Rat on top of container of food
Research report
Updated 26 May 2021

How to get rid of rats and mice

Here's what you need to know about ridding your home of rodents.

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Yolanda S.
05 Jun 2021
for those who want a no kill solution

I had a mouse problem (after the earthquakes here in Christchurch it got pretty bad) and tried every single idea people suggested on Facebook/Google etc on vegan ways of dealing with them (except for getting a cat) to no avail. I did the bucket trap bought every humane trap available but only caught one that way and none the bucket way.
In the end I called a pest control company to come to my house and said I would pay them for a consult if they could tell me what I could do to make my house mice free without killing them. (BTW the good news was that man who came said if you have mice you don't have rats as they don't go together apparently which was a bit of a relief).
Anyway - this was the best investment ever. He was there an hour and a half and took me all over my house, showed me the entry points, (and taught me the signs of a mouse entry point) advised me how to deal with them. It is really important to close off entry points he said so I got a builder in to do that and also packed steel wool myself around some points e.g. the bottom of drains that the builder couldn't do. Basically they come in in all sorts of ways but in my house, it was from drainpipes and into the roof and plumbing.
He advised on the catch and release traps (the best ones are the metal see through cage ones not the ones that you can't see in. He was right as I got one of those and caught a mouse right away) and said best thing to use is condensed milk (I used the vegan one and it worked whereas everything else I had tried before that people said worked did not such as peanut butter etc). Since I caught and released the mice a long way away from my home (and from other houses), I haven't had another mouse come in other than on two occasions we saw mice run in through an open door but they did not stay.
It has been many years now since I have had a mouse problem- the entry points are all sealed and they can’t get in other than through an open door.
I have also bought one of those Pestrol electronic repellers to put off any mouse coming in (though he said they soon get used to them but it might make them think twice about entering the house. However if you already have mice they might not make them move out. Good to get one though to help put new mice off coming to live with you in the future.)
I live by a stream and reserve so my house was quite popular for mice until I sorted it. If you own your house, it is a good investment to have mice control advice tailored to your house so you can take permanent steps to deter them. He said people think all you have to do is get rid of the mice but actually you have to think long term and make your house unattractive to future mice or all you are ever doing is dealing with the problem. What was nice was at no point did I feel judged by him for not wanting to kill the mice and he was really respectful. He said he didn't like that aspect of the job either and would prefer people to make their houses unattractive to mice rather than have to be the one who comes in and kills them.
Hope that helps people who want a kinder solution.

Juliet A.
19 May 2022
Thank you!

Great post

05 Jun 2021
live trap versus snap trap

Some of the rats caught in the live trap have been the monsters which I believe have sprung the jaw type traps and escaped as the traps have evidence that an animal has fought with the trap and got away. The live trap is cruel as I have to dispatch the creature but seems more effective . I have caught 10 rats of different sizes in the week since I purchased the new traps.

05 Jun 2021

Where I live, near a bush reserve, rodents are a continual pest. Six months without a cat and my house would be infested. My current cat caught four in an hour once. With a cat, I never see the rodents, other than the ones caught just prior to being eaten.

Doug M.
05 Jun 2021
Trap versus bait

I recommend using a trap over bait as then at least you have a better idea where they have died. Using bait they can go and die anywhere and if it is in your house you can end up with a bad smell and then need to find out where it is coming from. Hopefully it is not in one of your walls.

The other point to note which may be obvious, even if you use gloves, is to wash and dry your hands thoroughly after touching any trap and/or poison.

I have several mouse traps and the most successful one so far is the 'Times Up One Touch' plastic trap. The wooden Victor trap is good for rats.

Sarah H.
05 Jun 2021
Trap vs Bait

Fully agree about the trap over the bait. Over my 4yo daughter found a dead one in her room and then saw one in its death throes staggering across the kitchen floor, I decided that a trap is more humane and then you definitely know where they die.

05 Jun 2021
Simple Soloution

Get a cat. We have lived in several rodent prone areas including rural areas. Never even seen a rodent.

Llyvonne B.
20 Jul 2019
Not all traps are equal

I have had major problems with mice and found through trial and error that not all traps are good. My preferred trap is the mitre 10 brand number 8 black plastic traps. I have tried other traps and the trigger was not sensitive enough. Nothing worse than seeing mice sitting on the trigger eating the bait with nothing happening. The number 8 brand is trigger sensitive, and I have had really good track record with them. My only gripe is that because they are plastic, the catch that holds the trap open is the weak point.

Malcolm B.
20 Jul 2019
Electronic plug-in pest controllers

These are a waste of money and in my case completely ineffective, even in a small place like a storage shed. Mice and cockroaches continued to thrive. Traps and bait provide far better solutions. Old fashioned mouse traps with a little peanut butter netted me 9 mice in one day - and I didn't even have to replace the bait! Then no more mice for ages.

Paul R.
26 Jan 2019
Zinc Phosphide poison.

I recently worked in a rural area of Queensland where there are mostly grain farms. The manager gave me a bucket of MouseOff to control what I could confidently call a plague of mice around my caravan. I sprinkled a few handfuls where I'd seen activity and within two hours the area was silent...no more sounds of little feet. Looking around confirmed that all mice were stone dead. An astounding result. My sister in Victoria wanted some but it's unavailable there, no doubt due to it's toxicity to non target species. To date, I've not been able to find any here in NZ, nor have I found a product like it for rats.

Previous member
01 Dec 2018
What about the plastic snap traps?

Why didn't you test them?

Consumer staff
05 Dec 2018
Re: What about the plastic snap traps?

Hi John,

For this article, we looked at publicly available research and evidence of different traps’ effectiveness. The research we found for snap traps was for the Victor wooden traps (the plastic ones could very well be as good). The effectiveness and humaneness of a snap trap can depend on what you’re trying to kill (what works for a mouse may not work for a rat) and the strength of the snap bar. How it’s set can also make a difference – for example, if it’s set in a tunnel a rodent will likely hit the trap head on and be killed quickly as intended, but if the trap’s in the open, the animal could come from the side and be caught instead of killed.

Kind regards,

Tessa - Consumer NZ writer

Previous member
17 Sep 2018
Doc 200 traps strike again and again

Hi I was surprised this model wasn't featured. It is great!! Not cheap to buy. It catches stoats, rats and hedgehogs with an egg lure. This is my favourite trap, the next best for rats is the victor price friendly and effective. The good natured traps without counters are not so good and I think you would waste a lot of gas or have them mounted thinking it had gas, but then until I read this article I never knew that the gas canister had a use by date.

Previous member
18 Aug 2018
Plug-In Pest Free has worked wonders for us

Surprised by your article - and wonder if you are mixing up your brands? We've been using the original (Australian) Plug-In Pest Free for years, both in our home and in our business. We notice you failed to mention that the Plug-In Pest Free Pro & Commercial systems both have HACCP International Certification. Rather strange, for an 'investigative' piece? Did you run out of time to gather all of the information you needed for your story? Many members of our family now have the units too, resulting in huge savings in costs for bait. I've spoken to the owner of Pest Free in New Zealand, and she's shared your emails, and further information about their testing, that was accepted by the Australian Federal Court, and the fact that the ACCC dropped their charges against Pest Free. I'm not surprised a company who has the ONLY scientifically tested unit on the market, wasn't in a great rush to send you their legally protected data either.

Paul R.
26 Jan 2019
Consumers need to know.

Consumers should and will, by and large always spend their hard earned on "proven products" to do a certain job. They need that certainty and would rather not gamble on a product that still appears to be floating in a sea of doubt. There are a percentage of the population that will give new tech a red hot go and that's great..some good inevitably comes from that.

Malcolm B.
20 Jul 2019
Electronic plug-in pest controllers

Well I'm glad somebody had some luck. I've tried 3 different types to no avail.

Keith R.
18 Aug 2018

18 rats and mice so far and counting in about 10 months. Hit rate dropping off now which is a good sign. Best trap available in my opinion.

Ewan S.
16 Jul 2019
Good Nature not effective

I have had a Good Nature trap for twelve months and all it has caught is two mice. The counter on it confirms this. Our snap trap in the glass house caught five rats in the past 4 weeks, so I shifted the GoodNature so that the rats had to walk past it before getting to the snap trap. We have caught two more rats since then in the snap trap; they walk past the GoodNature trap. I have renewed the gas and lure, but that has made no difference. GoodNature trap is not working in our situation.

Noel B.
23 Apr 2021

I’ve had Goodnature trap for a year. The counter says 4 kills but no sign that it’s true. Expensive waste of time!

Ritchie S.
13 Aug 2018
Nooski trap

The huge problem with the Nooski rat trap is that a mouse can raid the trap and eat all the bait without triggering the trap, so if you have both rats and mice it will trap neither

07 Aug 2018
Electronic Pest control

I fitted this device in the roofspace of my house in Auckland. It was there for 5 or more years and made absolutely no diffence to rat/mouse intrusion in that area. A TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY!!

05 Aug 2018
Ultrasonic are useless

I tried an ultrasonic one, but the mice took no notice at all, and kept on running around every night.

Previous member
04 Aug 2018
Outdoors b4 they get indoors

We very recently installed the Goodnature outdoors trap... 3 rats in as many weeks so very happy.

Neil B.
04 Aug 2018
Cheaper traps might be better

Last winter we had a mouse making a mess in the house and damaging things. At one point it even nested inside a computer where it must have been nice and warm.

I don't like killing rodents (used to keep rats as pets!), but couldn't have them staying in the house.

I started with the more expensive traps and they were useless. Had a camera watching and the mouse would examine the traps and keep away from them.

In the end I got some cheap plastic sprung loaded 'jaw' snap traps and set a few of those with peanut butter. On the first night and within 2 hours after lights out, the mouse had been killed by one of the traps. The camera showed death as instantaneous.