Do Mouse Traps With Fake Bait Work?

bait station for mice and rats

Mouse traps and glue boards are simple and affordable ways to decrease rodent populations. These anti-pest devices are only as good as the bait used, which is why it’s important to carefully choose which bait is the best one. Instead of poisonous baits that might harm non-target animals and children, other people use fake bait for their disposable mousetraps instead.

So are fake baits effective in luring mice into a trap? Fake baits don’t usually work on attracting mice because the smell it emits isn’t enough to catch the mice’s attention. It’s better to use other mouse trap bait like food bait, nesting bait, and specialty bait. 

Read More: How to Keep a Mouse Trap Stationary

The Problem With Using Fake Baits for Mouse Traps

According to the National Pest Management Association, about 29% of Americans have had a rodent infestation in their home at least once. These pests are known for causing structural problems and bringing a variety of infectious diseases. Even an encounter with dead mice is enough to put people at risk of diseases like salmonella, leptospirosis, and hantavirus.

It’s important to get rid of mouse activity quickly before they start causing even more damage to the household. One of the most effective rodent control methods used to eliminate them is using mouse traps. These anti-pest contraptions come in different shapes, sizes, and types -- such as electronic traps, mechanical traps, snap traps, and glue traps.

Almost all of these mouse traps require bait to lure mice in and kill them. Using the right bait is an important part of the entire mouse control plan because putting the wrong one won’t do much damage to the mouse populations.

Many people try using fake baits for different reasons – they might find good bait costly, or they simply can’t find good alternative baits in their house. Regardless of their reason, fake baits aren’t the best choice for attracting mice and luring them into a classic mouse trap.

Mice have a keen sense of smell that allows them to locate food supply and a water source in a property. If they’re lured in the kitchen because of the smell of peanut butter and bacon grease, then there’s a huge chance that they’ll ignore the fake bait set in another part of the house. Instead of using fake baits to lure them in, it’s better to use something that already attracts them.

Finding out which type of bait works best for mice is a long process of trials and errors. Some homeowners might find peanut butter most effective, but other homeowners might use meat because it produces better results for them. There are also other factors to consider, such as the amount of bait used and placement of the trap. 

Read More: 3 Good Alternatives to Glue Traps for Mice

The Myth of Cheese as a Mouse Bait

mice teamworking to get the cheese from a mouse trap

Popular culture and the media have always portrayed mice as cheese-loving creatures, but that’s not exactly true. Although mice are opportunistic feeders that eat anything available for them, cheese isn’t at the top of their list.

One possible reason is that cheese isn’t usually available in the wild. Mice wouldn’t be lured in by food baits that they haven’t been exposed to before. Another reason is that most types of cheese emit a pungent smell that irritates the sensitive noses of mice. Cheese might even drive them away from the trap instead of attracting them.

Mice also prefer sweet, sugary foods. Their diet usually consists of grains, vegetables, and fruits. Cheese is made up of proteins that aren’t sweet, which is why mice are more likely to get lured by a chunk of chocolate than a chunk of cheese.

Like cheese, fake baits won’t really attract mice if the other food they like is also accessible to them. If you want to keep using cheese or fake bait to attract mice into a trap, then cut off their access to food so they won’t have a choice but to take their chances on the fake bait. 

3 Best Alternatives to Fake Baits

Mice are attracted to a lot of things so make sure to keep this in mind when baiting them instead of using cheese and fake bait. Here are the three types of mouse baits homeowners can use to effectively lure mice out of hiding: 

  1. Food Baits

Food is the most common bait type used for humane traps. It’s highly effective because mice enter houses when they’re looking for a food source. Although these pests eat almost anything they get their little hands on, some food baits are more effective than others. Here are some of the best food baits to use for different types of mouse traps at home:

  • Nuts – Nuts and their byproducts (like hazelnut spread and peanut butter) are extremely effective in luring mice out. They check all the boxes in food that mice want – strong but pleasant smell, sweet, and packed with proteins. A sticky bait is especially effective because the consistency makes it hard for the mouse to run away with the bait without setting off the trap.
  • Fruits – Mice like the sweetness and juiciness of fruits like pears, apples, blackberries, and strawberries. Try putting pieces of dried fruit or a smear of fruit jam on the mouse trap to attract mice. Just be sure to check the trap regularly and see if the bait needs to be replaced.
  • Sweets – Snacks like marshmallows and gumdrops are also effective in attracting mice because these rodents like sweet, sugary food. Make sure to melt the sweet bait first before putting them on the trap so that they won’t be easily taken by the mice. Another good option for baiting mice using sweets is chocolate.
  • Meat – Meat isn’t a favorite for pesky rodents, but it’s still an enticing bait for them because of its high protein content. Use cooked bacon or beef jerky to lure mice out of hiding and catch them with carefully placed humane mouse traps.
  • Pet Food – This type of food bait attracts mice because it’s packed with proteins and nutrients that rodents need to survive. Wet the pet food first before placing it on the trap so that it’s more difficult for the mice to lick the bait clean. This increases their chances of getting caught in the trap. 
  1. Nesting Baits

If food bait isn’t working, try using nesting baits instead. This type of mouse bait is especially effective during the colder months as female mice look for materials that make their nest feel warm and comfortable. These rodents might look for the following nesting materials around the house:

  • Fabric – Scraps of cloth or fabric are also effective mouse baiting materials. Make this fabric more enticing for mouse populations by dropping some vanilla extract on it.
  • Cotton – Cotton is one of the best non-food baits for attracting mice out of hiding. Tie the cotton ball on the trigger carefully so the mouse is forced to pull the cotton and get caught instantly.
  • Yarn – String-like materials like yarn, twine, and dental floss are also attractive for mice. Like cotton balls, make sure to tie the yarn or twine to the trigger so the mouse gets caught when it attempts to grab the string.
  • Paper – Mice like chewing on paper materials like boxes and cardboard. Put some of the shredded paper on the mouse trap to attract the mice and catch them. 
  1. Specialty Baits

Homeowners may also try using chemical baits found on the market. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions in using them because some of these baits contain poison and harmful chemicals, making them dangerous for children and pets. If you’re considering using specialty baits to catch mice at home, here are some of the best ones to find online:

  • Provoke Professional Gel – Even a pea-sized amount of this gel is enough to attract a few rodents in the house. It’s also non-staining and hypoallergenic, making it easier to clean when reusing the mouse trap.
  • Victor Easy Set Mouse Traps – This trap already contains mouse bait so there’s no need to worry about putting or replacing the bait. Just leave the trap in a place with signs of rodent activity (mouse droppings, mouse tracks, and rodent urine) and let it do its job.
  • Tomcat Attractant Gel – This premixed gel is easy to use – just put a small dollop from its no-drip bottle to the mouse trap to lure mice out of hiding. Tomcat is a trusted brand that produces some of the most effective mouse and rat traps and baits, so you’re sure that this attractant gel also works well in attracting mice. 

Learn More: Are Mouse Traps Harmful to Humans?

Why Your Mouse Traps or Bait Stations Don’t Work and What to Do About It

Although commercial mouse traps are one of the most common ways to eliminate mice on a property, they might not work for some people. If you’ve tried baiting these adult mice for days but the results are yet to show, here are some of the most common mouse trap mistakes you’re probably making:

  • Installing the Bait with Bare Hands: Contaminating the bait with a human scent only scares the rodents off. Use gloves when setting up the trap to avoid leaving your scent on the bait.
  • Using the Wrong Bait: Some baits are more effective than others, which is why it’s normal to switch between baits before finding one that works best for you. Mice love sweet and strongly scented food, so try using peanut butter and chocolate first.
  • Placing the Mouse Trap in the Wrong Place: Dark places aren’t necessarily the best places for mouse traps. Do your research first and look for signs of mice activity. These places are usually the best areas where mouse traps work well.
  • Putting Too Little or Too Much Bait: The safest amount of bait that works best is a pea-sized amount. Putting too little might not be enough to attract these rodents while putting too much might prevent them from triggering the trap. 

High-Quality Rodent Extermination Services by Pinnacle Pest Control

professional pest control worker inspecting the attic for rodent infestation

No matter how effective mouse traps and baits are, they can only do so much when it comes to eliminating the root of the mouse infestation at home. Calling a pest management professional like Pinnacle Pest Control is still the best way to get rid of pesky house mice for good. Our highly trained team offers customized IPM-based solutions to eliminate the mouse populations without harming your family, home, and the environment.

Know more about our services by visiting us online or calling us at (916) 381 – 5793 to get a free quote.

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