One very common mistake when trying to catch mice is to use the wrong bait. They come to your property in search of food and they will generally take what they can find. They do prefer some foods to others and peanut butter, chocolate and bacon are just come of their favorites.
The Best Bait
If you’re trying to work out the best bait to use in your mouse trap, it’s fair to say that mice will eat anything. There are certain foods which work better than others, but it’s also worth looking at the type of mouse trap you’re using as well. Even if you use a mouse’s favorite food, you may not catch them if you don’t match the food to the trap.
- Single humane traps: If you’re using a humane mouse trap then you need to get the mouse as far inside as possible to get to the food. Sticky foods are the best choice, as these foodstuffs are less likely to move too close to the door.
- Multiple humane traps: These traps have no way of letting any food escape so you can use any type of food in them.
- Snap traps with no tray: Some snap traps are just flat, and if you use these, use a food which will not roll off if the trap is knocked.
- Snap traps with a tray: Some traps have a small tray to put bait in and these are often can be used for sticky substances and smaller foodstuffs.
Before you go setting up your trap though, there are a few things to bear in mind first.
- Always wear gloves. That strong sense of smell will soon tell a mouse that a human has handled the food, and if they smell that, they will sense danger and avoid it.
- If you re-use a trap, clean it with water to remove any residue of the previous bait. If you simply add new bait to old, eventually your original bait may start to smell moldy.
- If you have an infestation, it’s not uncommon for traps to be knocked without catching a mouse. If this happens they could easily knock your bait off the trap if you haven’t used the right food.
- If you find mice aren’t eating your bait, clean the trap and try something different. Just like humans, some mice may not be attracted to the same foods.
What food do mice find irresistible?
Mice like a variety of foods and any food which is high in fat or high in protein will attract them. Foods which have a strong smell will also attract them. They also have a bit of a sweet tooth so sweet, sugary foods are also on the list.
When baiting your trap, you don’t need to use a large quantity of food. A small piece of the right food will attract them more than a big pile of the wrong food.
So what foods should you use? Well here are 7 foods which mice love.
1. Honey, syrup, jam
Mice do like sweet things and a dollop of honey, molasses or maple syrup used as bait is a good way to get them investigating your trap. They will be able to pick up the smell, but the consistency won’t make it easy for them to eat it.
If you plan on using it on a snap trap, these foods will stay in place but they might stick to the trap making it harder to use next time.
2. Chocolate and candy
Like most of us, mice enjoy candy and chocolate. The problem with these is how to use them as bait. If you put a jelly bean on a snap trap, it can easily roll off so the mouse can enjoy it without going near the trap.
Cage traps and larger humane traps are a good choice for these as the candy cannot roll out no matter how much the trap is knocked. If you want to use it on a snap trap, you’ll have to stick it down, and if you’re going to use something to do that, it may be easier to use that as the bait instead.
3. Hot dog, beef jerky and bacon bits
Mice like protein and just like us they love the smell of bacon. Hot dog and beef jerky are also good choices, because the meat won’t go off and so it will encourage them to try to eat it. You don’t need a big slice of hot dog and again, it’s best to consider the type of trap you’re using.
You can cut both bacon and hot dog in to smaller pieces to sit in a bait tray, or drop them in a cage or larger humane trap.
In fact you can use any kind of cooked or breakfast meats.
4. Wet pet food
Wet cat and dog food is designed to be tasty and smell nice, and mice will confirm this for you. With plenty of protein in it, you won’t need much to attract them.
This is slightly easier to place on snap traps as the moisture in it will hold it in place better than dry food.
Some people shy away from using cheese in traps, but it can be very good bait. You need to remember that mice have a strong sense of smell, so a strong smelling cheese is the best to use. You can also use cream cheese which will sit in humane traps better and this is also harder for the mice to just grab and run.
6. Seeds and nuts
Mice eat seeds and nuts during the summer months when there are plenty about, so using them as bait works very well.
If you put a nut on a snap trap though, you may not have very much luck, as one knock on the trap and the nut could roll off.
Mice love sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds and bird seed makes excellent bait.
7. Peanut butter
Peanut butter is almost the number 1 food when it comes to catching mice. The consistency is perfect as it is easy to get it to stick on to any sort of trap and it’s not something mice can eat in a hurry. As a bonus – they love it!
They love nuts and the smell will draw them in to eat it. You can also substitute hazelnut or almond butter.