Trapping mammals in a cautious world: The effect of disinfectants on trap success

J. A. Wilson, K. E. Mabry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Disinfecting traps that have captured small mammals is one recommendation for preventing occurrence of hantavirus infection; however, the potential effects of disinfection on small mammal trappability have not been investigated thoroughly. We conducted an experiment to compare the effects of 2 disinfectants (Lysol® and household bleach) on the trappability of 4 small mammal species (Peromyscus maniculatus, Neotamias spp., and Spermophilus lateralis). We established triplicate trap grids in 2 forest types (red fir and mixed conifer), each consisting of a 6 × 6 array of Sherman live-traps placed at 10-m intervals. Traps were given 1 of 3 treatments: control (water), Lysol, or bleach; the treated traps were placed in an alternating pattern. Traps were open for 4 consecutive nights with daily treatment application. We found a difference in the trappability of Peromyscus between years; however, we did not detect a statistically significant difference in trappability resulting from disinfection for any of the 3 study species. Disinfectant effects on capture probability within Peromyscus were not supported by model selection in Program MARK. Collectively, these results indicate that although populations may fluctuate temporally and spatially, trap disinfection does not have a significant effect on small mammal trappability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-473
Number of pages7
JournalWestern North American Naturalist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Bleach
  • Capture success
  • Disinfectants
  • Hantavirus
  • Lysol®
  • Peromyscus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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