Mice and rats have caused a lot of damage over the years. From helping spread the Bubonic Plague throughout Medieval Europe to outbreaks of leptospirosis in developing nations in the modern-day world, it is clear that mice and rats are not welcome visitors in our homes. The warmth and comfort of modern-day homes make for an ideal nesting and breeding spot for all different types of rodents. Choosing between a cold, wet nest outdoors in the dead of winter and a warm, snug spot inside the wall of a centrally heated home with plenty of food around is a no-brainer for mice. This is why they spend so much time and energy searching for even the smallest crack in your home foundation to make their way into your home.
Having a rodent problem is not only dangerous for your health and for the health of your family and pets, it is also a direct assault on both your family budget and your property value. But, above all, having a mouse infestation is annoying. Mice can nibble through almost anything and can leave your home in a very sorry state. They are also quite intelligent knowing when to avoid poison and various high-tech traps.
If you are having a mouse problem, sometimes the best was to tackle that issue is to go simple. A mouse bucket is such a simple design that most people don’t even include it in a possible solution, thinking it a joke, but it is, in fact, one of the best ways to deal with the mice that are infesting your home and yard.
While the trap itself is simple, it has a couple of requirements that you need to do before you start. The bucket trap needs to be the best option for mice to find food, meaning that you would need to deal with prevention, securing your home and making any place aside from the bucket an inhospitable place for mice.
To keep mice from entering your home, it is important to consider prevention strategies from both a cultural and mechanical standpoint. From a cultural standpoint, the less enticing your home environment is for a mouse, the fewer reasons they will have to enter or stay in your home. Houses with few food sources will cause mice to often abandon the home on their own in search of other food.
However, homes that offer mice several food sources both inside and around their homes, act as a magnet that naturally draws mice toward the home. Bird feeders placed close to the home are known to draw mice as they feast on the seeds that fall below. Once colder weather sets in, the mice will naturally gravitate toward your home in search of other food sources.
Inside your home, a dirty kitchen is one of the best ways to keep mice happy. Crumbs, dirty dishes, and food left on the counter or in unsealed cabinets are easy targets for hungry mice. Even your dog or cat food left out at night will attract mice and rats.
Cultural prevention then is focused on keeping your home clear of food sources for mice. This means cleaning up after meals, locating bird feeders a good distance from your home, cleaning up spills, and investing in cabinets and pantries that will completely seal shut when closed.
Mechanical prevention, on the other hand, is more focused on the entry points into your home. Most homes have several entry points where mice can enter. Remember, a mouse can squeeze through a hole that is not bigger than a dime, so even the smallest openings pose a threat for rodent infestation.
Cracks in foundations and in any joints are easy entry points for mice. Furthermore, piping, wiring, and hose chases that aren´t sealed tight with caulking will also slowly pull away from the wall and lead to small openings where mice can fit through.
Cracks and open airflows in your home will affect your home´s energy efficiency, increase the price of your heating and cooling bill while also allowing mice and rats to get into your home. Regular checkups and maintenance around the exterior of your home will help you to identify entry points and take the proper mechanical preventative measures.
What is a Mouse Bucket Trap?
Once your home is secure, and you are sure that there is not an easier food source elsewhere, you can place your bucket traps and catch any mice that decided to stay in your home.
A bucket trap is quite simple, featuring a ramp, a rolling log, and the bucket where the mice will fall in. Some new designs also include a plank, which is a good option when you don’t want to use too much space, and it looks like something from a pirate movie, but for rodents.
The idea is to place a ramp on a bucket so that the mice can climb up to the roller which is placed in the bucket, and to place a small piece of bait on the roller. Once the mouse gets up to the bait, the roller will turn and the mouse will fall into the bucket, unable to climb back up.
This trap will not kill the rodent unless you place enough water in it, and it is up to you to see this either as a good thing or a bad thing. If you decide not to kill the mouse, be sure to dispose of it far away, or to call your local animal control institution to inquire about the best place to get rid of the vermin. If you do decide to kill the rodent, make sure not to touch it with your bare hands and to seal the remains in a plastic bag before you throw them away.
Best Mouse Bucket Traps
Even though the idea is quite simple, and it is not like there is a patent on making a rolling log, there are some products that are better than the rest. The quality of the material is one of the most important factors, as not all logs will roll and be slippery in the same way.
Also, there is a choice between a wooden and a plastic plank, but when you have a good product this choice has more to do with cosmetics than with the effectiveness of the product.
#1 The Original Rolling Log Mouse Trap
While it is very hard to argue that someone has invented a rolling log, this is considered to be THE original mouse bucket trap log, and it has been proven to work time and time again. The design has quite a nice finish and is very smooth to the touch, making it a perfect surface for mice to slide down from and right into the bucket.
To get the best results, you will need to find a bucket with a 12-inch diameter, which is the regular size of most buckets, but not all. There is only a small leeway on the size of the bucket, and you will need to drill two holes to make the log roll perfectly. The log will work even if only placed on the top of the bucket, but for the best results, it is best to use holes.
- Easy to place
- Easy to clean
- Made in the USA
- Needs some handiwork for best results
- No way to make the log longer for bigger buckets
#2 PLAN LIFE Rolling Mouse Trap
While most people consider the Plan Life’s bucket mouse trap a ‘’runner-up” to the original, this is a good option in its own right and it usually comes with a lower price tag. The log has a nice finish and is very light, making it perfect for even the smallest mice.
The log requires you to drill holes in the bucket and to install it properly on its bearings. Also, it is best to use solid bait on this log, as placing things like peanut butter can stick to the log, making it possible to the mouse to use the bait as the foothold to run away.
- Easy to place
- Easy to clean
- Polished finish
- Needs drilling
- Non-solid bait sticks to the log
#3 RinneTraps Walk The Plank Mouse Trap
To be fair, with this product you will not make the mice walk the plank, as much as you will make them walk the ironing board, but the results are all the same. Place the plank over a bucket with some bait on the end and the ramp for access, once the mouse comes to the bait the magnets will give in and the mouse will fall into the trap.
While the trap is automatically reset it is best to use some sticky bait as to make it alluring for several mice in one night. Also, as rats are much larger and quite smarter than mice, it will not always work on them, as they have a bigger incentive to just push the lightweight trap down and eat the bait on the ground.
- Ramp included
- Easy to use
- Made in the USA
- Magnets can lose their grip
- Not suitable for rats
#4 PLAN LIFE Plank Mouse Trap
Last but not least, this is possibly one of the easiest traps to use from this list. When it arrives, you just place in on a side of the bucket, place some bait on the end, and you are set to go. The ‘’hook and go’’ mechanism is not really a mechanism, but a brilliant design to make the trap usable on any bucket of any size. The trap is also reusable, using both recoil and a magnet to snap back into place once it has caught a mouse.
While the trap has a good finish and it is very smooth and polished, it is still wooden and if not dry it will rot, as wood tends to do.
- Very easy to place
- Easy to clean
- Good finish
- Will rot if not dry