Staff Editorial: Glue Traps at Lawrence

It has come to our attention that many dorms on campus at Lawrence University use glue traps to solve our ongoing vermin problem. Mice, spiders, ants and other unwanted guests come into the dorms through unsealed holes and doors left propped open. In theory, glue traps sound like an effective strategy for keeping vermin out of students’ bedrooms and bathrooms on campus, but in reality, glue traps are among the most inhumane methods of exterminating rodents and other small creatures.

Glue traps function as the name suggests: a pest gets caught in a pan of thick glue and meets its long, drawn-out demise. Once the creature has stepped onto the trap, it becomes stuck to the pan; unable to escape from the glue, it will often struggle for several days before eventually dying of starvation, dehydration or by tearing itself apart in an attempt to escape. Manufacturers of glue traps advise that they be thrown away once a mouse has been captured. It is almost impossible to humanely euthanize the mouse once it has been caught, so the options are to throw the trap away and let the rodent starve or to try to free the trapped creature. However, removing the animal can be dangerous, as anyone handling a glue trap is at risk of being bitten. Many humane societies, such as the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, advocate for a ban on using glue traps.

So why does Lawrence’s Facility Services use glue traps? Facility Services uses glue traps in order to monitor spider populations and to determine which areas need more treatment. They use bait stations that are surveilled by outside companies in order to control mice, but mice often wind up in the spider glue traps anyway. Because Lawrence’s mouse control is monitored by outside companies, it is difficult for Facility Services to implement more humane options specifically for rodents. However, because Facility Services has the opportunity to choose whether or not to use glue traps, they could elect to change their spider collecting option. There are adhesive strips that work well as spider traps and are less likely to catch mice; this may be a more humane alternative to the glue traps.

It doesn’t take much research or knowledge about glue traps to realize how cruel they are. If Facility Services were to work with the outside companies to eradicate the use of glue traps, they may be able to implement the usage of the classic snap trap. Snap traps usually kill rodents immediately, if not within a few minutes. This time frame is obviously preferable to the days-long process of killing an animal using a glue trap. The price of a snap trap is similar to that of a glue trap as well. If Facility Services is unable to alter their rodent control methods due to outside companies’ policies, they should, at the very least, switch to adhesive paper for their spider control. Glue traps should be used as a last resort, and Lawrence can work to find better alternatives when getting rid of pests.