DIY Five Gallon Bucket Mouse Trap

I’ve loved every second since we moved out of the typical stifling suburban cul-de-sac and into “the country” last year.  Caring for our livestock (Yes Wife, chickens and composting worms are livestock), starting the garden, walking our woods, harvesting apples, mowing with the boy, feeding hand-split wood into our stove on a snowy day… it’s all been grand.

Of course, that’s me talking.  If you ask my beautiful bride, she’d likely point to a few gripes she has.  Today’s post highlights one of those, just so you don’t think everything is Norman frickin’ Rockwell all the time over here.



We’ve had mice.  Not an enormous infestation by any stretch, but in the last year we’ve caught several and have “detected” a couple others that have obviously gone to that great big cheese wheel in the sky…  while inside our walls.

After asking the neighbors what’s up, they chuckle, shrug, and remind us it’s part of the life and we better get used to a little scratching in the walls each year when the temperature drops. Of course that doesn’t make Joanna feel any better.

So out of love for my woman, and no desire to co-exist with Minnie long term, I cashed out bookoo bucks for an exterminator service to take a walk around and put us on a pest control program.  Just until things got under control.  I then fixed some small issues like door weather stripping and set out a few commercial traps.  For months we thought our furry little friends had moved on to greener pastures.

Then a few nights ago, we heard it again.


Jo was not pleased.  I was not pleased.

This. Meant. War. 

I decided $#!t needed to get real. Only the heaviest duty, homemade, redneck looking mouse trap would do.  (Yes, I admit it, with darkness still falling way too early and an eight month pregnant wife retiring soon after, I’m sometimes looking for projects.)  Take this, Mousey!


Our primary problem area is an outside water closet that houses the furnace, water softener, hot water heater, etc.  I’m betting it’s too easy for them to come in where the well pipes enter from underground and I’m not sure how to best seal it off other than stuffing a little steel wool, so I wanted a trap that could catch multiple critters at once if needed. The beauty of this setup is it can keep on keeping on without needing to be reset after one little guy loses his battle with Mr. Snappy while his buds scurry away.

Plus it was free since we had all the materials needed, thanks in part to a perma-stocked mini fridge. Want a Gentlemanly Mouse Terminator of your own?

Stuff You’ll Need:


  • Five Gallon Bucket
  • Wire Clothes Hanger
  • Empty Aluminum Can
  • Scrap Wood or Similar for Ramps

Stuff You’ll Do:

Remove the long, straight section of a wire clothes hanger.



Drill two holes on the opposite sides of a five gallon bucket.


Procure an empty aluminum 12 ounce beverage container.


DIY Selfie is optional.  (As an aside, this was my first ever selfie and I’m now thinking about uploading at least 24 a day since I’m pretty sure the internet needs more of that kind of thing.)

Drill two holes on opposite ends of the empty can.


(As another aside, please note order is important to these instructions. Alcohol consumption leads to the drilling, as you’d expect.)

Thread the wire hanger through a bucket hole.

Thread the wire hanger through the can.

Thread the wire hanger through the second bucket hole.


Bend the ends of the wire hanger to keep it in place.


Ta da.


Spread a thin layer of peanut butter all over the can, making sure one side isn’t heavier than the rest.

Lay a couple ramps leading to the bait.

Wait for hungry vermin to climb the ramp, walk onto the wire hanger, try to set a dainty foot on the freely spinning can for a PB feast, and spin off, falling into the bottom of the bucket.

Adding three or four inches of water to the bottom of the bucket is optional depending on whether you’re a cold blooded killer of mice or a rodent relocation specialist.  However, I’ve heard anecdotal evidence from the all-knowing interwebs that mice have the ability to somehow jump straight out of a five gallon bucket.  Now that’s impressive!  So we added a little water for a permanent solution.  I figure it has to be more humane than those terrible glue traps which will just starve the little guys to death.  I have no problem with small rodents doing their natural thing in the acres of woods allotted to them.  They just aren’t welcome in the house.

Here… Mousey mousey mousey…


I can say this thing is darn effective.  Over the past two months, I usually find about two a week.  More important, we now have not heard any late night scratching, which is a welcome relief.  I hope my plan is working of catching them in this outside closet (since this is likely where they enter) before they can get into the rest of the house.


Question of the Day: What do you like least about where you live?

Posted in Homestead, Pest Control Tagged with: , , , ,
68 comments on “DIY Five Gallon Bucket Mouse Trap
  1. Tammy says:

    really???? I am so trying this – my basement has more mice in it than…………well anything I can think of!!!

    • Mike says:

      Let me know if you have any luck!

      • Felicia says:

        Just made 2. One for kitchen one for garage. Will let you know how it works!

    • al says:

      mice building nest in wifes new car engine bay, made up trap and cought 2 last night.will try again 2nite

      • Davud says:

        Same thing happen to us. Had to tow truck to dealership to fix it.

    • David says:

      This definitely works!!! While stationed in Afghanistan, a couple of EOD made one with an ammo can, string, and plastic bottle. By morning, they’d have up to 6 in there. Since the ammo cans were shallow, they’d fill them halfway with water to keep the mice from jumping out. Worked great!!!

    • Ev Henry says:

      Will this work for rats?

      • mizdiana says:

        I actually used this for rats years ago. Deep bucket, enough water to drown them. Did the job.

        • Larry says:

          Mice are very athletic. I have seen mice jump out of a dry bucket. They also survive quite a while swimming in a bucket with water. A couple drops of dish soap to the water will make their fur take on the water much faster, making them too heavy to jump. Their struggle is shortened. Set a few of these traps outside in shady areas as well. You must reduce their population outside your home, not just inside

  2. Dana says:

    Ok that’s a neat idea but then what do you do with them when you catch them? They are still alive, if you release them back into the wild they will find their way back right? How do you dispose of them so they don’t have the opportunity to come back?? My problem is I am scared to death of the snap traps, I have no qualms about the mice needing to die, I just don’t want to lose a finger in the process, lol

    • Mike says:

      Well that’s why you put about four inches of water at the bottom of the bucket. 😉

    • Vat says:

      The water is for flee bath purposes only. once they have no more flees then their next journey continues down the s-trap beyond the white porcelan god that you pray to everytime you’ve had way too much to drink.

    • Dana, I used to feel the same way. mu husband always set them but then he passed away so I had to learn. They now make them called Tom CAT that work by just pressing the back end of the trap sort of like a giant clothes pin . very easy to use .
      I hate glue traps they are cruel

      • Yes I like the bucket method. I had an infestation in the house about 3 years ago. The bucket method worked for me along with the Tom Cat live capture. They even knock on the door when they want out. Next day I’d let them go in the field. Im in a rural area, my neighbor said now they will come to their house. I cant kill anything, so I offered to spray paint my mices backs and if she saw any I would come and get em. No I don’t think they will EVER BE BACK. They remember this place. The Tom Kat can catch up to 25 mice a day. Im happy and now they’re happy. The bucket was great too, they cant jump strait up so they stayed there for me.

  3. Cynthia Siembab says:

    Best Mouse Trap Idea Ever!
    Can’t Wait To Get Mine Working

    • Mike says:

      Let me know how it turns out. I still can’t believe how many mice we’ve caught with this thing. Through the cold weather there would be two every week, just like clockwork. I never got that many with any store bought traps.

  4. Rose says:

    Aaaahhhh, water in the bottom! Brilliant! I wondered how it would work, since mice can definitely jump out of a dry 5 gallon bucket.

    • Mike says:

      I felt a little bad for a second as it seems like a bad way for mousie to go.

      OK, maybe not quite a whole second since the mice have FIVE FREAKING ACRES TO LIVE IN! Rent free! Stay out of the house! 🙂

  5. Thanks so much for sharing again at Green Thumb Thursday – I love the simplicity of this trap!
    tessa Homestead Lady recently posted…Milk KefirMy Profile

  6. Christina says:

    You could put 1 inch of water in the bottom of the bucket, that way the mice could not jump out but would still be alive to be relocated. Imagine yourself trying to jump if you were up to your thighs or even knees in water. If you have the ability to life-trap I see no compelling reason to have a mouse so suffer as to swim to exhaustion and beyond and then die.

    If you wish to relocate, as I would, then let me tell you a story of a Retreat Center I was associated with: The Lama went into retreat in a cabin for the winter, but the mouse problem really was huge. So she (yes, “she”) started catching them and having the attendant take them away to be relocated. They took them to the local dump about 3, maybe 4 miles way. Problem solved. Except the mice the Lama kept catching began to look familiar. So she took some nail polish (I guess that might be a retreat supply in some cases 😉 and painted a spot on their tail, had the attendant take them to the dump (mouse paradise one would think) and lo the marked mice were back in just a day or so! They found they had to take the mice SEVEN MILES away to keep them from coming back. I often drive seven miles away and so would have no problem at all dumping a bucket-full of mice along the way. I might even feel virtuous.

    • Mike says:

      Thanks for the story. I had no idea mice would relocate “home” from that far away.

      Sorry, but you just 100% convinced me about four inches in the bottom of the bucket is the way to go. I have no problem with mice frolicking out in our five acres somewhere away from the house. But once they decide to come inside? Game on. They should have made a different choice. 🙂

      Maybe it’s internal justification, but I feel this is a better way to go than having them slowly die of anticoagulant poison, or even the glue traps that are common.

      • Christina says:

        Maybe it’s better to swim and swim and swim… know yourself to be in peril of your life… and almost quit… have to quit… then gather energy, just a little, and swim again… and sink… and panic then gather energy and swim some more to finally… sink for the last time…

        I was a Merchant Seaman for several years in my youth and have been a sailor all my life. I have a horror of that situation. All I can say for the 4″ is that there’s no sharks…. or Man-o-War… but while you go about your day, there is a self aware being struggling for its very life, for a long time. Yes, that’s true all day every day all over the world, but in this case there’s something only slightly inconvenient for you that you can do about it.

        At least that’s my rational and motivation to go the extra inconvenience of carting spiders out of the house most of the time (I am not perfect ;-)) and live-trapping everything I can, although I admit I would have hesitancy about skunks (there’s a family apocryphal-tale-to-children about that) but I have even heard ways around that admittedly risky problem. In my life, if you’re not gonna eat it and be grateful for its sacrifice, you don’t get to kill it. At least that’s what I taught my husband’s sons with the shotguns I gave them for xmas. Including gophers!

        • Mike says:

          You make a very strong point and I definitely appreciate your opinion. I never want to kill without a darn good reason to do so. My children will be raised with the same sentiment.

          I personally sleep well at night considering the disease and pests that mice could bring inside my house, where my babies crawl around.

          I need a removal mechanism that can catch multiple mice without needing to be reset (as snap traps are one-time use), and there are too many anecdotes on the web about a mouse easily being able to jump out of a five gallon bucket. Maybe I’ll put some thought and effort into modifying my design with a type of cover or something that will still allow them to fall in, but for right now it’s the best solution I have and it works well.

          I value and appreciate all life and the diversity it brings. But mice in the house, mosquitoes attached to my arm, or a tick crawling up my leg? Yeah… I won’t think twice.

          Good discussion.

        • GolfBravo6 says:

          Few women have any tiger living in them like men do.

        • Charla says:

          In the past I paid hundreds for live traps to relocate ground squirrels not knowing it was illegal in my County. After rats and ground squirrels were eating $20 of organic chicken feed a WEEK, it became WAR. Sorry, but they have to die since they won’t voluntarily take themselves off the dole at my chicken yard. I will use this in addition to snap traps. Rats and ground squirrels spread disease from the fleas they carry.

      • Elliott says:

        I’ve used something similar, both with and without water. And in my experience, if they’re trapped in there without water, at least one usually gets killed and cannibalized by the others. Very messy and brutal. Water is the way to go. Also, add a tablespoon of dish soap to the water. They drown quicker, more humane.

      • Natalie says:

        Or cats 🙂

    • 007Kevin41 says:

      Wouldn’t it be better just to drown the mice in deeper water. If you drive 7 miles sure you won’t get the mice back but you might get a fight. no one wants some one else mice. you could stick them in the bottom of your bed, that way they will suffocate which would not be as bad as some one being strangled in broad daylight. I pitty some peoples children being brought up, no manners usually in more trouble than 99% of the rest.

  7. Christina says:

    I do not want to belabor this point if you are not interested. It is your blog, and you get to be God in your own Universe. So feel free to delete this if it no longer interests you.

    I had a series of three gerbils over a 15 year span growing up (yup with proper care and love a gerbil can live 5 years in my personal experience.) I raised a litter of 4 orphaned mice from before their eyes were open to when I let them go as gawky adolescents in the local grain elevator. I have live-trapped (in homemade traps only) a number of rodents, including squirrels and chipmunks in the garage and mice in the house and garage. Therefore I submit I am a fair lay-expert on mice.

    I almost always used a 5 gallon bucket to trap mice (a small or medium garbage can for larger rodents.) No water. My most successful method is a ramp of some sort like yours, cardboard, wood or what-have-you, with an 8×11 piece of paper balanced on the end and a trail of oatmeal flakes leading up the ramp and onto the piece of paper where there is a small pile of oatmeal flakes just beyond the easy reach of the particular target rodent from the end of the ramp. That way they have to over-stretch if they are smart, or just step off onto the paper if they aren’t. I have never found a rodent that can resist oatmeal flakes, just FYI.

    A large mouse may be able to jump out of a 5 gallon bucket, but that’s never happened to me. In an abundance of caution, when I observe or transport the bucket with the offender inside, I cover with a towel. Given that your trap place may hold the trapped offender for a while, like overnight, I agree that a 5-gallon bucket without cover, or other inhibition to jumping, might not be totally secure. I actually like the idea of a half-inch or an inch of water I am totally certain that any mouse would be completely prevented from jumping out by that and I am going to add it to my own traps when next I need one. I don’t mind a wet live mouse. I mind a mouse, or any other live being, suffering long-term and unto death if I can prevent it.

    I figure that a mouse invading my structure is just being a mouse and does not deserve to die for not having faculties of higher reasoning to know it is supposed to avoid my sacred abode. So I buff and polish my karma by trying to aid all creatures out of harm’s way, even humans, although I find that humans are much more difficult to trap than mice 😉

    • whatever says:


      The fact that a mouse or any other animal doesn’t have higher reasoning has nothing to do with it. The fact is mice carry disease and they should be avoided because of that. If that means the best course of action is to end its life so be it. Even if it means struggling only to die. Also, No one said a mouse “deserves” to die. Handling mice or any other animal that harbors disease any more than you have to in order to save its life is idiotic reasoning at best.

      My question to you would be when is it necessary to end the life of animal that poses a threat whether it be physical or health related? If a bear attacks me, should I kill it immediately or as I am being mauled to death lay there until I figure out a way to end the attack without killing the bear?

      I am all for animal activism. Animals should never be abused. But animal rights activist have taken it to levels of insanity. They will do anything to save the life of an animal. Some will even stupidly die in the quest to save an animal life.

      • Andrea says:

        Oh hey, I need the addresses of the people who want to relocate the mice so I can bring them to their house when I catch mine! 😉

      • Dee says:

        I agree.

        Some animal activists are more concerned with the lives of flea carrying rodents than humans. I guess a mouse or rat, for them, trumps humans. Since rodents were linked to bubonic plague that has not been always been a popular position. Remember millions have died from plague.

      • Carla white says:

        Some people are just smart asses that have zero compassion for other living creatures and make no sense comparing things like relocating a mouse to being mauled by a bear lol. That is a sign of a serious disorder. To ease a conscious of those that actually do have one all be it a very tiny one, people like u have to throw in the ole’ “horrible disease carriers” into the conversation. It’s as tho by saying this u are doing a service to all mankind by exterminating something that has the potential to wipe us all out, correct? Like the plague perhaps or the Hanta virus? Well all u social warriors should should just get together and take a look at EVERYTHING that has the potential to carry a disease or a virus or bacteria maybe throw in parasites and too and then just wipe them ALL out and don’t forget while your doing that the biggest offender of all diseases is HUMAN. Yep that’s right…we carry and pass on more diseases viruses and parasites than any little mouse could So while your drowning yours just because they are doing what nature tells thsm to do, go where it’s warm and where there is FOOD and a place to nest, people like me will live trap mine and HUMANELY take them to someplace far away from other people’s homes and property and release them even if it means I have to go some distance out of my way. It’s great for my conscious,after all People like me HAVE ONE .

    • Judy says:

      I live in the country. I caught 12 mice in 4 days when we got a cold snap. I got a cat. No more mice. My Mom is dying and mice are her biggest fear. I used glue traps. Is it inhumane? YES. But like we all say, Game on in my House. I am the biggest animal lover. Will hit another car to avoid a squirrel. Mice are cute and adorable but dirty and disease ridden. GROSS.

  8. Wendy.B says:

    We have like you recently bought a place in the country, after many years being transient while my husband was in the Australian Military… so now we have this patch of land and chickens and ducks and things and mice. Now I am a bit of an critter lover unless they come with no legs, and that’s what mice bring to the equation. Now most of the mice are around our chook pen, and I personally would rather be heart broken over a few drowned mice, than be confronted by fergie fang and his deadly venom hanging out in my feed shed. Sooooooo I am about to go drink a can of man beer and make myself a mice trap. Thanks for the idea.

  9. Andrew says:

    We’ve used a similar trap for years at our cabin in Vermont, with a couple revisions: kink the wire on either side of the can to keep it in the middle and add a few inches of RV antifreeze to the bottom instead of water. Works year ’round and probably kills them faster.

  10. Mel says:

    Thanks for the info. Got mice in the attic this winter, where we store our TEOTWAWKI supplies. I first saw this idea on Independence USA a few years ago. Frank used a dowel rod (instead of coat hanger wire) and antifreeze–which I figured was because he is in Pennsylvania. But it might have been also to kill quickly. Our mice are smart critters. They take the bait from the snap traps and go their merry way fat and happy. Yes, they are cute but what they don’t eat, they poop on! Sorry, but my grandkids are higher on the ‘have a right to be here’ scale, and if society goes south this food is all we’ve got.

  11. Red says:

    I had difficulty in getting the can to rotate properly using a single beer tin. I decided to use 2 beer tins instead. I cut the top off first one, leaving the beveled end on. The second one, I cut off the Bevel and left 4″ of the bottom of the can, and fitted over the beveled can. Then made center holes on each end for the clothes hanger, and got it to rotate a lot better.

  12. Glen Leslie says:


    you don’t need to do all the drilling on the bucket.

    just straighten the coat hanger and then wrap one end tightly around the outside of the bucket where the handle connects (my Home Depot bucket had a nice plastic disk embedded in the bucket to wrap around).

    thread the coat hanger through the can and then stretch the hanger wire across the top of bucket. wrap the hanger wire around the other bucket handle on the outside… use a pair of heavy pliers to do the bending to make the wire taut on the first couple of turns on the 2nd handle.

  13. Dianne Russell says:

    WHERE are the 24 SELFIES/DAY uploaded to the Internet…BECAUSE IT IS SO NEEDED.

    laughed so hard.

  14. bella says:

    I am a big time animal lover, but unless anyone has been in a mouse infested environment, they have no idea about why killing mice is important. My elderly father in laws house became so infested in about 2 months and all my sister in law whined about was “oh we need to catch and release” of course she was not there for the work part, but trust me, its horrible, hundreds of mice within two months, droppings everywhere, thousands, so please don’t underestimate the importance of fast action, and thats killing them quickly. They reproduce a litter every 21 days!!!
    bella recently posted…Thanks to WDTN NBC for the Interview!My Profile

  15. Phyllis Minga says:

    I love this mouse trap. So easy.

  16. Piggy the Spoon says:

    Excellent humane trap. Some new renters are doing construction downstairs from our office and they’ve been leaving their doors open, so mice must have gotten up to our office via the vents. I tried some cheapo live traps that I’m sure the mousies found to be entertaining since the next morning both traps were on their sides, surrounded by poop and all of the peanut butter pretzel bait was gone.
    So I got on the internet and found your site.
    I highly recommend this method of live-trapping; it WORKS!
    I modified it by using a 13-gallon wastepaper basket (no way a mouse is going to jump out of that). I put three small portions of dry oatmeal leading up the ramp and THEN (this is the genius part) I balanced a piece of typing paper on the wire leading to the peanut-buttered can.
    I wish I had a video of what occurred.
    This morning when I came in I saw immediately that the oatmeal was missing from the ramp (YES!). When I looked into the basket, this chubby little guy looked up at me and burrowed into the shredded newspaper I’d put into the container for a soft landing.
    I took him out to a local park near a cornfield and when I let him loose he was followed by a SECOND mouse that had been hiding in the newspaper as well.
    I can just picture the scene: the first mouse bought it by attempting to walk on the paper. The second mouse probably made it across the wire (cue the circus music) to the can and then barrel-rolled off. hahahahahahahaha
    Anyhoo – happy ending, the guys in the office have been singing the Micky Mouse Club song all morning and I was happy to prove we didn’t have to kill the squatters.

  17. Bon Lac says:

    Renovation Specialists left our home open to the elements and now we have a real mouse problem. We have caught a few with humane traps but they get to know them as mice talk to each other constantly. Tried the bucket and never caught a one….I will follow these instructions and try again. Just to let you people know mice CAN swim! I used oil on the sides of inside bucket so they couldn’t get out and if you use bleach or antifreeze in the water that will help kill them!
    I tried the humane way to transfer them miles away for weeks and weeks but they breed so fast you cant keep up! I am terrified of the damn things and know if you use scrunched up tin foil under the doors in your house for pantries etc. they will not try and go through it. Also used cheap SOS pads and hot glued them to top of drawer back and they will not cross that either to get into drawers from behind.
    As far as mint oil HA! they just used those cotton swabs with the oil on it to tear apart and use for nests! AM going to try the Skin So Soft from Avon …mice hate strong odor and I figure if it keeps mosquitos and black flies away mabe it will help repel mice in spots I don’t want to see or hear them. Good Luck to everyone out there!

  18. bren lieske says:

    I like your newsletter and your 5 bucket method looks great. I never thought of a clothes hanger and beer can…….can’t wait to get started drowning mice!
    Glad you like your life in the country! We have been at it 25 years and still enjoy every day of it…and still like one another.

  19. Nicola says:

    Thank you so much for the oat flakes tip. We did both the bucket and small tin box from Home Depot, once they enter they can not leave, but it is easy to let them go as the whole top cover is the lid. I am new to this but did not want to harm the little guy. Sure, enough the next morning there he was inside the box. So simple, so humane, thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas.

  20. ken says:

    If you want to safely relocate them but don’t want them jumping out, then build the same trap, but use a taller garbage can instead of a 5 gal bucket. You won’t be as suspicious dumping a garbage can of mice at the dump either.

    If you want them to drown faster, then add some cooking oil to the water, makes it to slippery to drown.

    If you want some action, add a snake to the bottom of the bucket. =)

    If your a mean SOB, add glue traps to the bottom of the bucket.
    ken recently posted…Thanks to WDTN NBC for the Interview!My Profile

  21. Randy says:

    Thanks, Mike. I’m having trouble getting past the drinking the beer part. Hope to have the whole thing set up tonight though.
    Randy recently posted…Thanks to WDTN NBC for the Interview!My Profile

  22. Ellen says:

    South Texas is having a rodent infestation! They’ve chewed the belts in my car and wires in tractor. I have chickens and so even picking up all the feed containers every night, we still have hundreds of mice outside. We can Not afford to catch and release with the problems everyone is having with the mice and rats.
    We did the 5 gal bucket about 1/2 full of water. Used a coffee can, pvc and wire. Used peanut butter. Caught a mouse this morning and am waiting for him to die. It’s been almost 12 hours and he’s treading water!! Any suggestions?
    Don’t know how to finish him and don’t know if I could. lol.

  23. Susan Emerson says:

    Have you ever tried it for gophers?

  24. Mouse says:

    I was nicknamed Mouse when I was a child because I was small and quiet. Now I don’t cherish that name at all! My father used this method perhaps 35 years ago, but I had forgotten how to make the trap. He put a bucket in the garage during the winter and filled it with water and anti-freeze during the winter so the water wouldn’t freeze. He checked it every week and there were always about 20 dead mice floating around in it. After 14 years in my house with no mice, I’m constantly fighting their existence. All the cat does is play with them and bring her present to me in the middle of the night. I’m so glad that good old Dad knew how to build the “best” mousetrap.

  25. joe says:

    I like the plan but I start drinking the beer first and never get the trap made.
    They do work I clip an old rag for the mice to climb up on my dogs would knock a stick down in 2 seconds
    also works on chipmunk 8 gallon bucket is better

  26. Van says:

    well I’ll have to find a place to put it need a smaller version I have had a mouse fall into a large bowl of liquid and couldn’t get out also have caught two trapped n the toilet treading water. I’m thinking a smaller bucket might work too with water in it. I live in an RV with two small children so this would work but only if I can find a place the kids can’t get into it but the mice can

  27. Van says:

    Okay Made one. I set it up in the highest traffic area I could. I coated the can in PB and stuck some cheerio’s to it. I don’t have room for ramps, but one side is against a cushion and the other end I tied a rag too. When I checked the trap this morning I was happy yet disappointed. I only caught two small juveniles no adult mice. Granted if the younger ones are dumb enough to go after the bait its good but my rodent population is big enough I see them in daytime too, I estimate at least 40 mice if not more. We live n a small RV 25Lx9Wx7H inside space so that many mice around is very noticeable and these mice are intelligent they had been stealing bait from snap traps by setting it off first. will trap up hope I catch a bunch more. maybe chocolate on the pb.

  28. Peter Falk says:

    My mice ate all the peanut butter , but didn’t fall in the pail. Can was nicely balanced . ?? Is my can to close to the top of the pail?

    • Lauren says:

      We had the same problem. The mouse ate the peanut butter and then just scurried back to his nest with a full tummy. There are lots of tiny prints in the peanut butter. 🙂

  29. Kelly says:

    Does the peanut butter attract cockroaches? I’m in an area where both mice and roaches are prevalent. I don’t want to get rid of one just problem to gain another..

  30. bonnie says:

    We moved to the country part time in the fall of 2003. We only came out on weekends and holidays at first. Several times I came in and found dead mice in the bottom of our empty 13 gal trash can. It took a couple of weeks but i noticed a small hole in the ceiling. I figured out they were coming thru the hole and falling into the trash can were they died. I never found 1 alive in the can.

    I have a 10 acre coastal Bermuda hay field for my front & side yards. One time when we were here for the weekend we woke up to baby mice running all over the house. When my husband came in from work he was greeted by red solo cups turned upside down all over the house. They were so cute they had back legs that made them look like tiny kangaroos. He couldn’t kill them either so he gathered them up and released them at the back edge of our property.

    Another time I was cleaning out the closet under the stairs. I found a 4′ tall roll of carpet standing in the corner. When I went to move it, I found out it was full to the top with dog food. Never saw any mice but that is the only way I can figure it got there.

    I have had snakes in my house hunting for mice. I have a waterbed and once when my husband was working nights I started hearing baby mousies under my bed which I could not get to w/o draining my bed. (They kept me up for several nights in a row because I was dreaming that I was seeing snakes come in to my bedroom hunting mice and that totally creeped me out.) Which I didn’t feel inclined to do so i thru a packet of mouse poison back in there and the problem was gone. I hated doing that but felt as though I had no choice.

    I have tried spreading Diatomaceous earth behind my frig and along baseboards and places were i had seen signs of mouse activity. They seemed to gone with in a few days.

    I am having my second battle this year I put out D’ earth & a stock pot w/ several inch’s of water and peanut butter. As I clean out my cabinets I am installing dryer sheets. I am also storing all my dishes upside down after I wash them. I have my silverware standing in containers cause I found them and signs of them with forks(gross). They get into my pantry and chew things up, that makes a big mess on all my cans. After I wash them and clean out pantry I will spread D’earth, make double sure things are in mouse proof containers. Make sure I clean up and dont leave food out for them. Hopefully the problem I am having now will be resolved soon. Minimal poison because I have dogs & grankids.

    Last year I put out peppermint soaked cotton balls which made my house smelled nice. I think it takes a combination of different things to beat them at their game of hide and go seek.

    Last week I pulled open the drawer were I store my cooking utensils I saw 2 in there one jumped and 1 tried to hide. I took it outside and dumped the drawer out in the grass he just laid there. I think he must have died from a heart attack. Cause he never moved and my dogs never showed any interest in it. They love to chase mice.

    Also a old country friend told me I should put out granulated sulfur. It is called water dispersable granulated sulfur. I put it in a fertilizer spreader and start close to the house and spread it out as far as it will go. I also put it around the pool & trampoline. It does a really great job of keeping things away from the house. I wont hurt them but they don’t like it so they just go away.

    Oh yeah I put glue traps under the plastic shelving in my utility room were my dogs spend the night. They were for snakes & mice. Well my dogs heard what ever the glue traps caught and the dogs dug thru the bottom shelf to get to what ever was making the noise. Bad idea.

  31. Penny See says:

    What if you tried a cone made out of something really smooth like a sheet of tin… You could make it shallow enough for them to slide in but it would still be high enough that they couldn’t jump out and they’d need mad skills to jump that high and directly into such a small hole. Even if they do make it through the hole, they’ll find themselves back on a cone on which they’ll find no traction so back down the whole they go… I’m going to try this method, I’ll let you know how it goes.

  32. tom says:

    Anti freeze, not water. Much shorter swim/suffer time, and works in winter.

  33. Jim Callahan says:

    I heard from the farmers in the area that if you add a 1/8 cup of bleach to the gallon of water that you put in the bucket, it makes the water “soapy” so you only need about an inch of water in the bucket. Mice can’t jump out, they get disinfected, (as well as the bucket), and over rides any death smell that may linger. (if you are letting them die). Otherwise take em to the woods rinse and release, you will have to check the traps every day though, because this method will kill them if not checked pretty regularly. I had thought about nesting two buckets with the top one acting as a funnel to dump the mice into the bottom bucket with no way to jump back out as a live trap method. If I do this one I’ll send pictures.

  34. Charlene says:

    Hubby had coolant in a bucket, and a mouse died in it…and he is not quite sure how to get rid of it? (coolant and mouse)

  35. Heather says:

    Unwittingly I caught a mouse in a (think Bodum container for making coffee) container on my counter that had about 1-3 inches of almond butter left in it. Mousey was DOA when I found it. I bet this will work like a charm!

  36. Thomas says:

    Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 cevzb

  37. Mlt says:

    I haven’t tried this method — I have qualms about death by drowning. But I have used snap traps for a quick death. Each critter is then offered to prey birds, by placing the deceased on a bench in our backyard. We have hawks & owls birds, plus fox & coyote all are part of the lifecycle around here, my offering and the rodents sacrificial life helps the cycle. I eat meat and also have qualms about that choice, but each animal sacrificed on my property is not wasted. We have a chipmunk problem this year and may try the bucket method. Poisoning with bait is bad for everyone and also not a good death.

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  39. Slicksix says:

    Cruel to kill with anything BS what is cruel is shooting another human being. Cut and dry.
    Can anyone give me a reason not to kill rats and mice? They carry disease, cause property damage and the beat goes on.
    Believe me they get so bad be careful when you sleep or nap

  40. Rhonda says:

    I’m. So. Doing. This. TONIGHT. We have been mouse free for about five years, but then….. the neighbors about 5 acres away started adding on, and well…. GAME. ON. I’m a chick, I DETEST snakes, mice, and spiders. With the spiders, I can open a door and play spider hockey with a broom. But this year with mice is different. Five kinds of commercial traps. Nada. But I DO have a 1 1/2 yr old bluetick coonhound that has channeled his inner hunting dog and so far it’s mice- 0, Axle- 4…. that I know of. What’s worse than a trap? CHASING the dog to drop it then having to get it… no thanks. 🤮
    This was shared with me by a friend who loves my mouse encounter rants… now if I can keep Axle away from the bucket.

3 Pings/Trackbacks for "DIY Five Gallon Bucket Mouse Trap"
  1. […] lots of improvements to mouse-proof the house, including building my (awesomely effective) Five Gallon Bucket Redneck Mouse Trap.  That stuff helped… and even though our problem was far from an all-out infestation, and […]

  2. […]…et-mouse-trap/ I've had luck with 5 gal bucket mouse traps. And yes, seal event he smallest crack! I use steel wool around pipes and in the double wide, I forced steel wool between the cement block skirting and wood siding. ybotq.push(function() { googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('Btf_300x250_1'); }); }); __________________ Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible […]

  3. […] something that was alluded to by a neighbour and echoed across the internet, as for example in this tutorial care of Gentleman Homestead. It’s basically a bucket with a wire strung across and, on the […]

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