If you find yourself reading this article, there is a good chance you are battling it out with a smart rodent, or even a smart colony. Perhaps you have tried every bait, every trap, and every pest control company and still no luck? More than the bait or equipment, when it comes to an educated rat or mouse, the approach is what counts. The method I am going to share with you will enable you not only efficiently control populations and catch smart mice and rats, but this will help you catch the one. The last one, the one that drives you crazy.

Before we begin, you must understand that if you have not properly addressed the root cause – available resources and/or structural access points – you can expect to be trapping a never-ending flow of rodents. See our post: DIY Pest Proofing Guide For Rodents

Step 1: Prebaiting & Habituation

During this step, we are going to let the rats and or mice have a free meal – a party really – inside and on the device. We put extra food inside the station(s) and fully bait the trap (as referenced by the green fluff), and brace the trap open so it will not fire.

It might take one night or it might take longer, but wait until all of the bait is gone and there is visible evidence of rodents in the station. Whatever rodents partook in the party, are going to return with their guard down and likely trigger the trap. Proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Active Trapping

Bait only the trap bowl with the same bait and remove the brace to set the trap live. We are going to expect immediate action, potentially for multiple nights. Check daily and rebait, continue until there is no action for a few days. 

Step 3: Return to Step 1

Back to habituation. Prop the trap open and go for another round. Not getting any action? Try switching the bait up. 

We rinse and repeat this process, changing up baits and possibly equipment if needed, but eventually this method claims even the smartest rodent.

What To Use For Bait?

There is no “best bait”, what works best in one situation may not work well in another. It comes down to what is available to the rodents in your location, what are they eating all the time, and what are they deficient in. You don’t know, so keep changing it up until something hits. Human food is fine, you really do not need specialized bait. Here are the go-tos: 

  • peanut butter
  • nutella
  • jam
  • honey
  • beef jerky
  • oats
  • granola
  • bacon fat

Pro Tip:

If the rodents are managing to eat the bait without firing your trap, depending on the type you are using, you can set the bait further back on the pan to force them to commit to the pan more.

It really is a less is more situation.

If you follow this guide and still have problems, you likely have rodents that have easy access to resources. Check your property inside and out for resources and activity. Rodents will commonly live in a structure and forage outside nightly. 

If you need further help, please reach out to the Humane Solutions Inc. team for professional mouse & rat trapping services.

author avatar