When rodents like mice or roof rats enter the house, many homeowners depend on the ever-reliable mousetraps to get rid of them. But sometimes, people might find that their trap takes too long to catch mice. In most cases, it’s because they’re using the wrong kind of bait on the trap. If you feel you have a very big or bad rat problem (infestation) we suggest you read about How to get rid of rats.
Mice are known to bring a variety of rodent control & rodent removal problems whenever they infest a household. Aside from causing damage to furniture, floors, and walls, one of the main reasons why you want to eliminate a mouse, rat, or rodent infestation as soon as possible is because they carry a variety of diseases. These rodents are known to carry and spread diseases like hantavirus, salmonellosis, leptospirosis, and rat-bite fever. To quickly remove these pests from your property, you can use mouse traps with an enticing bait.
So what kind of bait effectively lures mice out of hiding? Nut butter’s is a very effective bait because the strong nutty smell is enough to attract rodents. Other baits like chocolate, seeds and nuts, marshmallows and gumdrops, deli meat, pet food, fruit jam, and soft cheese are also effective in luring mice out of their rat nest.
WHAT KIND OF BAIT DO MICE LIKE?
Sweet Snacks: Mice love sweet smelling snacks like gumdrops and marshmallows. You can make these snacks more effective in trapping mice by melting them first before placing them on the trap. Melting gumdrops and marshmallows makes it stickier so that mice will take more time to eat it. Chocolate is another sweet option for rodent bait; you can try a variety of chocolate and see which kind works the best. We sometimes go as far as sprinkling sugar and other sweets dust on the traps
Meat: Mice aren’t known to feed on meat all the time, so this food isn’t on the top of your list. However, meat has a high protein content which makes it an enticing snack for mice. You can place some pieces of meat like summer sausage, beef jerky or cooked bacon to lure the rodents.
Mice, rodents, and rats are filthy mammals that cause structural damages to the homes they invade. They are also known carriers of different diseases, such as the plague, leptospirosis, hantavirus, and more. Because of these reasons, mice should be eliminated from a home using the safest methods.
Whether it’s a snap trap or a live trap, baits play an important role in attracting and trapping mice on a property. Here are three main types of baits to use at home:
Food Baits – When using food bait to lure mice out of hiding, it’s better to choose sweet or fatty food. Sticky food like spreads and jam also work better than solids because the mouse is more likely to trigger the trap while attempting to remove it.
Nesting Materials – Yarn and cotton are also used to attract and trap mice. If the rodents are still building their nest inside the house, they’ll gather any nesting material they get their hands on.
Specialty Baits – If the usual food bait and nesting materials aren’t enough to attract mice, specialty baits might do the trick. These commercially available baits are specially formulated to lure mice out, BUT , rarely work as advertised.
PEANUT BUTTER VS. CHEESE: WHICH FOOD BAIT ATTRACTS MICE BETTER?
Almost all cartoons and television shows portray mice as cheese-loving creatures. But in real life, cheese doesn’t do much when it comes to attracting mice out of hiding. Although they’re opportunistic feeders, cheese is far down the list of rodents’ preferred food.
On the other hand, peanut butter makes for an excellent bait. Its nutty taste is something that mice love. The strong smell is also attractive. The rat, mice, & rodents are guaranteed to have a hard time trying to eat the peanut butter without getting caught in the trap.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE BAITS TO USE IN A MOUSE / RAT TRAP
There’s no need to spend more on specialty mouse baits just to catch mice. Just pick out any of these food baits in your kitchen to save more money:
1. PEANUT BUTTER & CHOCOLATE
Mice love eating seeds and nuts, which makes the flavor of peanut butter attractive for them. It also has high calorie and fat content that the mice need when living inside houses. Hazelnut spreads are also a good food bait if there’s no peanut butter at home.
When using peanut butter as food bait, avoid spreading too much peanut butter on the trap. Just put about a pea-sized amount of the peanut butter on the trap to attract mice. Chocolate is another high-calorie food that mice love. It also has a strong smell that attracts mice out of hiding. Since there are different varieties of chocolate, it’s important to find out which one works best when luring mice out of hiding. Most homeowners find that milk chocolate and regular chocolate do well in baiting mice. We prefer miniature recess peanut butter cups, or some piece of miniature chocolate candy similarly.
2. PET FOOD
Rats and Mice LOVE dog food, they love dog food so much they often eat dog feces.
Many animals like dogs and cats are useful in keeping mice at bay because they are the natural predator of mice. Their strong senses allow them to detect mice presence around the house. However, the pet food left in their feeding station attracts mice and rats.
These opportunistic feeders like eating leftovers of pet food because it’s rich in nutrients that rodents need to survive inside the house. Although they prefer wet food, these rodents also eat dry pet food that’s scattered around the house.
If the cat in the house likes to leave out food after they eat, make sure to clean up after them. Other homeowners utilize this chance to catch mice. Instead of cleaning the leftover food, they place traps near the cat feeder instead.
3. SEEDS AND NUTS
Mice love eating seeds and nuts. These rodents wouldn’t pass up the chance to eat them if there are seeds and nuts in the house. When using seeds and nuts to attract mice, go for bird seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
4. MARSHMALLOWS AND GUMDROPS
Marshmallows and gumdrops are cheap options used as mouse baits. They work well in luring mice out because of their high sugar content. Just put a piece or two on the mousetrap and let it do its trick.
5. DELI MEAT
Mice are willing to risk their lives for a few slices of deli meat like bacon and sausages. It doesn’t matter if they’re raw or cooked – the rodents take any deli meat that’s open for the taking. Some homeowners even use the cooked bacon’s grease because its strong smell lures mice out.
However, the main problem with using deli meat is that they spoil easily at room temperature. When using this kind of bait, make sure to check and replace it regularly.
6. FRUIT JAM
Fruit jam is also effective in attracting mice for the same reasons as peanut butter and hazelnut spread – they’re sweet and sticky. Just make sure to only put the right amount of jam on the trap’s far end so that the mouse is forced to set off the device.
The downside in utilizing fruit jams as mousetrap bait is that it also attracts other pests like cockroaches and ants. Check the mousetrap frequently to make sure that the bait hasn’t been consumed by other pests.
7. SOFT CHEESE
Most kinds of cheese aren’t as effective in attracting mice as peanut butter is. But if you still want to use cheese as bait, it’s better to use soft cheese instead of cheddar blocks. Camembert, brie, and blue cheese have strong smells that effectively attract mice out of hiding.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THE BAIT ISN’T WORKING
There are situations when the mousetrap isn’t catching mice as you’d expect it to. There are several reasons why this happens, but here are a few tips to ensure that the traps work better next time:
Use a Different Bait – Mouse traps are only as good as the bait used. If the device hasn’t caught a single mouse for days, it’s time to replace the bait with a new one. Peanut butter and chocolate work best in luring them out, but nesting materials are also effective during the infestation’s early stages.
Put Less Bait and More Traps – If there’s too much bait on the trap, the rodent might take some of it without triggering the device. A pea-sized amount is enough to attract mice and let them set off the trap. It also helps to put more traps in strategic areas to ensure that more mice are caught.
Switch to a Different Trap – Mice are intelligent animals. Some of them might recognize what a trap looks like and try their best to remove the bait without triggering it. If the snap trap has been used for weeks but hasn’t caught a single mouse yet, try switching to a live trap instead.
Use Traps with Sensitive Sensors – Mice are small and lightweight creatures. Their weight might not be enough to set off snap traps, which is why it’s better to try out other kinds of traps. Electric mouse traps are great for catching smaller and lighter mice because they have more sensitive sensors.
Place the Trap in Strategic Places – Many homeowners make the mistake of setting up mouse traps in the wrong room. Before deciding where to place traps, inspect different areas in the home to find signs of mice activity. Place a few traps in these areas to catch more mice. Other places like the back of cabinets, underneath stoves, and along walls are also good areas to put a mousetrap in.
But before using bait for mouse traps, you have to keep in mind a few tips. First, never handle the bait with bare hands since it can contaminate the bait with a human scent. Mice view human smell as a predator scent, making the bait less appealing to mice and your trap less effective. Make sure to wear some gloves when handling the bait so you don’t compromise its scent.
Another tip is to place just the right amount of bait on the trap: a pea-size amount is enough. It’s important to remember that placing too much bait on a mouse trap allows the rodents to get some of the bait without triggering the trap. On the other hand, the mice might not be able to notice the bait when you place too little.
Lastly, remember to change the bait regularly to ensure its freshness. Rotten food may not be as enticing for mice so it might not work as effectively. You also need to keep in mind that if a certain bait isn’t working, it’s perfectly fine to switch up the bait and see which one works the best. With these tips in mind, here are some of the best bait you can use for your mouse traps:
Don’t Get in a Hurry to Catch Your Mice
A tiny, basically defenseless mouse will be very cautious about anything new in its environment. It’s best to put out bait without traps for a few days to help the mouse become accustomed to the intrusion. Putting out bait will also ensure that you are putting traps in the right place later. When bait starts disappearing on a regular basis, then put out your mouse traps (notice that’s mouse traps, plural).
Don’t put out just one trap. Put out a dozen or two dozen traps. A single female mouse can give birth to six or seven babies in just three weeks. If you don’t have lots of mice now, you will soon. Because they multiply so rapidly, you need to catch them all.
Place at least one trap every 18 inches (50 cm) or so along highly trafficked areas, and for best results, place traps 2 or 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) apart along the entire length of any “rodent runway” you have identified by mouse droppings, mouse urine (visible by black light), or that icky mouse sludge that tends to accumulate when lots of mice travel down the same path at night.
Trap As Many as Possible
Mice like to use shredded paper to make nests which means you can use it as bait.
Mice are fast learners. Any mice that escape your traps the first night will be able to avoid them the second night. Take the time to identify rodent traffic patterns and to get the mice accustomed to their bedtime snack, and then put out as many traps as possible with as many different types of bait as possible.
For ongoing mouse catching, it’s OK to give the little pests a steady diet of peanut butter. But while you are getting the mice used to the presence of the bait and on the first night you set out traps, offer an all you can eat buffet. This is the one time it might be OK to leave out bacon, cheese, cold cuts, or hot dogs in very small amounts.
What Do You Do If The Mouse Doesn’t Take The Bait?
This is where testing comes in. Assuming you have a lot of mouse activity in the area, if the mice don’t take the bait in the trap, it could mean several things. It could be, for example, that they have a source of food that is easier to get at than the bait in the trap. One way to find out is to use a camera trap and catch them on video. Take a look at my top 3 camera traps here.
In addition ensure that the only food supply available is the bait in the trap. However, if the uptake of bait is still much lower than you would expect, then experiment with changing the bait on a fairly regular basis.
Leave new bait in the trap for a day or two, and if it is not being as effective as you would like, change it to something else and try again. Get inventive, think like a mouse, and you will be successful.
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