If you’re a homeowner, chances are that you fear an invasion of the common house mouse. Once settled in, they can be difficult to eradicate. Luckily, there are various solutions on the market – ranging from humane ones like cage mouse traps to cruel ones like mouse glue traps – that you can use to eliminate your rodent problem. But for these methods to be effective, you need to use a good mouse bait. So, in this article, we will cover all the best baits to catch mice.
How to Identify an Infestation
The house mouse (Mus musculus) is the most common cause of rodent infestations. Knowing exactly what type of infestation you have is the first step to solving the problem. So, how can you tell if you’re dealing with mice versus other types of critters?
You can identify what type of pest has infested your home by looking at the signs of the infestation. Common signs that you have mice are: gnaw marks, scratching or running noises in the walls or the attic, droppings on the floor, and piles of shredded paper or fibers (used for nesting).
The Best Natural Baits to Catch Mice
When it comes to catching a mouse, the best bait to use is a high-fat and/or high-protein food.
So, when choosing the food bait for your mousetrap, try to select foods that are high in calories and that also have a powerful aroma. You want the mice to be able to sniff out the food. You should also choose something that they will have encountered, so either something found in or around your home or something you already know they are eating. If they know the food is safe and tasty, they are more likely to take it from the trap. If you know what they’re eating, you can also try something that supplements it, that their diet may be missing. Here are some of the most common foods used for mice luring:
- Peanut butter
- Gum drops
- Fruit jam
You can also bait mice with nesting materials. Mice prefer to build their nests from soft materials. Here are the best non-food items to lure mice with:
- Thread, yarn, or dental floss
- Cotton balls
The Best Non-natural Baits to Catch Mice
In some cases, baits won’t work or just aren’t as effective as desired. Luckily, there is a wide range of artificial baits that you can try using to lure mice to your rodent traps. Some are non-toxic while others are poisonous. In one study, artificial baits worked better than peanut butter. However, another study had less consistent, and overall less effective, results. You may need to experiment with different natural and artificial baits to find out which are preferred by your unwanted visitor.
The most common non-natural baits are poisons, typically contained in bait stations to prevent access by non-target animals, including pets and people.
Is it possible to catch a mouse without using bait?
It is possible to catch mice with unbaited traps. Mice are naturally inquisitive and will explore new additions to their environment. However, an attractant will increase the chances of mice encountering and triggering traps and will help you deal with your infestation faster.
Common Mice Bait Myths
There are many misconceptions about mice and baiting traps for mice. So let’s take a look at some of the most common ones and find out whether there is any truth behind them.
Myth #1: Mice are attracted to cheese.
Fact: Cheese actually isn’t a good mouse lure because it doesn’t produce a strong smell and mice don’t actually like it very much. They prefer foods such as cereals, peanut butter, and fruit. Fruits are excellent because they also provide mice with water. This is important because they may go long periods without water and will get it where they can.
Myth #2: Rodenticides scare mice away.
Fact: Common anticoagulant poisons take about 2 to 6 days to kill once consumed. This enables the mice to go about their daily business and travel between their nesting places even after they have eaten these rodenticides. This means they will be unlikely to die near the bait station, leading people to think they have been scared away by the poison. Unfortunately, it also means that they may die in a difficult to access location, leading to odor and possibly insect problems as they decay. This is why professionals often recommend using mice traps rather than just poison to get rid of rodents, as they allow you to remove the rodent from the property.
Myth #3: Rodenticides cause mice to seek water sources outside.
Fact: If rodents are already nesting in your home, then most likely they’ve already found a water source to use in the house. Also, most rodenticides do not make mice thirsty.
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If you have a mouse infestation, knowing exactly how to approach the problem will keep you from developing an even bigger issue. One of the best things you can do to combat your mouse problem is to use a mice trap to catch the rodents and remove them from your property. A mouse trap is only as good as the bait you are using to lure the rodents in. We’ve covered some mice bait options here.
As a general rule of thumb, whether you use food or nesting materials, find out what mice are attracted to and use that. This will help ensure that you will catch mice quickly. In addition, make sure not to leave food or potential nesting material out in your home. This will drive the mice to the traps because it will be the only source for their needs.