Identifying Mice & Rats
FAQ: Rats & Mice
Learn everything from setting traps to bait ingredients.
If you’ve never dealt with a rodent problem before, then it can be quite worrisome and probably a little confusing. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. We’ve taken all of the most common questions we get and answered them right here.
Click on a category to find your answer more quickly.
Rats & Mice
Q: Can mice fit into the Tomcat® Mouse Killer bait stations?
A: Yes, mice can fit into holes as small as a dime.
Q: Where should I place a bait station or a trap?
A: Look for signs of rodent activity—such as feces, urine stains, chew marks, or hair—or listen for scratching or squeaking sounds, particularly at night. Place rodent control products in the locations of highest activity. These locations may include behind stoves or refrigerators and inside cabinets. If you place a trap and do not see activity, move it to a different location. Rodent control products should always be used in locations where kids and pets don't actively play or crawl; however, Tomcat® offers options for baits and traps to meet your individual needs and preferences (including resistance to dogs and children).
Q: How much rodent bait do I need?
A: Each package is carefully labeled in accordance with strict guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Consult the package for specific usage information. Each 1-oz. bait block in our Tomcat® Mouse Killer products will kill up to 12 mice*. Keep in mind that mice and rats reproduce quickly, so a problem left untreated can turn into a major problem. For larger issues, place bait stations in multiple locations to ensure you stop the problem before it grows.
*based on no-choice laboratory testing
Q: What's the best way to use rodent bait?
A: Bait blocks should always be secured in a bait station. Tomcat® sells both pre-loaded, disposable bait stations and refillable bait stations packaged with additional bait blocks. You should begin baiting as soon as you detect a problem. Put bait stations in areas where you notice or suspect rodent activity, to make them easier for rodents to find. Mice tend to travel only 10 to 30 feet from their nest, while a rat's home range is 100 to 150 feet. Be sure to keep the bait fresh and dry, and dispose of any old or contaminated bait. Each mouse only needs to consume a small portion of the bait block to become ill and die, so while you may not see a great deal of evidence that it is being consumed, it is working. As with any rodent control product, always follow the DIRECTIONS FOR USE on the package. The safest way to use any rodent control product is to place it in areas inaccessible to children and dogs.
Q: Are rodent baits regulated in any way?
A: Yes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) closely controls the registration and sale of these products. All products registered must meet specific guidelines for effectiveness, fitness for use, and safety. Even the wording on the exterior of every package is closely controlled. State agencies work in concert with the EPA to monitor products for compliance.
Q: What active ingredients are used in Tomcat® bait products?
Q: Are there baits (poisons) available that will make rodents go outside looking for water?
A: Eating bait will not change a rodent's "normal" water requirements. It is a myth that rodents will seek water outdoors after eating bait and then die outdoors. There is adequate water in your home to meet all rodent needs. If water weren't available, rodents wouldn't live there.
Q: Are there poisons (baits) available where rodents won't smell when they die?
A: NO. Regardless of the bait used, a natural decomposition process always takes place with a distinctive odor.
Q: How do I set a Tomcat® Wooden Mouse Trap?
A: Set the trap by pulling the U-shaped bar to the opposite end of the trap and insert the curved end of the pin into the raised end slot of the trigger. The yellow trigger has an "S" and "F"; place the pin closest to the side of the trigger with the "S" for sensitive trigger reaction.
Q: Should I bait my Tomcat® Mechanical Traps?
A: Many of the Tomcat® mechanical traps feature a bait cup that lets you bait the trap with an attractant. Similarly, an attractant can be used on the triggers of those that do not have a bait cup like Tomcat® Wooden Rat and Mouse Traps. Attractants, such as Tomcat® Mouse Attractant Gel, improve rodent captures. Because rats are neophobic (afraid of new things), they may initially be reluctant to run through the trap. Baiting with an attractant may help entice them into the trap.
Q: Should I put bait on my Tomcat® Glue Trap to improve chances of capturing a rat?
A: No. Tomcat® glue traps already include a scent that acts as a natural attractant. Adding other products may actually inhibit a trap's effectiveness.
Q: How do I get the release paper off my Tomcat® Glue Board?
A: Grip the release paper in one corner and "zip" it off in one smooth, continuous motion (like removing an adhesive bandage.) The paper will come right off.
Q: How do I remove Tomcat® glue from unwanted surfaces?
A: To remove the glue tray from a surface, slowly and carefully pull the tray away from the surface it is adhered to. Most of the glue should stay in the trap.
To remove any residual glue, follow these tips based on the surface type:
- Remove glue residue from dogs, people, and most other surfaces: Dab a bit of vegetable oil or smooth peanut butter on the glue and let it sit for several minutes. Next, with a dry cloth, rub the area to remove the glue. Repeat as needed, then wash with water and a mild detergent or soap.
- Remove glue residue from carpet and upholstery: Follow the procedure above, but it may be necessary to contact a professional carpet or upholstery cleaner.
- Remove glue residue from clothing: Follow the procedure above or you can place the article of clothing in the freezer. When the glue is frozen, peel it off the clothing.
- Remove glue residue from floors and other non-porous surfaces: The quickest and most effective method for removing glue residue is with mineral spirits, such as turpentine or paint thinner, or with a limonene product, such as Goo-B-Gone. Dab it on the glue and let sit for several minutes. Use a dry cloth to rub over the glue area. Repeat as needed and then wash with soap and water.
Note: With any surface, select a cleaning method that will not discolor or damage the surface. If in doubt, test on a non-exposed area, or consult a professional cleaning service. For additional information on using glue traps, see How to Use Glue Traps.
Q: How can I keep rodent baits away from my dogs?
A: Tomcat® has bait stations that are Child & Dog Resistant. They have been proven resistant to tampering by children and dogs. However, as with all poisons, care should be taken to keep them away from children, pets, and wildlife. All bait refills should be stored in areas that dogs and kids cannot access.
Q: If my dog eats the rodent bait, could it die?
A: The risk to your pet depends on what type of pet it is, how big it is, what type of bait it has consumed, as well as how much bait was consumed. If a situation occurs, immediately call the poison control number located on the package (1-877-854-2494) and a specially trained individual will assist in your next steps.
Q: If my dog eats a dead poisoned rodent, will it die?
A: The potential of any secondary poisoning depends on most of the same factors indicated above. Call the poison control number on your product package (1-877-854-2494) if you are concerned about a possible exposure. Occurrences of this type of poisoning are extremely rare.
Q: Who should I call in case of an emergency?
A: If an emergency situation occurs, immediately call the poison control number located on the package (1-877-854-2494) and a specially trained individual will assist in your next steps. This telephone number is also listed on the packaging of Tomcat® baits.
Rats & Mice
Q: How much do rats and mice eat per day?
A: Rats eat approximately 1 oz. of food, and mice eat 1/10 oz.
Q: How far do rats and mice venture from their nest?
A: Norway rats generally travel up to 100 feet from their nest to their food source. Roof rats have a wider range, up to 300 feet. The house mouse stays close to its nest, usually traveling only 30 feet or so to its food source.
Q: How small of an opening can rats and mice fit through?
A: Rats can squeeze through a hole about the size of a quarter while mice can fit through a hole smaller than a dime.
Q: Where can I purchase Tomcat® rodent control products?
A: Tomcat® rodent control products are available at a wide variety of retail stores across the United States. More retailers are being added everyday. Products can also be purchased directly from the product pages on the Tomcat® website. You can also click on Contact Us for options for further help.
Q: Where can I get additional information not included here?
A: For answers to questions not covered here, please visit the Help Center (see below) and choose your preferred method to ask your question. A qualified representative will assist you.