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The Best Ways to Bait and Trap Mice and Rats

posted this on Nov 28, 2016


Mice and rats are pretty tough to catch without the right materials, they move quickly and can zip to and fro with ease and can even fit into the smallest of gaps and openings. You may not be able to outmaneuver them but you can definitely be able to outsmart them with the right products.


At Solutions Stores we carry the best mouse trap and rat trap products available on the market. We have lethal (like the Big Snap-E Rat Trap) and non-lethal (Catchmaster Rat Glue Boards - Glue Tray 48R) varieties of traps that you can lay out in strategic areas where rats and mice are sure to embark upon and be seized. However, the most effective way for rats and mice to land onto those traps is by using the right bait to lure them in.

Know Your Enemies Before Baiting Them

To find the best bait for mouse traps and rat traps, you have to first identify the intruder that you have in your home. Is he a mouse or a rat, and once you know which, then what kind of mouse or rat are they? By finding out the species of mouse or rat you have and studying their habits and tendencies, you can then figure out the best bait to place into their mouse traps and rat traps. Here is a rundown of the usual suspects which commonly invade the home:


norway ratThe Norway rat is perhaps the most common type of rat which is known by many other names such as the barn rat, brown rat, common rat, gray rat, house rat, water rat, wharf rat, sewer rat, and super rat. The Norway rat is native to northern China and via travel, they’ve become prevalent all over the United States and Canada.  The Norway rat is also one of the most common rats found in Europe which may be the reason why they were given the name the Norway rat. The Norway rat has become so prolific in so many different varieties of climates that they can be found practically on every continent in the world except for Antarctica due to its freezing temperatures.


Norway rats can grow quite large with the typical size of an average Norway rat reaching up to 16 inches  (40 cm) measured from their nose to the very end of their tail. Norway rats usually have brown or grayish colored fur. They have small ears and a blunt nose and have tails that are shorter than their body. Norway rats have large droppings which also differentiate them from mice, ranging from about ¾ inch (16-20 mm) long, and resembling the shape of a capsule. Norway rats prefer creating their habitats in areas that are low to the ground such as on soil, in sewers, basements, and the ground floors of the home. Norway rats diet consists of basically anything they can get their hands on and they can survive extreme weather conditions.



roof rat

The Roof Rat is the other common type of rat which can invade a home or building. Originated in tropical Asia, the roof rat is also known as the black rat or a ship rat because of their tendency to usually have black colored fur and frequently sneaking onto cargo ships, which is largely why they made their way over here to the United States. Roof rats are common all over the world. Compared to Norway rats, the roof rat is slightly smaller in size, ranging up to 12 inches from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail. Unlike the Norway rat, the roof rat’s tail is longer than their bodies. Their ears are large and their noses are pointy. Their droppings are also small, reaching about ½ inch (12 mm) long with pointed ends. In the wild, black rats live in trees, favoring dead palm fronds and dead vegetation. However, since the industrialization of society, roof rats have enjoyed being close to human dwellings and have selected roofs and attics of homes and buildings as their primary place of residence. Roof rats are actually very picky in regards to what they like to eat and cannot handle cold temperatures well. 


house mouseThe house mouse, is the most common mouse to venture on in human dwellings. Originally from East Asia, the house mouse has traveled a long way via hopping aboard cargo and trade ships to the western hemisphere where they have become the most common rodent intruder in homes. The adult house mouse can reach sizes between 5 ½ to 7 inches in length including the tail and has a rounder body shape.  House mice have big ears and tiny dark eyes. The house mouse’s fur can range in color from brown to grayish-black and they usually have a lighter colored underbelly. The most obvious sign that a homeowner has house mice present is the presence of their droppings, which are about 1/8-1/4 inch long and rod shaped. House mice are omnivorous and when in the home they will eat just about anything. House mice like warmth and will nuzzle into little nooks and crannies in a home to hide, coming out primarily at night to look for food and cause destruction.



Choosing The Right Rat and Mouse Bait

The best wait to look at baiting and trapping rodents like rats and mice is by looking at parallels in fishing. People who are the most successful at fishing usually are because they are using the right bait.  If you don’t utilize the best bait for catching rats and mice, you may not catch any at all. While rats and mice will eat just about anything, when you use the best bait for the situation you’ll catch a lot more of those rodents and be able to get rid of your rodent problem sooner.


While you’ve probably seen from childhood cartoons that a piece of cheese is the go-to bait for rodents, it may actually not work the best when it comes to actually trapping them. Because the cheese is usually solid, it could be swiped up without triggering the trap. What has been proven to work the best with mice and rats is sticky and aromatic baits like peanut butter.


We carry peanut butter flavored baits like Eratication Rodent Bait and JT Eaton Peanutbutter Rat Mouse Bait Blocks which rats and mice will be powerless to resist. These work great in tandem with traps because if the traps don’t put a stop to their destruction, the bait certainly will.




How Much Bait Should I Use?

It isn’t necessary to use a lot of bait, and it is probably a good idea to use just a small amount. The idea is not to feed the mouse or rat, but to lure them to the trap. With that being the case, you will need just enough bait to emit a strong smell that the rat or mouse can easily detect, without having too much bait.


Where To Place the Bait?

When it comes to snap traps, the bait needs to be placed on the trigger mechanism. There are usually a few short metal spikes on the trigger to firmly hold the bait. Make sure the bait is held tightly by the snap trap, so that the rat or mouse cannot swipe it without triggering the trap.

With glue traps, always place the bait as far into the trap as possible so the rodent will be able to step onto the glue and get stuck.


How Long Do You Leave The Bait and/or Trap Out?

If you have a large infestation of rats or mice, you don’t have to worry about leaving bait out too long because they’ll gladly swipe up and share the bait around. However, if you only have the occasional rat or mouse problem, the bait may be left in the trap for several days without any mouse trying to eat it. However, if it is taking that long and no rodent is trying to go after it, the problem may be that the trap isn’t positioned in an ideal place.


What Do You Do If The Rodents aren’t Taking The Bait?

If mice aren’t taking the bait it could mean that they have access to other food that is easier and less threatening to get to that they don’t really need to go after the delicious bait. This is a sanitation and exclusion issue. You may have to do a better job cleaning and sanitizing the area to

ensure that the only food supply available to the rats and mice is the bait in the trap. You could also try coating the bait with strong smelling sticky foods like peanut butter, chocolate and cream cheeses. Performing these extra measures will ensure success and they will take the bait and be trapped in no time.


If You Can’t Bait Them, Trap Them

While baiting on its own can be effective, given the circumstances and the cleverness of the mouse or rat, it can take longer for bait to work or may not work at all if they realize that they are trying to be poisoned. In such cases, it may be better to trap rats and mice. Trapping is known to be a much faster means of capturing rats and mice and is usually a much better alternative for rodent control for various reasons.


Different Types of Rodent Traps

There are various types of traps out on the pest control market that can successfully trap rodents and fortunately for you, Solutions Pest & Lawn carries all of the varieties. Each trap has its own advantages and disadvantages and depending on your personal preference you can choose the best trap for you to capture the rodent intruder in your home.


Rat and Mice Snap TrapsT-rex

While the traditional variety is still available, rat and mouse traps have come a long way from the old wooden snap trap versions. Snap traps are effective because they promise a quick and instant kill. Snap traps like the Trapper T-Rex Snap Traps are easy to use and easy to set up.


Advantages and Disadvantages: Snap traps are a great inexpensive method of trapping rats and mice that are sneaking around in your home and causing havoc. There’s really nothing complicated about setting one up and laying out a bait like peanut butter (one of the best baits for mouse traps) and placing it in an active area.


However, for people that may be squeamish about seeing a bloody dead body of a captured rat or mouse, a snap trap may not be an ideal option for you. That’s why there are humane and non-lethal traps also available.


Also, due to the snap mechanism, you have to be careful about accidentally setting the trap on yourself or having a pet of a child mess with the trap and have it snap on them because these traps are strong and can break a finger. A work around to this is putting the trap inside of an Aegis RP Rodent Bait Station.


Glue Traps for Rats and Miceglue board for capturing mice

If you’re not a fan of the blood and guts that come from a lethal snap trap but still want to catch a rat or mouse in their tracks, a glue board can serve as an excellent trap to catch stray rodents.


Here at Solutions Pest & Lawn we have a number of different glue boards available such as the Catchmaster 72MB Glue Board which comes with a convenient peanut butter scent to lure unsuspecting mice to the trap. For those big ugly rats we have Catchmaster Rat Glue Boards - Glue Tray 48R which are heavy duty and can get a large rat stuck in its tray.


Glue boards are even easier than snap traps to set up since all you have to do is take them out of the packaging and lay them out strategically. After inspecting areas where you have seen the mouse or rat frequenting, place the rat or mouse glue boards in those areas. Your best bet is to place the glue traps directly in their runways. Rats and mice both have a tendency to travel along baseboards and walls, since they use the walls for guidance, especially when it is dark.


Place glue traps where there has been rodent activity and it can even help to bait the mouse trap glue board with peanut butter or little bits of food to make it more likely for them to be lured on to the glue tray.


Advantages and disadvantages: Using glue traps for rats and mice are safer to use than snap traps. You don’t have to worry about you or a loved one getting their finger caught on the trap unless again, you encase the trap in a bait station.


Glue traps also work well because the targeted rat or mouse is less likely to shy away from a glue tray because it’s more low-key than a lethal snap trap. While snap traps are a cheap rodent control method, glue traps are even more affordable and can be placed in more places because it takes up less space.


On the minus side, while it’s not an instant killer of mice and rats, it can still be seen as inhumane to some. A mouse or rat will not be able to move due to the glue which can be viewed as a cruel way of adding suffering on top of being captured. If this describes you, we would suggest using a trap such as the Tin Cat Humane Mouse Trap. Also glue traps need to be kept in a dry and dust free area or else it will lose it’s sticky effectiveness.


Live Animal Humane Trapshumane method of trapping mice

If you want to be compassionate to the critters that have been ransacking your home, there are traps designed to make sure the offending rat or mouse will be captured alive and then you can dispose of them or release them should you so choose.


We have the Havahart Live Trap in a smaller size meant for squirrels but you can also use it to catch rats. There is also the Tin Cat Humane Mouse Trap like we mentioned before and the Ketch-All Humane Mouse Trap. These traps have the capacity to capture multiple mice and rats in case you have an infestation.


Humane traps are also easy to use. Place a recommend best bait for the mouse trap such as cheese, peanut butter or another type of food that rodents love to eat inside the trap to serve as a lure. Once the rodent notices the scent of the food source, they will go through the traps multiple entrances and will be sealed inside with no escape. Then you can easily take the mice out into the wild or give them to animal control, no harm done.


Tips on Trapping Rats and Mice

No matter what method of trapping and baiting you choose, there is a right way to bait and trap and there are wrong ways to bait and trap. By taking heed to the following tips, you can eliminate frustration and increase chances of success in capturing intruding rodents in your home and ridding them for good.


  1. Don’t think “one and done”. Even if you only have a single rat or mouse on the premises, you shouldn’t think you need just one rat or mouse trap. These rodents are crafty and maneuverable. The more traps you lay out, the greater the chances and the faster you can capture the troublemaking rodent.

  2. Make sure you purchase the right trap for the rodent you’re dealing with. Sometimes a DIYer buys a trap that is meant for mice to try and catch a rat. A typical mouse trap is usually not big enough to catch rats.

  3. Place mouse and rat traps in areas where you have seen the most activity. These areas may include darkened corners, along walls, behind appliances and objects. The biggest helper in figuring out where you should place traps is by finding rat or mouse droppings.

  4. Traps work best when they are placed against a wall because both mice and rats like to run along walls to avoid being spotted.

  5. We recommend using a bait station with snap traps to be on the safe side. In some cases this will entice the rat or mouse better than just a trap on its own. Also a bait station helps to protect animals and children from the danger of having their fingers or paws caught in a trap. Note that this will only work with the smaller snap traps as the larger ones can’t fit functionally in a bait station.

  6. We recommend using gloves when setting and baiting mouse traps and rat traps. This is because with bare hands your human scent can be placed on the trap and the rat or mouse will be able to detect it and be weary of going near the trap or taking the bait.

  7. If you are buying traps for a commercial building, it may be necessary to purchase  and set as many as 2-3 dozen mouse or rat traps to eliminate an infestation.

  8. A good trick is to lay snap traps out without setting them for a couple of days. Place a bait like Eratication Rodent Bait or just plain peanut butter down on the mouse trap or rat trap. This will give the rats and mice a false sense of security consuming the bait on the trap. On the third day, lay out more bait and then set the trap.

  9. Even after carrying out the tip from #8, there may still be rats or mice around that will not take the bait. They will become cautious of any baits and traps after seeing one of the more inferior rats or mice perish or get caught by a trap. For these clever rats and mice, you may need to use a live trap to capture them or a rodenticide bait.

  10. Make sure that before handling trap, you also do not touch your pets as their scent can get on the trap or lure and the rodent will avoid it.

  11. Avoid handling dead rodents with bare hands when trying to dispose of them as you may be exposing yourself to disease.



Categories: Pest Control Rodents
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