Congressman Ted Lieu’s Push to Make Glue Traps Illegal

I have a mouse in my apartment, and he’s a clever one. Clever enough, in fact, that he’s managed to avoid the very tempting baited snap traps I’ve placed around the areas of the kitchen where I’ve seen him appear.

Since those snap traps haven’t been working, I recently swapped them out for glue boards. In my experience, these do a better job of catching mice and blocking off potential points of entry.

At the moment, the method of pest control I use to keep uninvited, potentially diseased rodents out of my home is a personal, private choice I have the freedom to make. A new bill from Rep. Ted Lieu (D–Calif.) would make me a federal criminal.

Earlier this week, Lieu unveiled the “Glue Trap Prohibition Act of 2024,” which would amend federal pesticide regulations to ban the sale and use of glue traps.

The penalties for violating the specific subchapter that Lieu is inserting his glue trap ban into include fines of up to $5,000 per offense for commercial violators and $1,000 fines for individuals. That subchapter also allows criminal penalties—including up to a year’s imprisonment for commercial violators and 30 days imprisonment for private persons who violate the law.

Should Lieu’s bill become law, the three glue boards I have in my kitchen would open me up to $3,000 in fines and maybe a month in federal lockup.

The congressman justifies his glue trap ban on humanitarian and health grounds.

“Glue traps are ruthless, inhumane, and can be dangerous to the health of humans and their pets,” said Lieu in a statement. “There are numerous other ways to trap small animals that don’t prolong their suffering.”

His press release about the bill mentions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t recommend the use of glue traps because the trapped live animals could more easily spread disease. The CDC also recommends against the use of live traps that don’t harm the animal for the same reason. Lieu’s bill doesn’t ban the latter.

Lieu’s press release also claims that animals that don’t escape glue traps die of “blood loss, suffocation, or dehydration.” But that’s only if you let them sit there, which, I concede, is somewhat cruel. It’s also kind of gross, as the whole point of the trap is to kill the rodent and get it out of your house. (The easiest way to do this is to slip a plastic bag around the animal and glue trap and either stomp on the bag or hit it with a hammer, dumbbell, or other heavy object.)

While it might be trite or archaic to raise this point, one does wonder where exactly Lieu thinks Congress gets the authority to regulate the use of glue traps in private homes. Not even a New Deal Supreme Court justice could honestly argue that placing a sticky piece of paper on your floor affects interstate commerce.

Obviously, some people are going to be more concerned than myself with the welfare of vermin. People also have pets or small children who might get stuck in a glue trap. In those cases, perhaps some other type of trap is more appropriate. It seems like that’s something that individuals can decide for themselves.

So long as people have the option of humanely dispatching mice with poison, electrocution, or neck-snapping metal bars, I’d also like to have the right to use traps that work without the risk of going to federal prison.