What Is the Best Bait for a Mousetrap?

The best mouse bait for a trap

You have recognised you have a mouse problem, you have sought out a solution and your traps are ready and waiting. But where are all the mice that have been plaguing you for months, and why don’t they want to visit for tea? Below I share my top tips for the best mousetrap bait that are sure to lure even the toughest food critics.

The best mouse trap bait includes peanut butter, smelly cheese, chocolate, cured meats, bird seed, maple syrup, dog or cat food, breakfast cereals and candy. Always use gloves or knife to place bait on a mouse trap so you don't leave a scent.

Friend or foe the mouse must be trapped!

Mice may only be small by they are unbelievably destructive, gnawing and burrowing their way through your home. From attics to basements and insulation to wires, nowhere is safe from these cute little pests.

The thing about mice is that are incredibly smart! Their sense of smell, taste, touch and sound are extraordinarily powerful which makes trapping them a real challenge. Plus, they can be fussy when it comes to food, turning their little twitchy noses up at all kinds of tempting and tantalising baits. And, what can thought of as food heaven for one mouse may be food hell for another, as just like children, mice can be painstakingly picky.

peanut butter - best mouse trap bait
Mice love peanut butter! One of the best baits to use on a mouse trap!

My top eleven best mouse trap baits of choice:

They come into our home, scoop up our leftover crumbs, nibble on pet food and gorge on our cheese, yet place any of these food items inside a mouse trap and not one little rodent comes near it! Go figure?

After years of attempting to tempt mice, this is what I have learnt: –

  1. Peanut butter: Mice will quite literally go nuts for this bait, and the sweeter, stickier and crunchier the better. If that doesn’t work or you don’t have any to hand, then try a dollop of chocolate hazelnut spread, as I have found that this also goes down a treat. Due to their glue-like consistencies, mice find these spreads difficult to remove from the traps, so will happily stay to munch it all up.
  2. Strong smelling cheese: Yes, it’s a cliché but mice really do enjoy a cheese board. The smellier you can find the more likely you are to attract them. I also find that by adding a broken cracker, spread with a thin layer of butter makes it the perfect after dinner treat for any mouse.
  3. Chocolate: Who can resist a piece of chocolate? Not even mice it appears. I have, in the name of research, had to consume a lot of chocolate myself in order to find the perfect bait bar and I found it in the shape of a Snickers Almond. Chocolate, caramel and nuts are a winning combination in fighting the war on mice.
  4. Cured meats: Choose a slice of salami, a cut of chorizo or a bit of bacon for your trap. Mice enjoy consuming it and the good news it that it won’t go off when left hanging around for a while.
  5. Bird seed: This works well as mice are already used to foraging for seeds outdoors, so it is a familiar food for a mouse. The difficulty with bird seed, however, is that it is easy to sneak from the trap, so I would advise rolling it in butter or jam to make it stick.
  6. Maple syrup: These little rodents have sweet teeth, so anything of the sugary/syrupy variety is sure to be a hit (quite literally!). If you do not have maple syrup, why not try golden syrup or even honey?
  7. Dog or cat food: Attracted by the smell, mice love a chunk of pet food. But make sure you use the fresh, wet kind from a tin, rather than the dry packet mix.
  8. Breakfast cereals: You know the sugary cereal you are constantly denying your children each morning? Well these have proven to be the perfect mice catching bait. So next time you are in the grocery store throw some fruit loops in your basket – no one will judge you!
  9. Candy: Sticking with the sweet theme, jelly beans and gummies are great for luring mice, just remember to affix them to the trap.
  10. Strawberry jam: A spoonful of jam when served up on a plate will have mice running in the right direction – straight into your trap. I have tried a variety of flavours from blackberry to apricot, but strawberry seems to be the jam of choice.
  11. Fast food: There has been some debate lately as to whether fast food such as burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and pizza make good bait, since this is often what is attracting our inner-city rodent situations. I have yet to try it, but if you do have any leftover takeaway, rather than throw it in the trash why not add it to your trap?

best bait for mouse trap includes peanut butter, chocolate and smell cheese

What to do if your mouse trap bait fails to attract a bite

You’ve chosen your bait, you have set the trap and now you lay in wait… and wait and wait…

If you are failing to catch any mice I would suggest that you look at the following: –

Could you have placed the trap in the wrong place or has it simply not been noticed. Try moving your traps around the room to see if that makes a difference. Remember, mice are often heard but not seen as they have a fear of open spaces. You are much more likely to achieve success if your trap is placed under furniture or against a wall out of sight.

Mice are known for the discerning pallets, so I would always recommend mixing up your bait to see which ones they prefer. Just because they are not bothered by one type of bait doesn’t mean they won’t come scampering for another.

Sneaky little pests, mice are well adept at treading lightly. In fact, I have seen mice literally tiptoe into traps, failing to set them off. If you think this could be the case and there is evidence of activity around your trap, then check the trigger sensitivity. Also remember not to over fill the trap. By doing this, you are allowing the mouse to climb in undetected. A pea sized amount of bait should be plenty.

Mice can detect our presence so make sure that you do not handle the bait directly. Always wear rubber gloves and use kitchen appliances to help you place it in the trap.

Finally, mice are often wary of new objects placed in their path, so don’t be surprised if for the first few days your trap stays inactive. They may just be checking it out to see if it proves a threat before approaching.


Before attempting to remove mice from your property I would always suggest monitoring its activity beforehand. This may give you vital clues as to where it ventures and what it likes and doesn’t like to eat. By using this information, you can tailor make a menu to suit and strategically placing mouse traps around your home.

As mice use their sensitive noses to seek out new food sources, the smellier you can make the bait the better. To stop them getting their grub and leaving, you need to ensure that your bait is well secured, so sticky substances are useful. Good luck!

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