Rodent Repellent vs Rodent Traps

Rodents such as mice and rats become most active during the winter, seeking warmth and food where they have the best luck – inside your house.

Lots of people use either rodent repellents or rodent traps as at-home solutions.

  • Scent repellents deter rodents with a strong order. Humans cannot detect the scent, but, it’s challenging to ensure it covers all possible entry points in your home.
  • Rodent traps, as the name implies, trap rats or mice using bait. However, they can pose a health risk to pets or young children.

So which DIY-method is best? The short answer is: it depends. Below, we’ll talk more about the pros, cons, and effectiveness of each.

What our pest control team can say for certain is that regardless of which at-home method you use, you should always pair it with professional Charlotte rodent control services. Rodents are intelligent creatures that can outsmart most home remedies or traps.

If you notice signs of a rodent infestation in your home, contact Carolina Pest Management for immediate help removing the four-legged pests from your home.

Exploring at-home rodent control solutions? Check out these resources.


What Is Rodent Repellent?

Rodent repellent is one of the most popular ways to repel rodents. Most homeowners use scent repellents. Scent Repellents can be plug-ins, sprays, packets, or pellets that use strong scents to deter a rodent’s interest.

There is another type of repellent – ultrasonic – which deters rats by producing an irritating sound only the rats can hear. However, the science behind ultrasonic repellents has been questioned for many years, and many believe they are simply not as effective as scent methods.

Scent Repellent Pros & Cons

The smell can be pleasant for homeownersIt’s not easy to ensure all possible entry points are covered
The location and volume of dispersal are customizableThe scents must be reapplied regularly in all areas to ensure continuous protection
Natural options allow homeowners to ensure their families and pets are safeThe sensitivities of individual rodents can vary, and some may be less deterred
Scents are often quick to begin working and can last weeks at a timeSimply deterring rodents doesn’t stop them from living and multiplying on your property
Rodents are simply deterred instead of injured or killed in your homeRodents are resourceful creatures that often outsmart the repellent

What Are Rodent Traps?

Rodent traps are a more involved course of action for addressing a rodent problem. These traps aim to capture and in most cases exterminate each rodent that stumbles upon it.

Types of Rodent Traps

The most popular options for rodent traps include:

  • Snap traps – The traditional spring-loaded traps that, when triggered, bring a metal bar forcefully down to kill the rodent caught inside.
  • Glue traps – Rodents that come across these traps become stuck in the adhesive surface and perish from hypothermia or starvation.
  • Live-catch traps – These traps offer a catch-and-release option where rodents are attracted through the use of bait and then trapped temporarily so they can be set free.

Rodent Traps Pros & Cons

Can do more than simply deter rodentsCan present safety risks to pets or children
Usually avoid the risks of other methods that use poisons or chemicals in the homeRequire time and effort to consistently check and reset traps
Often see results quicklyDoesn’t always stop rodents at entry points
Can better monitor rodent activity and identify high-traffic areasSome traps can be considered unethical
Sometimes can trap or kill more than one at a timeSome rodents aren’t tempted by the bait

Is Scent Repellent Effective?

Because of its pleasing smell and low risk of harm to children and pets, scent repellent can be a more agreeable option for keeping rodents at bay, especially for families who share a space with them.

However, there’s no guarantee that this type of repellent will keep all rodents out. Some rodents aren’t as sensitive to particular scents or have sensitivities that lessen over time.

It’s also difficult to cover all potential entry points and remember to reapply them properly, and it only takes one or more missed areas to allow rodents to sneak through.

Types of Scent Repellent

Scent repellent products come in a variety of forms, including:

  • Spray – Leaves an oily residue in rodent entry points that will inhibit them from entering
  • Plug-ins – Repel mice and rats by releasing the scent into the air of the space
  • Packets – Dry ingredients collected into packets work best when placed around the inside or directly outside the home
  • Pellets – Infused with oils and other materials that produce the strong smells, pellets can be customized to the space based on the quantity used

Where to Place Scent Repellent

Scent repellents should be placed anywhere where rats, mice, or other rodents may enter the home. Possible locations to place the scent emitters include:

  • Door frames
  • Edges of walls or floor
  • Cracks or holes in walls or flooring
  • Windows

Tips for Scent Repellent

The scent in repellents is often created using natural ingredients such as mint, pine, or other essential oils. Ironically, some scents that repel rodents can be pleasant to homeowners.

Natural repellents can be created with ingredients in your home as well. A popular combination includes mixing ammonia and vinegar to make a potent spray or soak for cotton balls.

Due to the immediate dispersal of scent into the air, each type begins repelling rodents nearly right away. Each type can last 6 weeks or more at a time before they need to be replaced or re-applied, though this may depend on the specific type or brand being used.

Are Rodent Traps Effective?

Rodent traps offer a solution for those wanting to not only deter but get rid of individual rodents entirely, and can be a good option when used with professional rodent control. However, each type of trap has downfalls and risks that are important to consider.

To ensure they work effectively, homeowners must take the time to find the best areas to place them, the best bait to attract the rodent they are targeting, and regularly check and dispose of any trapped rodents.

Where to Place Rodent Traps

These traps are most effective when placed in paths commonly traveled by rodents, identified by any rodent sightings, droppings, or gnawing marks.

Possible locations to check for these signs are:

  • Around the immediate exterior or interior of the home
  • Any space under the home where there are possible entry points
  • Near doors that lead to the outdoors
  • In any basement or ground-level spaces
  • In areas where food is eaten or stored such as the kitchen or pantry spaces

Choosing the Best Type of Trap

The preferred type of trap depends on the beliefs, needs, and knowledge of the homeowner. For example, many find some traps to be ethically questionable since they lead to the prolonged suffering of the rodent trapped.

Though live-catch traps seem more humane, they require high involvement – which many find unpleasant – and they are often less effective at deterring rodents, as they are free to come back to the home again or produce more offspring on the property.

A snap trap may be more effective than a live-catch trap and more ethical than a glue trap since the rodent is killed instantly (most of the time). However, this type may be risky for those with pets who may investigate or accidentally step on the trap.

Tips for Rodent Traps

Once a preferred type is chosen, traps should be placed in the identified high-traffic areas. To be most effective, they should be spaced a few feet apart along the walls or in corners of the home.

Be sure to wear gloves, apply the correct bait, check traps once a week, and always disinfect the area after any rodents are caught and disposed of.

Rodent Repellent vs Rodent Traps: What’s the Best Option?

Many of the products effective at deterring rodents aren’t fully safe for children or pets. It’s a good idea to either purchase pet-safe traps or place them in areas that are unreachable, such as inside drawers.

Solutions such as these can be effective in deterring or catching rodents on a small scale but should be paired with professional rodent services to really see improvement.

A professional Charlotte rodent control offers the services of trained individuals who:

  • Know where to look for high-activity and nesting areas
  • Can identify and eliminate nests that get rid of offspring
  • Provide you with the most up-to-date advice on which approach will be most effective based on your situation

By Kristin Dodd

Kristin Dodd, the President of Carolina Pest Management, has been with the company full-time for over 20 years, but has been a part of the family-owned business for much longer. She is currently an active board member of the North Carolina Pest Management Association, and was the President from 2010-2011. She is a licensed operator in...