What Is the Most Effective Kind of Mouse Bait to Use in Traps?

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 13 minutes.
Updated: .

Mice have invaded your home. You made a trip to your local hardware store and bought a couple of traps. The past few nights you’ve placed chunks of cheese on the traps and set them where you think the mice might be. So far, you’ve not caught a single mouse. Do you need a better mousetrap? Isn’t cheese the best mouse bait? Why haven’t you caught anything? What next? Relax. We have tips here that will help you properly bait your mouse trap with food that mice like.

The Best Way to Bait a Trap

Mice nibble. Your first tip is to bait the trap with tiny pieces of food. A big piece of food lets the mice munch without springing the trap. Since your goal is to catch the mouse rather than feed it, lure it into the trap. As soon as it takes the first bite, the trap will spring. Experts recommend pea-size bait.

Not Good

Not good bait


Good bait

The mouse will find your trap with its sense of smell. If you place a trail of crumbs leading to the trap, the mouse will eat its fill of crumbs. It won’t have any incentive to go after the bait on the trap because it isn’t hungry. You can put one very small crumb by the trap to lure a mouse, but make sure it is smaller than the bait on the trap.

Not Good

Not good bait

Be sure the bait is placed in the trap in such a way that the mouse can’t eat it without springing the trap. Exact placement will depend on the kind of trap you’re using, but traps have a “trigger” of some kind the mouse has to release. Place your bait so that the mouse sets off the trigger.

What can I Put?

The best mouse bait is anything that smells good to a mouse. The smell of most cheese is too strong for a mouse’s sensitive nose, and mice won’t eat it unless they’re very hungry. If you want to know do mice like peanut butter, you can find the answer in this article.

An effective non-food bait is something a female mouse can use to build a nest.

Mouse in the shredded paperThey use found materials such as:

  • String,
  • Yarn,
  • Shredded paper,
  • Strips of fabric.

Be sure to attach whatever you use to the trap so that the mouse can’t just pull it off.

Bait Poison

Warfarin has long been the traditional mouse poison. Because of its long use, many mice have developed a genetic resistance to warfarin. It’s no longer as effective as it once was.

Many mouse poisons now contain other poisons. These can be purchased in blocks that can be placed in bait stations. Poisoned pellets are another mouse bait. You can learn about the best mouse poison in this article.

Effective Baits to Use

Mice have a sweet tooth.

Sweets for miceSweets that that mice find irresistible include:

  • Gum drops,
  • Marshmallows,
  • Syrup,
  • Caramels.

If mice are ignoring your bait, try something else. Read this article to learn more about what do mice like to eat.

d-CON Bait Blocks

d-CON bait blocksd-CON bait blocks contain brodifacoum, a very strong anti-coagulant. It’s effective on mice that are resistant to warfarin. Mice need to taste it only one time for it to be fatal. It can take four to five days for the mice to die. You can place mouse bait blocks in places where it’s inconvenient to put traps.

Although you can place the bait block wherever you see mice, be sure that pets or children can’t get to it. It’s advisable to put the blocks in a bait station to avoid unintentional poisoning.

To find out more details on d-CON mouse bait blocks, go here.

Tootsie Rolls

The sweetness of Tootsie Rolls is very appealing to mice. Like everything else they eat, mice consume Tootsie Rolls in tiny bites. Tootsie rollA cold or hard Tootsie Roll is easy for a mouse to nibble without springing the trap.

Homeowners who have the most success using a Tootsie Roll for mouse bait slightly chew it first. The rationale is that it becomes sticky and a mouse springs the trap trying to pull it off. Chewed or not, you want to put just a very small amount of the candy in the trap. Press it onto the trap so that the mouse can’t sample it from the side.

Homemade Mouse Baits

Foods that mice like contain:

  • Proteins, Fat and CarbohydrateCarbohydrates (sugar),
  • Fat,
  • Protein.

A bait that includes an ingredient from one or more of these food groups makes good bait. You don’t have to concoct complicated recipes.

Mice eat as often as 20 times a day.

Mice find food by the way it smells, so bait needs to be either fresh or mixed with something else. Nutella makes anything that it’s spread on appealing to mice.

Fruit is a mouse favorite. A bit of banana mashed onto a trap is good mouse bait. Some people have success with the peels from apples or similar fruits. Mice find raisins tasty. You can make bait balls from raisins and oatmeal held together with any nut butter.

These are all non-poisonous baits. They are placed in a mouse trap so that the mouse springs the trap and is killed trying to eat them. More tips on how to catch a mouse can be found in this article.

Kill Them With Food. Other baits contain an ingredient that will kill the mouse after they eat it. One simple bait is to spread dry potato flakes where mice can find them. The mice eat them, then drink water, causing the flakes to swell and kill the mouse. Read more about homemade mouse poison here.

Poisonous baits may take more than one day to kill a mouse. The mouse can die in a place where you can’t retrieve the body. Then you live with the smell of a decaying mouse until it dissipates.

Location, Location, Location
Mice trapAs well as choosing bait that’s attractive to mice, your trap needs to be placed correctly. Mice are curious but cautious. Regardless of how appealing your bait is, a mouse is unlikely to approach your trap if it’s in the middle of the room. Place your trap near a wall or in a dark space. Mice will find it if the bait smells good.
Place the trap so that it is perpendicular to the wall. That encourages the mouse to inspect your bait rather than walk around the trap. Experts recommend using more than one trap. Place them two to three feet apart along the wall. If you have a severe infestation, place them even closer together.

The Best Bait Stations

Commercial mouse baits are extremely poisonous and can be deadly to children and pets. A bait station allows you to place the bait in a device that mice can get into, but that nothing else can.

Several companies make bait stations, usually designed for their own brand of bait.

These include:

  • Aegis Bait stations.
  • B&G Rodent Cafe Bait Station.
    Rodent Cafe Bait Station by B&G
  • Bell’s Protecta Bait Stations.
    Protecta Bait Station by Bell Laboratories
  • d-CON Ultra Set.
    Ultra Set Covered Snap Traps by d-CON
  • J.T. Eaton 902 TOP LOADER bait station.
    Top Loader 902 Bait Station by JT Eaton
  • MBS-1 Mouse Bait Station.
  • Tomcat Mouse Killer Bait Station.
    Mouse Killer by Tomcat
  • Victor Fast-Kill Disposable Mouse Bait Station.
    Fast-Kill Bait Station by Victor

Bait stations are available online and retail outlets.

Selling Points Of Different Brands

Three main features distinguish one brand from another.

These are:

  1. Appearance: Most are black and look like boxes. Some models, however, have been designed to look like rocks or similar landscaping features.
  2. Design: Some models have you dump in pellets. Others have a way of attaching bait blocks. Most will allow you to use your choice of pellets or blocks.
  3. Use: Most of the bait stations allow you to refill them with bait so that you can use them repeatedly. Others are meant to be disposed of after using one time.

The best bait station is the one that best fits your needs. If you prefer to avoid touching bait, then one of the disposable brands would be best. The J.T. Eaton top loader is convenient to refill, and lets you use pellets or blocks. You can learn more about mouse poison pellets in this article.

Internet buyers gave the highest ratings to these four products:

  • Tomcat Tier 3 Disposable Mouse Bait Station.
  • d-CON Ultra Set Covered Mouse Poison Bait Station.
  • Tomcat Bait Station, Mouse Killer II, Disposable.
  • Liphatech Aegis RP Bait Station – Locking.

Overall, Tomcat products received the highest ratings. Read more about Tomcat mouse poison here.

Bait Station to Use Outside

Most of the reusable bait stations can be used outside.

These four have received high ratings:

  • Aegis Mouse Bait Station: can be mounted horizontally or vertically.
    AEGIS-RP Bait Station
  • MBS-1 Mouse Bait Station: has a removable insect tray.
    MBS-1 Bait Station
  • JT Eaton 908SG Slate Gray Rodent Rock Landscape Bait Station: blends in with landscape.
    Bait Station 908SG by JT Eaton
  • Protecta RTU Mouse Bait Station: automatically locks when closed.
    Mouse Bait Station by Protecta RTU

Place the bait stations around the perimeter of your home.

What Is the Best Bait to Catch Mice?

Although all mice are grain and seed eaters, mice in different geographical areas have food preferences. Mice will eat anything when hungry, but they’re usually well-fed when they’ve invaded your home. That means they might be slightly picky about what you’re using for bait and you’ll have to experiment.

You’ll discover the best bait for your house mice when you see what they’re eating from your pantry. So if they’re stealing all your chocolate, your bait needs to appeal to their sweet tooth. If they’re getting into dry cereal, they want more carbohydrates. If they have already satisfied their sweet tooth or craving for carbs, you might have more success with protein. Experiment with something like beef jerky. BaconLittle pieces of bacon or hot dogs also attract mice to your trap.

You’ll catch your house mice in one of two ways:

  1. Using bait of a kind they want, but aren’t getting
  2. Using bait similar to what they’re already eating.

If your bait hasn’t been touched in a couple of days, try a different bait.

What about Field Mice?

Field mice like fruit, grains, and seeds, but will eat other foods. This article has more information on what do field mice eat. It’s best to use an outside bait station for field mice. That will protect the bait from the weather and protect children and pets from getting to the bait. If you aren’t using a bait station, you’ll need to protect the bait and trap from the weather.

It’s best to try to eliminate your field mouse problem without poison. Poisoned mice usually die away from the trap. Other animals will eat the dead mice and succumb to the poison in its body.

As with house mice, place the bait on the trap so that the mouse can’t eat and run. Make sure it has to release the trigger to get a taste.

Mouse in My Home

The best mouse bait is one that convinces a mouse to take a bite. Bird food contains the seeds and grains that mice love, but it’s hard to bait an indoor trap with it. You could try putting a dollop of honey on the trap and stick a few seeds into it.

If you have pets, you’ve probably noticed that mice love pet food. They’ll eat all the dog or cat food they can get. Try putting a tidbit of dry pet food on the trap by itself or stick it on some honey. You’ll probably have more success using wet pet food.

Another favorite mouse food is nuts. NutsYou’ll need to shell them first and use pieces of the nut meat in your trap. Stick it to the trap with honey or chocolate syrup so a mouse can’t snatch it. If the trap has a “claw” mechanism, you can use the claw to hold the nut. You just have to make sure the mouse can’t get the nut without springing the trap.

You can find a variety of mouse traps in your local hardware store. As well as with baits, you may need to experiment with traps. Mice are extremely intelligent little pests and they can be challenging to eliminate. One of the most important keys to success is to make sure that you wear gloves, so that you don’t leave your scent on the trap or the bait.

You can find further details of Mice Control here.

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