How Does A Glue Trap Work?


A glue trap works by gluing the rat or mouse to the trap. But why would a rodent get caught? Here’s a brief section on the science of glue trap-ology. By the time you finish this short section, you will know as much as the experts know.

You’ll know where the rodents live by the accumulation of their feces and urine, and by the damage they do. Both mice and rats will patrol their entire territory every day. Knowledgeable pest control professionals will do their best to place a glue trap in a rodent runway, which they (or you) identify by a trail of droppings, cones of dried urine, or urine trails you can see with a black light. Mice and rats, however, approach glue traps differently.

Mice like to explore. Rats are more cautious. Mice are curious about new objects in their space. They are always looking for a new hole in which they could hide.

Rats are reticent to check out new objects in their runways. If they sense anything new, not just a glue trap, unless if it is clearly rat-related, they will try to avoid it. Encountering a glue trap, rats will attempt to run around it. They will attempt to move it. They will attempt a long jump over it—which is the reason rats are often caught in glue traps by their hind legs. The exception to this rule occurs when there is already another rat caught in the glue trap. The presence of the rat masks the scent of the glue. The presence of a rat from its nest gives the rat a signal that it is safe territory. If a strange rodent has become trapped on the tray, the mouse may attack it, charging onto the tray to protect its family. Either way, the free rat may charge ahead only to get stuck in the glue with the first rat, usually covering both of them with adhesive.

Both mice and rats feel the path ahead of them with their whiskers or, as biologists refer to these specialized hairs, their vibrissal apparatus. Rodents also have sensory hairs on their underbellies. They don’t see very well, so they find their way around by smell and by using these hairs. That’s why they leave trails of urine, feces, body grease, and pheromones, and they like to keep their stomachs in contact with the floor and their facial whiskers in contact with a wall.

Both mice and rats will remember where they have encountered a glue trap and alter their course before they run into it again. You can simply move the trap a few inches away from where you placed it the first night (with gloved hands, so you don’t transfer your scent to the trap) and maybe, just maybe, it will run right into the trap.


Simon Mann is a "handy man" to have around the house. Although he was a trained carpenter he went on to become a VP of a construction company. Any pest or DIY problem you may have, he always seems to come up with the right solution.

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