Building a Better Mouse Trap: The Five-Gallon Bucket Method

4 February 2016
 Categories: , Articles

There are plenty of ways to get rid of mice, but most tactics rely on traps that constantly need resetting or poisons that could bring harm to others. Instead of buying expensive and sometimes unreliable mouse traps or poison bait, you can use some of the materials found throughout your home to build a five-gallon bucket mouse trap. The following explains how and why this trap works as well as how you can create and set up one in your own home.

The Method behind the Madness

The idea behind the five-gallon bucket mouse trap is a simple yet brilliant one. This trap consists of an aluminum soda can suspended on a sturdy wire over the mouth of the bucket. As the mouse climbs on top of the soda can after using a ramp to reach the mouth of the bucket, the can rotates, making the normally agile rodent lose its footing and fall into the bucket. After this, the bucket is tall enough to prevent escape by all but the most talented and acrobatic of mice.

Many people fill the bottom of the bucket with water so that the mouse eventually drowns after falling in the trap. Others use antifreeze—not only does the sweet yet dangerous liquid attract mice, but it also slows down the decomposition process and keeps down unwanted odors.

If the idea of drowning a mouse grosses you out, you can leave the bottom of the bucket dry as a more humane gesture. Just make sure to release your captured quarry as far away from your abode as possible, lest you end up with a repeat appearance.

Getting Started

To build your new mouse trap, you'll need the following:

  • Five-gallon bucket
  • Wire hanger
  • Pair of pliers and wire cutters
  • Empty aluminum soda can
  • Power drill
  • Peanut butter or a similarly sweet and sticky bait
  • A 2 x 4 or branch that can reach from the floor to the top of the bucket

Start by cutting the long, straight portion of the wire hanger away from the rest of the hanger. Position it exactly over the middle of the bucket and make a mark on each end of the bucket underneath the lip. Drill a hole on each side of the bucket where you made your mark.

Next, drill a hole at the bottom of the aluminum soda can. Thread the wire hanger through one end of the bucket and slip the aluminum can over it. Thread the wire hanger through the other end of the bucket and use your pliers to bend both ends of the wire to keep it in place.

Finally, spread a thin layer of peanut butter evenly over the can. Make sure all sides are adequately covered and that one side of the can isn't heavier than the other. Then position the can to one side of the wire so the mouse can reach it from the top of the bucket. If you want to leave your unwanted guests alive, leave the bucket empty. Otherwise, fill the bucket with enough water or antifreeze to drown the mice.

Once you've placed your trap down, you'll need to make a ramp leading to the bait on the bucket. Use the  2 x 4 or a branch for this purpose, making sure it's long enough to let mice get to the trap.

Where to Use Your New Mouse Trap

Depending on how you've set up your mouse trap, you can place it just about anywhere in your home or on your property. Five-gallon bucket mouse traps are best suited for attics, basements, barns or other areas that are usually unoccupied most of the time.

If you're using a dry trap, then there's no limit as to where you can put it. If it's filled with water or antifreeze, however, you'll want to keep it away from pets and small children. Not only is there a potential drowning risk present, but pets and children can be just as easily drawn to the sweet aroma of antifreeze as the rodents you're trying to catch. For more information tips, contact a company like Garrie Pest Control.