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10 Best Mouse Baits: How to Bait Traps Properly?

July 1, 2016
Mouse trap for house

So you’ve got a mouse problem – no big deal, right? You’ve seen enough Tom and Jerry cartoons to know that mice love cheese, and setting a trap with this irresistible delicacy is the best way to get rid of them. Unfortunately, your childhood cartoons have failed you – mice don’t really like cheese.

What should you use for mouse trap bait then?

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How to Catch a Mouse: Making the Best Bait for Mouse Trap

What Do Mice Eat? Here’s a Hint: It’s Not Cheese

Dead mouse killed in a mouse trap on the kitchen counter baited with peanut butter.House mice, the type of mouse you’re probably dealing with, are omnivores, but they prefer to chow down on fruits, grains and seeds. Mice like carbohydrates, and really aren’t big fans of cheese – although they probably won’t discriminate if there’s nothing else to eat.

In dire situations, mice have been known to resort to cannibalism. Females will eat their babies, and some mice will even eat their own tails. This behavior isn’t common, and is typically only seen in severe starvation situations.

Mice may also munch on things we’d consider non-edible, like cardboard boxes, electrical wiring and even paper. This type of destructive behavior is primarily related to nesting habits, and not nutritional needs. Mice often build nests in dark places where humans can’t access, and they usually build these nests using objects they find nearby.

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What’s the Best Bait for Mice?

If cheese isn’t the best bait to catch a mouse, what is? Going off of what mice love to eat, some of the most effective options include:

  1. Peanut butter
  2. Chocolate
  3. Maple syrup
  4. Hot dog slices
  5. Jerky
  6. Cracker mixed with butter or nut butter
  7. Nuts or bird seeds
  8. Pet food
  9. Marshmallows
  10. Nesting materials

Nesting materials are a surprising bait option, but if the mice are building a nest in your home, they’re going to look for materials to make that nest. If you’re searching for tips on how to get rid of mice in the attic, this type of trap may be a great option. Mice love to nest in attics because they’re dark and usually away from humans. Placing the trap up in the attic with premium nesting materials may help you catch these critters.

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Great options for nesting materials include:

  • Shredded paper
  • Yarn
  • Twine
  • Hay
  • Kleenex (non-aloe)

Whether you plan on using nesting materials or food to attract the mice, it’s important to understand how to set the trap.Rat caught in a wooden trap with red spice drop bait.

How to Bait a Mouse Trap

When most people think of mouse traps, they envision wooden boards with springs that clamp down when triggered. This is just one of many different types of traps you can use to catch mice.

Both live traps and kill traps are available.

Types of Mouse Traps & How to Bait Them

Snap Mouse Traps

The most common type of trap is a snap trap, and they’re also one of the oldest and most reliable traps available.

There are several variations of this trap, but plastic and wooden types are the most common. No matter the material type, the trap features a spring-loaded metal bar that snaps down when triggered by the mouse. Depending on the type of snap trap you choose, the snapping will either kill or trap the mouse.

How to Bait a Snap Trap

Baiting a snap trap is simple and straightforward. Simply place the bait on top of the pressure-sensitive switch.

The trap will activate when the mouse tries to move the bait.

Some people consider snap traps to be cruel, as they can0 sometimes injure the mouse rather than killing it instantly.

Electronic Traps

Electronic mouse traps are relatively new to the pest control industry, but they’re quickly becoming a popular choice because they’re highly effective and easy to use.

These traps work by luring the mouse inside of the device, where it will deliver a lethal electrical shock. The mouse is killed almost instantly (just a few seconds).

If you’re close to the trap, you may hear a buzzing sound when the mouse is electrocuted.

Electronic traps are carefully designed to protect pets and humans from being shocked. They also come in both single and multi-use varieties, and typically run on AA batteries.

How to Bait Electronic Traps

The great thing about this type of trap is that you don’t have to worry about where the bait is set. You can place it anywhere inside the trap. There’s no need to worry about pressure-sensitive switches.

Glue Traps

Dead mice on yellow glue trap.Many consider glue traps to be inhumane, and they can be. These are simple traps – they have no mechanical or moving parts. They only require an adhesive of some sort and a board to place the adhesive on.

The glue, or adhesive, traps the mouse and prevents it from escaping.

The biggest issue with this type of trap is that it doesn’t kill the mouse – unless you leave it long enough for the mouse to starve to death (a cruel death indeed).

Live release is sometimes impossible without severely injuring the mouse.

How to Bait Glue Traps

Bait is typically placed on of the adhesive, but you’ll need to place it in the middle of the board for this to be effective. Otherwise, the mouse will just position itself next to the trap and chow down.

Sometimes, bait isn’t needed if the trap is placed in an area the mouse is likely to run across.

Although these traps are non-toxic to humans and pets, pets sometimes come into contact with them and get them stuck to their noses, feet and tails.

Live Catch Traps

Live catch traps are available, and these are considered the most humane option. These are cages with doors that close when triggered, trapping the mouse inside. If you do go this route, it’s important to release the mouse miles away from your home, and to do so as quickly as possible. Otherwise, they’ll just come right back and build another nest, or the mouse may die of starvation before you get the chance to release it.

How to Bait a Live Catch Trap

With a live catch trap, you can place the bait anywhere inside of the cage. Just make sure that the bait is all the way inside of the trap, so the mouse activates the trigger to close the door.

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