Baiting Tips

Baiting Tips

Discovering you’ve got a rat or mouse infestation can be the start of a long rodent control process. Once you’ve decided what kind of trap you want to use, you need to make sure these are set and baited to ensure maximum effectiveness. Selecting the right bait can make the difference in being successful or not. The Big Cheese has compiled a list of useful tips for selecting a bait for your rat and mouse traps to help eliminate those pesky invaders.

Effective baits for mice and rats are:

  • Sweet and appealing

It’s always best to use a bait that appeals to the rat or mouse. They have sensitive noses so something with a good scent will call to them. We recommend jam and chocolate spread. Although they’ll eat almost anything, food high in protein or fat are also winners. Examples include wet cat or dog food, bacon or even bacon grease.

  • Sticky and difficult to remove

Despite cartoon mice often chasing a chunk of cheese, this doesn’t make the best bait. Bits of cheese or chunks of chocolate are easy to remove from traps without the mouse or rat ever triggering it. Given how quick rodents are, it’s possible for them to run up and grab the bait without touching the pedal. Some will even knock the bait from the pedal where it’s safer for them to grab it. Use a sticky substance, such as jam, which is harder to remove from the bait pedal. They’ll need to apply pressure and take longer to eat it.

Mice prefer seeds and grains so hazelnut spread or peanut butter ticks both boxes. You can also mix nuts and grains with maple syrup, honey, or peanut butter to increase the appeal. The mouse or rat will have to work at the sticky substance to remove the grains inside.

Other food sources

If you’re targeting an area where rats and mice have had access to another food source, clear this away. If there’s competition for food then the rodents will choose the source they’re already familiar with. Consider baiting the traps with the food the rats and mice have already been taking, adding something sticky to hold it in place if needed.

Avoid overloading

Don’t put too much bait on the trap – overloading the trap will make it easier for the rodents to eat it without triggering the trap. A pea-sized amount is enough to lure the rat or mouse in and get them on the bait pedal.

Consider non-edible bait

In winter months, rodents will be scavenging for materials to help build nests. You may find that placing twine, wool, cotton balls or dental floss around the bait pedal will attract rodents seeking nest materials. Wrap this type of bait around the pedal so the mouse or rat has to get on the pedal to free it.

Allow familiarization

It can be worthwhile baiting traps and not setting them before positioning them. This gives the rats and mice an opportunity to get used to the traps. When you notice the bait disappearing, it’s time for you to start setting the traps. If the bait isn’t disappearing, consider whether you’ve positioned the traps in the correct locations – are they placed alongside walls? Are you targeting an area where there’s confirmed rodent activity? Alternatively, consider trying a different bait.

Fresh ‘n Tasty bait

Several traps from The Big Cheese come pre-baited with our specially formulated Fresh ‘n Tasty bait. Made from prune paste, the bait contains the sweet-smelling substance to lure rodents in. It’s sticky too so isn’t easy to remove from the bait pedal. When you’re ready to set your trap, expose the bait by removing the bait cap. When it comes to re-baiting and re-using the traps, purchase #163 Mouse & Rat Attractant to re-fill the bait well, or use one of the baits suggested above.

Click here to view the full range of Fresh ‘n Tasty traps.


Check on your baited traps to keep them fresh – avoid baits rotting or drying out as these won’t appeal as much to the rodents.

If baiting live catch cage traps, position the bait underneath the trigger mechanism. This will ensure that the animal is securely on the bait pedal when the trap closes.

Wear gloves when handling traps and applying bait. A natural process, humans release oils and scents that transfer during contact. Sensitive rodent noses will be able to detect these on traps and will stay away from them.

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