The Best Baits For Mouse Traps And How To Use Them

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To some extent, catching mice resembles fishing – it’s all about taking the most attractive bait. Having the best bait is the shortest way to the best catch. There is an erroneous opinion that mice are drawn to any food products. However, if rodents dislike the bait, you may be completely dissatisfied with the result of the mouse hunt.

  1. What are the best baits?
  2. What baits are bad?
  3. Precautions
  4. How much bait you should use?
  5. Where to place it?
  6. For how long?
  7. When you should change the bait?
  8. What if mice don’t take it?
  9. What should you do if mice eat the bait without triggering the trap?

What are the best baits?

When selecting the best bait, one has endless opportunities. Still, it is preferable to take the foods, that contain a lot of fat, protein or sugar. The bait should also be fragrant because it is smell that produces the first impression on mice, which do not normally rely on their vision. So, what are the most popular bait options for the mouse traps?

Peanut butter

peanut butter

Peanut butter contains a lot of protein; it remains fresh and fragrant for a long time, thus improving your chance of having that ugly little mouse trapped. Sticking to the trigger is yet another advantage of peanut butter that enables you to come up with better spots and angles when placing the mouse trap.

Vanilla extract

vanilla extract

Rodents are naturally drawn to this strong scent, so it is effective to use a cotton ball with two or three drops of vanilla extract as a bait. Once placed in the mouse trap, it begins to produce a pleasant odor that lures mice and rats.



Surprisingly enough, chocolate is much better bait than cheese. It is a myth that mice are strongly attracted to this traditional lure and will neglect more exquisite treats. Not only vanilla extract, but also chocolate can be a great delicacy for the little pests. UK-based manufacturer of pest management products from Cheshire, Sorex Ltd company, has even created an effective mouse trap that smells of chocolate and does not require any additional bait.

Sunflower seeds

sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are rather hard, so mice need to gnaw the covering first. The mouse being busy, it is a good moment for the mouse trap to be triggered. All you need to think about is how to arrange the sunflower seeds, which rodents just cannot resist. For this purpose, you will need a mouse trap that has small container or a food tray.

Maple syrup

maple syrup

A few drops of maple syrup will emit a strong luring smell. They can be sprinkled on cotton balls or grains. It is important, however, not to use too much maple syrup as it may have the opposite effect. This bait is as effective as vanilla extract.



Do you remember the awesome smell of freshly fried bacon? Hooked under the trigger, a piece of bacon or some bacon grease can lead the mouse to the trap due to its strong scent. An important tip would be not to take canned bacon because its smell is much weaker and may fail to attract rodents.

Hot dog

hot dog

Much is said about tiny pieces of cooked hot dog working well as a mouse trap bait. To know for sure, one has to try.

Pet food

pet food

A lot of pet owners have reported that rodents are attracted to the places where pet foods are kept. It goes to prove that pet supplies can also be used as mouse trap baits.

Other options

Marshmallows, jam, caramels, candies, nuts and seeds also work good.

It sounds weird, but dental floss, yarn, cotton, and similar products can attract female mice. The reason is that they need nesting materials and can be trapped attempting to remove them from the trigger.

What baits are bad?

Obviously, you should not use as a bait anything that smells like peppermint, ammonia or naphthalene. Such products deter mice and usually used as mouse repellents.

Contrary to popular belief, cheese is also bad bait for mouse traps.



Any pet shop owner or professional mouse exterminator will tell you that mice are not actually attracted by cheese. Moreover, some cheeses have specific odors that mice do not like at all. Such smells are too strong for the rodents’ sensitive nose and may even repel them. In fact, cheese dries out quickly and gets stale in a mouse trap. Very soon it will turn into a useless mouse trap bait that no rodent will want to eat.


Using gloves (medical gloves, the ones for food preparation or washing dishes) is highly recommended when setting a mouse trap. Mice can easily detect every detail of that complex smell the bait emanates, so their senses will tell them to stay away from the bait. To be on the safe side, put on gloves before you bait the mouse trap, and rodents will not be scared away.

How much bait you should use?

Using a lot of bait may not be a great idea. You are not going to feed the mice, are you? Take a small portion of bait to draw the rodent into the trap. Its smell must be strong enough to spread all around the area. Its primary function is to help the mouse find the trap easily.

Where to place it?

The correct answer will depend on the type of the mouse trap chosen. If you prefer to use a snap trap, you should put the lure on the trigger pedal. As a rule, this simple mechanism has a few pointed metal elements, so the bait is attached to it easily and securely. Choosing a sticky bait is another obstacle for the mouse that is obviously hoping to steal the lure without disturbing the mouse trap.

“Trap and release” mouse traps, as well as electronic traps, must be baited at their far end. Such traps are humane and either keep the mouse inside or subject it to electric current the moment the rodent enters and provided that the mechanism works well. The deeper the mouse reaches the better.

The mouse should not be able to eat the bait staying outside the trap or being not deep enough to set it in motion. The worst scenario for you is when the rodent feeds and goes. Do not undervalue the role of proper baiting in catching mice.

For how long?

If your house has faced the problem of grave mouse infestation, replacing the bait will be a frequent activity, since pests will constantly get trapped.

If just occasional mice are exploring your area, they may not even try to eat the lure, so you can leave it for a few days. If the bait is still there after several days, this can point to a wrongly chosen place for setting the trap. Are you sure the trap is located where mice are most active? If the location is good, but the mice show no interest in your treat, you must substitute the bait with a fresh one more often.

Mice are really fond of fresh food that has an appealing smell, so you always need to keep the bait fresh. At least do not let the it become stale, otherwise it will never attract mice. Start the day with checking your mouse traps. Also, when it is hot outside, you must hook fresh bait more often than in cold months.

When you should change the bait?

Make it a rule to change the bait each time the little gray visitor is caught. Sometimes, mice gnaw the bait without getting trap triggered. Other rodents may get repelled by the traces their predecessors have left, so it is better to prepare a fresh bait for them in this case.

Replace any mouse trap bait that has not been touched by mice for several days, otherwise it will spoil.

What if mice don’t take it?

Suppose you know the area is infested by mice, but the bait remains untouched. You should try to find an explanation. One of the possible reasons is that mice know another place where food is lavish and easier to get.

The key to solving the problem is to remove all other food supplies in the area. Experiment with various baits and replace them more often, if the rodents do not seem to be interested.

Think about other bait options and leave a new lure in the mouse trap. If the solution does not seem to be effective, exchange the bait for some other product and try again. Remember that fragrant foods should be your top priority – feel free to try chocolate, vanilla extract or freshly cooked bacon.

What should you do if mice eat the bait without triggering the trap?

Occasionally, you will come across a wise little mouse that will be able to eat peanut butter or another bait without getting caught. In such case, there is a little trick that helps to catch the smart rodent.

You should prepare a special bait using dental floss and some foods that can be spread over it, such as peanut butter - just tie dental floss to the bait pedal and cover it with butter. Now, while enjoying the fragrant bait, mouse will have its teeth tangled in the dental floss. When trying to release itself from the floss, the mouse will put more pressure on the bait pedal, thus triggering the mechanism. This simple trick always works great.


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