How to Bait a Mousetrap

What You'll Need
Mousetrap (a standard snapping mousetrap is a good start but you may also consider humane traps)
Sweet-smelling food like peanut butter
Cotton ball or gauze
Artificial flavors

Finding mice in your home is never pleasant, and the decision to set a mousetrap is not always an easy one. Mouse droppings can spread disease, contaminate your food, and they can also destroy your possessions with their teeth. You can even run the risk of the mice biting you, your visitors, and household pets. The only real solution is to set out a mousetrap (or several) and this article will show you how to bait them properly in order to make the mousetrap effective.

Step 1: Selecting the Bait

Mice have a very keen sense of smell and are highly intelligent animals. Mice will begin to learn over time what to avoid as each trap you place becomes less and less effective. The key to making a great mousetrap is to make the best bait selection as well as to have several selections in your arsenal. You want to place food in the mousetrap that they are naturally attracted to. Mice have a tendency to enjoy foods that contain fat and grains. For this reason the following bait suggestions will work the best:

  • Peanut butter on a wheat cracker
  • Mini candy bar (otherwise known as "fun size")
  • Raw or cooked bacon
  • Nuts (peanuts, cashews, and macadamia work the best)
  • Dried fruit

Step 2: Setting the Trap

The tried and true method of doing away with mice is by using the spring trap. You always need to be careful when setting these as they are very sensitive and could go off; catching your fingers. You do not need much food to entice mice and too much could cause the trap to not work correctly. Newer traps have a plastic pad where you set the bait. The mouse walks up to it and stands on the plate and its weight causes the trap to spring. Mice, being keen problem solvers, typically figure this out fast. Place a dime-sized amount of food on the pad but, if you can, tie a piece of string or wire around the food. The mouse will continue to tug on the food but it won't go anywhere thus increasing your chance of a successful trap.

Step 3: Alternative Bait

Mice are enticed by fresh and aromatic food but repulsed by rancid food. If you do not want to frequently change out food because it is going bad, an alternative bait may be in order. Cotton balls are great mousetrap bait because the teeth of the mice get caught in the fiber of the cotton and as it scrambles to get free the trap is sprung. Dip the cotton ball into artificial flavorings such as maple, vanilla, or chocolate.

Step 4: Placement

Where you choose to locate the mousetrap will affect its efficiency. Mice like to keep to the walls as they move so look for holes in the wall, feces and food crumbs. Place your mousetrap along this route.