How Do Sticky Traps Work?

November 29, 2021 5 min read

rat

 

Sticky traps are one of the more common forms of rat and mouse traps on the market. They're also one of the most controversial, and to many people looking to minimize suffering, a non-starter. It's natural to wonder why sticky traps have such a poor reputation. Let's take a look at how sticky traps work and why is there such a negative reputation surrounding them? 

Basic Functionality 

Sticky traps are also known as glue traps, and you can easily see how the trap works simply by hearing its name. People often assume that there are some complex chemicals at work within a sticky trap, but a sticky trap is essentially just a board with glue or other adhesive on it. The device works as a mouse trap or rat trap by essentially just trapping the rodents in glue so they can't escape. 

Picture a situation where you've discovered rodents in your house. You're obviously eager to take care of the problem. Anyone who knows about rats and mice knows that they can breed extremely quickly. Even a few rodents can give birth to an entire colony in less than a month, and from that point on, they're going to grow at an exponential rate.

With all that in mind, it's natural to feel like you're staring at a ticking clock after that first rodent sighting. You want to take care of things as quickly as possible, so when you're shopping for a solution you might decide to give sticky traps a try. At first glance, they seem to have a lot going for them. Sticky traps are relatively inexpensive and don't require any human supervision. In fact, the labels might even proclaim that you don't have to worry about checking the traps on a regular basis. 

You set the traps down at home and decide to try and relax while they do their thing, and then when you do check the sticky traps you encounter something truly horrific. All of the trapped rodents are resorting to extreme measures to try and avoid starving to death while they're glued to the traps. 

You find rodent limbs ripped off. Clumps of skin and tissue are stuck on the sticky traps. There are dying rodents writhing in agony. There might even be rodents resorting to cannibalism. You could even find some rats and mice eating their own limbs in a fit of frenzied desperation. 

It might sound like something out of a horror movie, but this is just how a sticky trap works. The simple design masks a complex world of suffering, because in the end, a sticky trap really does function by simply catching a rodent in glue. At that point the rat or mouse can't get his paws off the trap. In a best case scenario the rodent will die from a lack of water or food. It's a cruel death to be sure. But as painful as that is, it's still a relief compared to the other ways glue traps kill rodents. 

Some rodents will work so hard to get free that they'll rip the skin and muscle off of themselves. Others will end up gnawing through their own limbs to free themselves. Of course losing a limb isn't something most animals are going to survive. This means that the rodents end up bleeding out while also suffering from the intense pain and stress involved with their amputations. 

jackrabbit

From Mice to Rats and Beyond 

The issues with sticky traps don't end there either. Retailers often use the fact that sticky traps work on both mice and rats as a selling point. And it's true, both mice and rats can get stuck to a sticky trap. However, it's important to consider why that's the case. 

Both rats and mice can be caught by sticky traps because of how undiscriminating glue is. Anything can get caught in glue. Insects are probably among the least worrisome example of other animals that can get caught up in these traps. It's normal for people to find a huge amount of dead insects in their sticky traps. And of course there will also be dust, dirt, hair and other debris alongside those insects. 

The worst part about the trap's cross-species effectiveness comes from larger non-rodents. Any other animals in the periphery of the sticky traps can get caught up in them. This can even include house pets. Smaller pets such as kittens or rabbits are particularly at risk from these traps. 

If all of that sounds unappealing to you then you're not alone. Hardly anyone would be OK causing that much pain to rats and mice. People obviously need to take care of a rodent infestation. And they also need to do so in as fast and efficient a way as possible, but the desire to get rid of the rodents isn't one born from cruelty. It's ultimately about having the best possible life for yourself and for the rodents. 

The best solution would be one that takes care of the problem in a manner that's both efficient and humane. In fact, solutions that can do just that are on the market. But with all that in mind, why are people still using sticky traps? 

Why Do People Still Use Sticky Traps? 

There are a few reasons why people still use sticky traps. The most common reason simply comes down to a lack of experience in pest control. It's quite common for people to simply assume that this level of animal cruelty wouldn't be allowed. This tends to make the discovery of how sticky traps operate especially difficult. 

Other people might use sticky traps out of a mistaken assumption that it's the only option that can work in such a quick and efficient manner. This often comes about by forgetting just how much technology has changed the world over the past few decades. It's true that people spent decades trying to essentially "build a better mousetrap". In fact, sticky traps were part of that initial desire to create something better than the original spring based trap. 

A24 Rat & Mouse Trap

 

However, traps have progressed far beyond that point. Today people can use quick-kill traps that are far more effective than sticky traps. The best modern traps essentially do a better job with all the positive aspects of a sticky trap while at the same time removing all of the sticky trap's negative qualities. 

For example, a fully automated mechanical trap can attract rodents with a lure. Once the rodent is within the trap it will instantly fire. What's more, the trap will even drop the rodent into its base while resetting itself for the next one. This doesn't just create a more efficient solution either. It's also a far kinder solution. 

We've seen that one of the sticky trap's biggest disadvantages comes from its inherent cruelty. Modern automated traps work instantly. A rodent will quite literally be unaware of its end thanks to the trap's efficiency. Modern mechanical systems are essentially a quick-kill rat trap. This is ultimately what you want when taking care of an infestation. 

A quick-kill rat trap also covers another important aspect of pest control. It's important to take care of rodents before they have a chance to grow their colonies. Modern traps aren't just more humane than sticky traps. They can also work far faster when you're trying to take care of a rodent problem before it can grow. Meanwhile, sticky traps become less effective as more rodents are captured. 

Mechanical traps work quickly and are clearly the best, most quick-kill way to deal with rats and mice. But it's only a fast solution if you act as soon as possible to take care of the rodent problem.

 


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The Homeowners Guide To Catching Rats & Mice

Every year, rats and mice enter 20 million U.S. homes uninvited. They reproduce rapidly, and can cost thousands of dollars in damages and extermination costs. They can ruin equipment, spoil food and start fires by chewing on wires.

We’ve trapped millions (seriously, millions) of rats and mice and the knowledge of what it takes to achieve success is highlighted in this guide.

Homehowners Guide to Catching Rats

 



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