It is certainly important that the public understand how to manage mice given how pervasive they are in the US as well as the significance of the damage that they can cause to human health and safety. Certainly there was much in your article (“Tips for Trapping Mice.” Sept 2014 pp.45-7.) that will benefit readers. Having commented on a previous article, where information was less than technically accurate. I was disappointed that the Family Handyman Magazine didn’t reach out to me for my help with this latest article. You may not know but the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management exists to provide research-based information to the public on handling wildlife complaints. Certainly house mice fall within our purview.
I wanted to point out a few the areas where there were some mistakes that could negatively impact the success of your readers in regards to managing house mice. First, page 46. You mention the need to look for pathways which is certainly correct. However, the photo those presented shows a very poor way of setting and positioning traps. Mice tend to follow edges so the traps should of been set perpendicular to the wall with narrow and on the bait side touching the wall. The Helter-Skelter way they were positioned raises the chance that a mouse would misfire a trap and become educated to it. In addition, the claim about 8 inches jumping is a little too low. Research suggests that it’s actually higher than that closer to 10 inches see my blog https://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com/2011/05/15/house-mice-mus-musculus-jumping-abilities/ for the reference and discussion.
Second, peanut butter is an excellent bait for mice, but given peanut butter allergies among the public and that diversity is important when trying to eliminate a mouse infestation, the article should a provided some alternatives, including the decision not to bait at all in and use blind sets.
Page 47. You mentioned that use of anticoagulants is not painless. I would certainly agree. But in fact some researchers like Dr. Bobby Corrigan of the leading rodent experts in the world believes that rodenticides, such as anticoagulants are actually more humane than using snap traps. Certainly counter-intuitive, but his insight is important.
Also, your suggestion about glue boards was unfortunate. In fact glue boards are not a very effective way of controlling mice. So while you’re correct in terms of their relative cruelty, you could’ve gotten the same point across by noting that they’re not that effective.
Here are some resources that would’ve helped your readers:
- Controlling House Mice http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=66
- Bait Stations for Rodents http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=633
- Controlling House Mice. The Z mag. http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=1575, and
- Rodent Proof Construction http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=23
Again, your article does provide important information useful for the public. I concern is for the technical accuracy of the paper so that it meets the standards you have for your other fine articles. Do let me know how the Internet center for wildlife damage management can assist Handyman Magazine and future issues on wildlife control.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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