Many who have struggled long and hard to rid themselves of their mice in other ways, upon trying a bucket mouse trap, have finally been successful.
There are nearly endless types of mouse traps out there, and you can use a host of strategies to deter, block out, or kill invasive rodents. And we don’t want to say that those other methods don’t have their place – a multi-pronged offensive is always best.
But the bucket mouse trap is one of the most effective methods you can use. And it’s straightforward to make. As you read this, you probably have all of the tools and parts for it at your house right now, and construction would take only minutes.
Read on to learn more about why you should use a bucket trap and how to build one!
The Effectiveness of 5-Gallon Bucket Mouse Traps
Maybe you feel like your household mice have escaped your trapping efforts and demonstrated such great skill at evasion and survival that they deserve a permanent plaque or recognition. Try using a bucket mouse trap; you can change how the story ends.
Bucket style mouse traps are the number one most effective homemade mouse trap in existence. They almost always work and keep working effectively for weeks and months.
It’s true there are many variables that affect where mouse dare venture and whether or not they can be teased into tripping a trap, and so we can’t quite give a 100% guarantee. But those limitations apply to any trap, and you can always experiment with bait, location, and other set-up variations until you start catching mice.
The fact is, bucket traps are among the most effective of all mouse traps, both DIY and store-bought included in that assessment.
And besides doing a great job at trapping mice, other benefits of this kind of trap include:
- Cheap, fast, and easy to construct.
- Highly portable so you can relocate to new “mousing spots.”
- No need to reset the trap after each catch.
- Can kill mice or hold them for release, as desired.
Traps in Action
A bucket trap may or may not be the best humane mouse trap. It all depends on how you use it. But it is a highly effective one that’s easy to make and use.
But how does the mouse-catching process work with bucket mouse traps?
Here is a step by step scenario to illustrate:
- Your mouse smells the delicious aroma of peanut butter wafting through the house and follows its nose to the bucket trap.
- The mouse “walks the plank” out on a small, flat piece of wood.
- The mouse tries to get the peanut butter spread all over a pop can suspended on a hanger wire over the middle of the bucket.
- Mousy finally gets brave and tries to jump onto the can, but it turns and drops him (splash!) into the water at the bucket trap’s bottom.
- The mouse drowns in the water. You find it the next morning and dispose of the body.
5-Gallon Mouse Bucket Trap Plans
There are almost endless bucket mouse trap plans, nearly all made entirely from household items.
These plans come down to two main groups, however. Some of them have the mouse walk out on a board that drops like a seesaw from the animal’s weight. The other variety will entice the mouse to jump onto a can, then spin and throw it into the bucket.
And don’t be afraid to “get creative” and make your own bucket mouse trap plans. Take measurements, and write a rudimentary “blueprint” of your “better mouse trap.” Combine elements of different models or think up something new.
Catching Mice in a Bucket of Water
You can use virtually any bucket and H2O to catch and kill mice. It’s not complicated. But there are certainly those who object to destroying their mice by drowning – for them, consider a “dry catch” approach (see the lidded bucket trap model mentioned later in this article!)
Why do you need water in the bottom of your bucket mouse trap OR a top lid? The answer may surprise you: mice can jump as high as 12 inches, meaning they may be able to jump clear out of the bucket (and some have reported this happening.) And they’ve also been known to climb around 12 inches, even up smooth, vertical walls like those on the side of a bucket.
But to kill mice with a bucket of water, you bait your bucket trap with peanut butter, cream cheese, jelly, or anything else that attracts mice and let it do its work.
Placement is critical, too. Plant the trap wherever you’ve seen or heard mice or noticed their urine trails, feces, or where they chewed on your stored food. Please don’t use a lightweight bucket that will tip over easily or place the trap in busy walking zones.
And you only need maybe three or four inches of water to do the job – mice drown in shallow water.
5-Gallon Bucket Mouse Trap Ideas
We’ve mentioned that there are numerous ideas out there on how to build a bucket mouse trap. Since there are hundreds of them, we can’t list them all here.
But here are a number of the most critical variations to consider incorporating into your trap:
- Use antifreeze instead of water in the pail. It keeps the dead mice from smelling or decomposing quickly plus prevents the liquid from freezing. But it’s dangerous if kids or pets are around and probably isn’t necessary unless leaving a trap at a vacation home while away or in a barn or something.
- Make a “dry trap” with a lid. Cut a hole in the side of the bucket, and place a walking plank that goes up to the hole and then straight a few inches. You just put the spinning PB can in the middle of the bucket instead of near the top.
- Use multiple planks to catch more mice. It works no matter which plank you use: stationary or seesaw version.
- Use a square bucket so that it won’t tip over easily and so you can mount it easier. It is often the kind of trap used in chicken coops, where mice always steal those expensive chicken feed pellets. And chickens eat mice – so you’ll be collecting food for your fowls, in this case, simultaneously!
- Use a store-bought “mouse roller” instead of making your own from a pop can and hanger. Be sure it fits a standard-sized 5-gallon bucket, though, since they’re not always the right size.
Finally, note that if you are after rats instead of mice, you’ll need a 55-gallon drum and six inches of water instead of a 5-gallon bucket and only three inches.
How to Make the Bucket Trap for Mice: DIY Instructions
We’ve all experienced store-bought mouse traps not working and quickly blamed the designer or manufacturer. Here’s your chance to build a trap, so you know it’s done right!
The process is relatively simple, but it does involve a few steps.
Here is a DIY guide to building your very own bucket mouse trap:
- Get a standard 5-gallon bucket and drill two holes. You want a drill and drill bit that makes a hole slightly bigger than the width of a metal hanger. You want one hole on each side of the bucket.
- Grab an empty aluminum pop can and drill a hole in each end. Use the same bit as you used with the bucket.
- Use snips to cut off a wire hanger’s long, straight bottom section.
- Insert the wire through one bucket hole, through the pop can, and then through the other bucket hole. Bend the wire ends on the outside of the bucket to hold it in place, and move the can to the center of the bucket.
- Spread peanut butter over the pop can evenly so it won’t be weighted to stay on a particular side.
- Take a yardstick and cut off a six-inch piece. Super-glue the cut-off piece to the bucket’s edge. Then lay the remaining yardstick from floor to cut-off piece to form a mouse entry ramp.
- Fill the bottom of the bucket with three inches of water. Wait for mice to go swimming.
It’s not hard to make a bucket mouse trap, as you can see, and remember, adjust and customize your trap in any way you think will work better.
Bucket mouse traps are not, of course, the only mouse traps out there that work. But they are among the most effective mouse trap models and cost you nothing to build and use.
You can make as many of these traps as you like and place them in all your “mouse trouble spots.” You don’t have to check them every day, and you don’t have to reset the trap. Just set it up and let it do its magic!