What’s something you do every day that is so natural you barely know you’re involved in the activity? For me, it’s opening and closing the refrigerator door a thousand times a day. Not because I’m hungry. It’s more about boredom. This behavior started as a kid to annoy my mom. I still wonder, “Does the light really shut off when I close the door?”

Over the years, I’ve developed a muscle memory towards this behavior. I do it….just because. No rhyme or reason.


Rodents have a muscle memory, too. When it comes to their chosen path of travel, they choose one that is safe and familiar. I have seen mice run so fast that they actually hop over a multi catch trap…and keep going like the cartoon character Speedy Gonzales. It’s hard to know what, or who, is chasing them.

Mice use that learned behavior to duck into safe places, too. Well, a place they think is safe. Like Jerry trying to get away from Tom, mice will turn a corner at high speed and find the nearest opening to get out of harm’s way. Their beady little eyes will eventually look out to make sure the coast is clear.

While Sylvester James Pussycat, Sr. and Thomas The Cat never really caught their nemesis, we as pest control professionals have many tricks up our sleeves that help us be effective. We don’t work in a cartoon world, but the work can be just as amusing.


Over the years, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to be effective at trapping and catching an elusive mouse. It can be a challenge, but patience is key. The easiest part of this task is making sure you have all the right tools and equipment needed.

If you’ve got any amount of tenure in pest management, I’m sure you have favorite brands and types of products to use. It really doesn’t matter what company’s products are used. It matters HOW you use them. It matters that the equipment is fully functional. It matters that you have the right bait – toxic or not. I matters that you are monitoring these devices regularly.


In my course of trials and errors, mice rarely went for the trap where cheese was used as bait. I’ve had better luck with cotton balls soaked in vanilla or chocolate syrup. I have tried other items like beef jerky, slightly chewed gum, jelly, grains, plastic wrap, and paper.

Do you wanna know what worked the best for me? A little bit of flour mixed with mineral oil. Yep, that’s right, part of the mixture to make a basic cookie recipe. Move over cheese, cookies are taking your place. Now, to decide….chocolate chip or oatmeal?

Published by Melisa Arnold, A.C.E.

My career in pest management began while working in a flour mill as the “in-house” technician in 2008. I am certified in multiple states. I began working full time as a fumigation-pest control tech in 2010. I achieved my Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) in 2018. I have a Master Tech certification from Kansas State University/Kansas Pest Control Association. I hold a Bat Management certification from NWCOA. Every day, I realize how much I DON’T KNOW. My goal for this blog is to share my every day experiences from the field and to make us all think outside the box for solutions to make pest control make sense.

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