Catching mice relies on two things: the trap and the bait. The most powerful snap traps would be rendered useless if the bait isn't attractive enough to lure the mice. Baits come in different forms, consistency, and even smells; some baits may attract mice to get killed by the trap, others can kill the mice by itself.
So which bait is the best to use for your mouse trap on the farm? Contrary to what most people think, cheese may not actually be the most ideal mouse bait. One of the best and most recommended baits that you can use instead is peanut butter. It satisfies the mice's natural dietary cravings of nuts, carbohydrates, and fatty acids. Since it's a spread, it isn't something that mice can swipe away with ease, unlike a lone piece of cheese.
Read More: How To Use Cage Mouse Trap
Mice are known omnivores. They tend to treat almost anything as a food source. If not that, then they may simply gnaw and chew on it even if it doesn't provide them with any nutritional benefits, such as electrical wiring or cardboard.
A study discussing the dietary requirements of mice outlined that mice need certain nutrients to survive. Some of these are: essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, amino acids, and calcium. Using foods containing these nutrients would therefore be an attractive bait for mice.
Peanut butter is one of the most commonly recommended bait for mouse traps -- for good reason. It is fatty, rich in protein and carbohydrates, and emits an attractive scent that draws mice. Another benefit that peanut butter has is its overall consistency. The problem with baits like a small amount of cheese is that mice can swipe it away from the trap if not placed securely. Peanut butter forces mice to linger on the trap, licking it, and increasing the likelihood that they'll trigger the trap.
Field mice enjoy snacking on nuts and seeds. These tend to be rich in protein, which satisfies a mice's regular diet. A study found sunflower seeds to be an attractive delicacy for mice looking to gnaw and eat. This bait might be more advisable for cage traps, because it keeps the mouse inside the trap itself; on snap traps, they might swipe it away.
If you have other pets, you can take advantage of using their treats to attract mice. Dog food tends to contain protein and fats that mice look for in their food. A precaution should be taken when using your pet's food as bait, however: ensure that the trap and bait placement is far away from where your pets usually roam; they might accidentally get caught in the mouse trap and hurt themselves.
Another food that is especially high in protein is meat. You can use pieces of bacon or ham as a bit of bait on your mouse traps to draw the field mice from their burrows and nests to your traps. If you have other pets in your home, make sure to place the bait and trap out of their reach to avoid any accidents.
An unconventional bait to use but one that fits a mouse's dietary needs. Since they are omnivores, wild mice have also been found to munch on other invertebrates and even carrion.
Learn More: Most Effective Mouse Trap Poison
Poisonous mouse trap baits have two forms: anticoagulants and non-anticoagulants. Anticoagulant baits stop the blood from clotting within the body. This causes the poisoned mice to die from internal bleeding over the course of a few days after it's eaten the bait. Non-anticoagulants, on the other hand, may work to shut down different parts of the mouse's body.
Choosing the best mouse poison to use will depend on a balance between the poison's potency and the level of safety you want to maintain. For this guide, we’ll be focusing on the potency of the active ingredients, and its required dosage amounts.
1) Single-Dose PoisonsThese are highly potent and can kill a mouse within a matter of hours. Each pellet or block of bait contains a lethal dose of poison within it, so caution is advised. Examples of single-dose poisons are: bromethalin, brodifacoum, and zinc phosphide.
Safety should be practiced when baiting with single-dose poisons as they may be highly dangerous if non-targets consume it. Ensure that your pets and children are far away from the bait to avoid serious health risks.
2) Multiple-Dose PoisonsWhile still packed with poison, multiple-dose poisons are less dangerous to handle. Their effect takes longer to work on the mouse and requires them to consistently get the bait. Examples of multiple-dose poisons are: cholecalciferol, warfarin, and diphacinone.
If you do use poisonous mouse baits, you need to dispose of the pest carcass properly. Wild animals will most likely eat the dead rodent; if the mouse was poisoned, there is a chance for secondary poisoning to happen, especially if you used single-dose poisons.
Bait doesn’t always have to be food. You can take advantage of some situations and settings to serve as bait to mice. Some non-food baits include warm areas, small spaces, and nesting materials. You can also use gloves, incorporate cotton balls into the bait, and use a different trap. These are conducive for trapping mice.
Bait doesn't always have to be food. You can attract mice by taking advantage of their behavioral patterns as well. In the colder seasons, mice tend to seek warmer areas for refuge, much like how we want to wrap ourselves in a blanket indoors during the winter time. Knowing this, you can try placing your traps in the warmer areas of your farm. This should increase the likelihood that a mouse will stumble upon your bait and trap.
A study found that when a field mouse was running away from a predator, it would seek shelter in small cracks and crevices. The difficult-to-reach spots gave them protection from any predator trying to snatch them from up above.
This is the reason why being on the lookout for tiny cracks and crevices in your farm will help you in controlling your mouse problem. Place your traps beside these small gaps and holes to make your bait as attractive as possible.
Mice build nests, and they can't do that without any materials. Nesting material such as twine or straws make for excellent alternative mouse bait.
When you're handling the mouse trap, use gloves. Using your bare hands, you will unintentionally rub your scent off onto the trap itself. Mice, with their powerful sense of smell, will sniff the trap and realize that a predator has touched it. This may make the mouse avoid the trap, no matter how enticing your bait is.
While the bait is important, you also need to think about enticing the mouse to stay. The longer they stay, the more likely they'll trigger the trap. For this reason, you can try placing cotton balls with the bait of the mouse trap. The cotton balls will stick to the mouse's mouth, forcing them to chew on it longer and increasing the chances of them triggering the trap.
Bait without an effective trap won't solve your problems; likewise, a trap without an attractive bait will be ineffective. If you find that you still aren't catching mice after a few weeks of testing your bait and trap combo, feel free to mix it up. There are many traps that you can use along with the baits of your choice.
One combination is using a humane trap like glue traps with poisonous bait; another would be electric traps with grain as bait. There is no guaranteed bait and trap combination, meaning you will need to find the one that works best for you.
Learn More: How to Keep a Mouse Trap Stationary
The first time that you see a mouse is when you need to start considering calling a professional. If left untreated, you can have a major rodent infestation on your hands, making it more difficult to contain.
When population reduction of rodents is taking too much of your time and causing you too much distress, it is recommended to let professionals such as Pinnacle Pest Control take care of your problem for you.
Pinnacle Pest Control removes, restores, and prevents pests from your home or business. We ensure the safety of you, your family, and the environment by strictly adhering to IPM, or integrated pest management, practices. If you want to learn more about our services, contact us today or visit our website.