Glue traps, or glueboards, are small boards or trays covered in a strong adhesive substance used to catch “pests,” and are highly problematic for a number of reasons. They have in fact been banned in Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and much of Australia, and there are numerous entities in Massachusetts and across the country that have stopped using or selling glue traps.
Glue Traps are Cruel
Glue traps are one of the cruelest methods of removing unwanted animals. Studies have shown that the majority of animals caught in glue traps die in agony while trying to free themselves from the adhesive. Animals can struggle for days trying to tear off their own limbs and skin, and those that cannot escape die from starvation or dehydration. Some animals’ heads become stuck to the adhesive and they may die of suffocation.
As Connie Orcutt, D.V.M., Dipl., ABVP (Avian), past Section Head of Avian and Exotic Animal Medicine at Angell Animal Medical Center said: “The effects of glue traps are markedly inhumane and indiscriminate. A mouse I saw in such a trap was stuck to the surface on the side of its face and belly rendering it unable to move or even breathe effectively. It was weak, dehydrated, and obviously extremely frightened. A number of birds have also been brought into our hospital caught on these traps. These animals are usually very sick from weakness, injury, and ingestion of glue. In severe cases, they have to be euthanized.”
Risky to Human Health
Glue traps are also unhygienic, putting human health at risk. Animals are often found still alive on the board, and the person removing the animal is at risk of being bitten or scratched. Further, in struggling to break free, animals often defecate, urinate, and bleed, increasing the chances that a person may contract an illness while removing the animal. For these reasons, the CDC advises against the use of glue traps.
Glue Traps are Indiscriminate
Additionally, glue traps are indiscriminate. It is not uncommon for non-target wildlife to be caught, such as birds, and household pets sometimes become caught on them as well, requiring medical intervention to remove the adhesive and board. In 2019 and 2020, preliminary results of an MSPCA study found that two-thirds of surveyed Massachusetts licensed wildlife rehabilitators reported having treated an animal caught in a glue trap, including songbirds, a cat, snakes, and chipmunks. Roughly half of the animals had to be humanely euthanized.
Glue Traps are Ineffective
Lastly, while glue traps may kill rodents, they do not solve rodent problems, as they merely create vacant habitat for new animals to fill. Trapping mice and rats is an endless cycle if the habitat is not altered, and so it is critical to address the source of the problem via prevention. Remove all nesting materials from the problem area, such as old clothing, books, boxes, and papers; remove all food debris and store food in secure containers; and moisten rags with peppermint oil and place them under sinks, cabinets, and in cracks. After all the rats or mice have left, seal all holes as small as a dime with quick drying cement, foam insulation, or wire mesh, and attach rubber or metal runners at the bottom of all doors. If traps must be used, choose Havahart live trap. Consult with one of these humane exclusion businesses and, if traps must be used, choose Havahart live traps. Learn about more solutions on the MSPCA’s Intruder Excluder.
How can I help stop the use of glue traps?
You can make a difference by personally avoiding the use of glue traps and by urging those you know to do the same. If you live in a multi-unit complex, urge the building manager to adopt an integrated pest management approach, and to never use glue traps. You can also contact your state representative to express your support of state bills like H. 1469, An Act banning glue based rodent traps. And if you find an animal trapped on a glue board, do not attempt to remove them yourself; instead, bring them to the nearest licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
Intruder Excluder, MSPCA.
H. 1469, An Act banning glue based rodent traps, Massachusetts legislature.
About Rats and Mice, MSPCA.
Printable fact sheet about glue traps, MSPCA.