a Better Mouse Trap
I hate dem meeses, to
attributed to a favorite cat of long-ago
Saturday morning cartoon fame.
cat has nothing on John Frentz.
record on catching mice stands unparalleled and unchallenged –– 15
in two days –– because he knows the secret.
the weather being so unstable lately, fairly hot during the day and
cool in the evenings, a lot of Royal Oak residents are finding they
have a few more residents in their homes than they anticipated.
a matter of fact, as of Thursday, Frentz and Sons had sold out of rat
traps. Kind of makes you wonder what’s going on.
seriously, Royal Oak does seem to have a rodent problem.
Franco, who used to own Michigan’s largest public relations agency,
was fond of saying squirrels are just rats with good PR.
that doesn’t mean residents are ready to adopt new family members.
doesn’t want to be in the same state with a mouse,” John says of
his wife. “And she has a sixth sense for them. She can hear them
skittering across the kitchen two rooms over from where we’re
sitting. She’s never wrong.”
why John has had to hone his skills for lightning strikes against the
small gray antagonists who occasionally plague his house, which like
many others in our neighborhoods, has been around for a few years.
John’s home was built in 1926.
why you have to pay attention to doors and small, small holes in walls
you might ordinarily ignore,” John says. Check the weather stripping
on the base of a door –– if it’s even a quarter of an inch off,
that’s enough for a mouse to squeeze in.
are holes the same size that may have been drilled through your walls
to install telephone, cable or other utility wires. “We’ve got a
putty you can plug those holes with, but Shelley swears by steel wool.
Stuff that in those holes, and they can’t chew through it.”
if they’re already inside?
getting into the different types of traps, let’s talk poisons.
Frentz and Sons carries rat and mouse poisons, but John isn’t a fan
of them. The idea is that the mouse will eat the poison, which is slow
acting, and then take a leisurely walk outside, not to return.
John fed poison to one mouse who apparently hadn’t read the script
and instead of going outside, curled up and died behind his kitchen
cupboards. He had to tear them all out to get to the mouse, because
the smell was so bad. Another reason to think twice about poisons is
if you live in a household with any children or pets.
live trap is just a small wire cage with a trap door barely held up by
a trip wire. It’s a one-way door, but the mouse will not be hurt and
can be released, thus making the trap reusable, too.
on the other hand, you don’t exactly stay up nights worrying about
the health of your uninvited guests, and you don’t want to even see
them once they’re in the trap, Frentz and Sons carries two
solutions. Both are similar; one, for example, is made by d-Con and
looks just like a small plastic box. When the door is closed, it means
the mouse is inside and heading toward the bright white light to see
his friends and relatives.
there’s the JT Eaton Mouse Glue Trap. No springs, poisons or snaps.
It’s a pre-baited tray covered with a sticky glue that the mouse can
get out of. Just realize the mouse will still be alive when its time
to dispose of the trap.
John says while the type of trap matters, the way it’s baited
matters more. After years of trial and error, he’s developed a
method using his preferred weapon –– the plain old wooden mouse
trap –– to the point where accuracy is a foregone conclusion. But
you have to do it just right.
The John Frentz Way to
Set a Trap
click on the photo for a larger image
not the trap, it’s how you set it. You need a hair trigger so that
when they breath on it, whammo. Otherwise, they dance on it with their
friends, have a little lunch, and leave.”
all of the following on a flat surface, and use peanut butter for
bait. Put the bait on the trap, pushing down into the holes so they
have to work to get it out,
pull the bar back and hold it with at least two fingers. Now, you’re
going to place the trip bar.
says most people put the edge of the trip bar too far into the trip plate
that holds the bait. That makes the trip plate too secure –– you
want it to go off if you drop a whisker on it.
don’t try to set that hair trigger with your hands. These traps
use a pen or a small screwdriver. So after you’ve set the trip bar,
gently and with a very light touch, press down with the pen on
the bait plate.
goal is not to trigger the trap, but just to bring it as close to
snapping as possible.