanism.

Will the Scent of Dead Mice Repel Live Mice?

The scent of a mouse (from their droppings or urine) around the trap might be attractive to other mice because it tells them that another mouse has been in the same path. It makes the area a bit more familiar and trustworthy for them.

But the stench of dead rodents is a different story – if a mouse knows that other mice have been killed in a specific area, it knows that death only awaits there. It causes them to avoid the trap. If a dead mouse is left in the trap for more than a day, their stench becomes strong enough to warn and repel other mice. Make sure to dispose of the mouse carcass properly as soon you see it. 

3. You Might Accidentally Set Off the Trap

Snap traps are the traditional way of catching mice. It uses a snapping force enough to kill a juvenile mouse on the spot. Some of them even come with serrated edges that are highly effective in eliminating the pesky rodents in the house.

Aside from leaving human scent on the trap, another important reason why homeowners should wear gloves is to prevent accidentally setting off the trap. Bare hands are more slippery than rubber or latex gloves. Without disposable gloves, you only increase your chances of accidentally triggering the trap.

Even if you manage to accidentally set off the trap with gloves on, the material softens the blow and protects the skin from tears. The metal bar or serrated snap won’t have direct contact with your skin or blood, preventing you from getting contaminated with the leftover mouse blood, urine, or fur in the used trap. 

Will a Mouse Trap Break Your Finger?

The good news is that the snapping force of a snap trap won’t be enough to break the finger bone of an adult. However, small children and pets who set off the trap might experience severe injury.

Most of the time, an adult finger stuck in the trap only experiences severe pain, bruising, and pinched nerves. But a snap trap made for rats is usually bigger with serrated edges – and they’re enough to break a finger bone if triggered incorrectly. 

Treating the Injured Finger Stuck on the Mouse Trap

  1. Carefully remove the snap trap from the injured finger.
  2. Check for the finger for external wound or bleeding. If there are open wounds, sanitize them with clean water and soap. Call a doctor immediately because there might be a risk of contamination or infection.
  3. If there aren’t open wounds or external bleeding, put an ice pack over the injured finger to reduce bruising and swelling.
  4. Visit a doctor to see if the patient needs to wear a splint or take pain medicine.
  5. Follow the doctor’s advice about exercising or moving the finger. 

How to Reset a Mouse Trap Safely

  1. Before resetting the trap, make sure to put the mouse trap bait on the trigger first. Smear just the right amount to cover the trigger, but make sure that it's as far away from the spring as possible.
  2. Pull the snap wire back with a firm grip.
  3. Carefully put a lock bar under the hook of the trigger. Place a thumb on the snap to prevent it from accidentally shutting.
  4. Slowly release the pressure off the snap wire.
  5. Layout the trap carefully using one end. Make sure that the fingers aren’t touching the snap wire.
  6. Put the trigger and bait part of the trap close to the wall. 

Other Common Trapping Mistakes and What to do About Them

Get rid of rat by using a glue box

Aside from preparing the mouse trap without using plastic gloves, there are also several other mistakes that homeowners make when attempting to catch mice on their own. Here are some common trapping mistakes and how to avoid them:

  • Utilizing the Wrong Mouse Trap – Some mice traps work better than others. If the traditional mouse traps don’t bring in the results you hoped for, then maybe it’s time to try other types of mouse traps. Other types of trap for mice that are accessible and easy to use are live traps (humane traps), sticky glue traps, electronic mouse traps, and bait stations.
  • Not Using Enough Mouse Traps – Placing a dozen traps about 2 to 3 feet apart increases the chances of catching these rodents. If the mouse manages to escape the first trap they were nibbling on, they’re likely to get caught on the next trap when they run or flinch.
  • Putting Traps in the Wrong Places – Mindlessly laying out dozens of a single type of trap around the house only costs you money. Check for the different signs of rodent activity first before deciding on the trap placement. Some of the common indicators of rodent activity are mouse dropping, mouse urine, foul smell, gnaw marks, scratch marks, and grease marks along the walls.
  • Not Checking the Traps Frequently – There are two important reasons to check the traps frequently – first is to see if the trap caught a mouse and the second is to refill or replace the bait. A dead mouse repels other mice, which is why it’s important to get rid of them immediately. Replacing the bait is also important because a fresh bait increases the chances of catching the rodents.
  • Using the Wrong Kind of Bait – Some baits also work better than others, which is why homeowners should try using nesting materials (cotton balls, twine, cardboard, or fabric) when food baits aren’t enough to catch mice. Make sure to tie the bait to the trigger or place a few drops of vanilla extract to attract a nesting female mouse and increase the trap’s effectiveness.  

Effective and Long-Term Mice Infestation Solutions by Yale Pest Control

Mouse traps are useful in eliminating a couple of mice in the house, but they’re not enough to solve the rodent problem for good. Get rid of mice and prevent them from returning with IPM-based solutions by Yale Pest Control.

Yale Pest Control is a trusted pest control company in Connecticut with years of experience in removing pests from residential and commercial properties. Know more about our environment-friendly pest and insect infestation control methods and call us at (800) 750 – 9253.