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What’s the Best Bait for Mousetraps?

A mousetrap loaded with cheese.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

If you’ve got mice in your house, you surely want the best bait to get rid of them. You can use the food you already have in your kitchen.

Bait is the key to catching a mouse, but it’s also about how you apply it, and where you put the trap. Let’s look at bait selection and trap placement.

The Right Bait Options

Food is the go-to bait for many people but it isn’t the only option. Here are a few bait options, from food to nesting materials, that will help you rid your home of rodents:

  • Peanut butter: It’s sticky, and sticky foods keep mice around long enough to snap the trap. If you don’t put it on properly, though, they’ll sometimes lick it clean and get away.
  • Birdseed: Mix it with peanut butter. This makes the lever that sets off the trap heavier and more likely to snap when the mouse is trying to get the food.
  • Soft cheese: If peanut butter isn’t working, smear some of this on the bait pan. It might be harder to lick clean without setting off the trap.
  • Cotton batting: Mice aren’t only attracted to food. Cotton batting makes an excellent addition to their nest. Just wrap some around the bait pan.
  • String or yarn: Two more nesting materials that will attract mice to your trap! You can wrap these so they will set off the trap when the mouse tries to grab them.

Traps are inexpensive, so try one bait and see if it works; if it doesn’t, move on to another. Set multiple traps in areas you suspect are frequented by mice to increase your chances.

Position for Successful Trapping

You should always place the open, baited part of the trap against a wall. This forces the mouse to enter the trap in close quarters to get the bait, making it more likely it will snap. Since mice often run along walls and baseboards, this also increases the chance of trapping them even if the bait isn’t working (or has been eaten).

To help prevent the bait from being eaten without snapping the trap, make sure you smear on foods so they’re not easily picked off in a clump. It helps if you can get a little under the bait pan, too.

Finally, in our experience, trapping is only half the battle. After you’ve dealt with the mice, you need to investigate your home for points of entry. Seal cracks, crevices, holes, and any other points through which mice might be squeezing into your home.

A professional exterminator can be a valuable ally here, as they have plenty of professional experience looking for these entry points.

Mice can damage your home, belongings, and the food in your cupboards. Be sure you’re doing what you can to trap them quickly with these baiting tips.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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