Squirrels in the Attic

What is the Best Bait to Catch Squirrels?

Bait: peanut butter and whole peanuts in the shell. But wait! Bait doesn't matter! It's trap location that is key!

Squirrel Bait - What is the Best Bait to Catch Squirrels?

Squirrels will readily enter cage traps. They like to explore. They like a variety of foods. You can use several types of baits or foods to catch squirrels in a cage trap. Peanut butter is great, with the peanut butter smeared on the trap pan, and some whole peanuts in the shell stuck to the peanut butter, or any kind of seed or nut. They'll even eat bread, marshmallows, a whole bunch of foods.

But here's the deal: when it comes to trapping, bait is the least important concern. With squirrels in the attic, the most important thing is to get the correct target squirrels, not every last squirrel in the neighborhood. You want to find out how the squirrels are entering your house, through some hole, and mount a repeater trap right on that hole. No bait required! If a squirrel is reluctant to enter the repeater trap, thirst becomes the top priority, and in that case, orange slices are actually best. Same if you've got a squirrel stuck inside a building. Trapping is about a lot more than just bait! Bait is the least important part of the equation. Read more about squirrel trapping for tips and proper techniques.

Squirrel Bait - What is the Best Bait to Catch Squirrels?

They Like Peanuts

As you can see in this photograph of squirrel droppings in an attic, they have brough in peanut shells from outside. They like all kinds of nuts.

Squirrels Even Like Marshmallows

They will enter traps for a variety of baits, even foods like marshmallows or bread. But in reality, nut-based baits are the best, like peanut butter or seeds.

Type of Trap is More Important

In reality, a trap mounted right on the entry/exit hole will catch the target squirrels with no bait at all! This type of trap is far better than a baited cage.

Location Matters As Well

Location of the squirrel trap is far more important than type of bait. Here is a trap mounted on a roof, near the squirrel entry hole. A trap on the ground will fail.

Information About Squirrel Bait - What is the Best Bait to Catch Squirrels?

Squirrel Bait – What Is The Best Bait To Catch Squirrels?
Whether squirrels are running around your home or in your attic, you will need to trap and remove these animals to get them out of your house. Exclusion works well in many situations, but trapping can also be effective, provided you set up the trap correctly, including opting for the correct bait.

Great Bait Options
When it comes time to catch squirrels, don’t stress out too much about which bait you should be using. The good news is that the bait doesn’t matter as much as some of the other factors. That being said, peanut butter is perhaps the most popular bait for squirrels. This is a very convenient option since almost everyone already has it in their pantry and if not, you can find it at any store. Peanut butter also has the advantage of spreading easily and staying in place because it is sticky. This bait is also one of the options that is most likely to deliver successful results.

Proving that at least some stereotypes are based on fact, squirrels are big fans of nuts as well as seeds. That is partly why using peanut butter as bait works so well. If you don’t have peanut butter but happen to have some sunflower seeds or peanuts, use these instead. Just make sure they are still in their shells and unsalted. Many experts even suggest combining nuts or seeds with peanut butter. You can put the peanut butter inside and the nuts outside or vice versa and should get the desired results.

Never Use Poison Baits
The only rule when it comes to baits for catching squirrels is that you should never ever use poisoned bait. There is always the possibility that the animal will get the bait without being trapped by knocking it down or something. If this happens, the squirrel may die and be impossible to find, requiring extensive searching or even requiring you to rip down walls to find it. There is also the risk that a family pet will find the poison bait in that case.

Trapping Without Bait
No matter which of the baits mentioned above you choose to use to catch squirrels, you will want to pay close attention to how you set the trap, the type of trap, and where you put it. In fact, if you use a repeater trap or a one-way door, you won’t even need to use any bait to catch squirrels. Repeater traps are mounted right on a building or over the entrance that the animals are using to get in and out of your home or other building. Since they will normally be leaving through this hole, you just attach the repeater trap over it and don’t need anything to tempt them in the way of bait; they would be going there anyway. The same is true of one-way doors or exclusion devices. These are also placed over the squirrels’ preferred entrance and while the animals are able to leave, they can’t get back inside and no bait whatsoever is needed.

Using Cage Traps
If you are using a cage trap to catch squirrels, then you will want to use bait and pay attention to other factors as well. In addition to placing peanut butter or seeds inside the cage, you need to make sure it is the right size. If it too big, it may not shut or the squirrels may injure themselves while traps that are too large may not close. The ideal squirrel trap will be about 6 inches high and wide and 14 to 18 inches long.

Other Things That Matter
In addition to picking the right type of trap and bait, you need to pay attention to a few other key factors when catching squirrels. Make sure the trap is always on a stable, secure surface. If it is unbalanced, the squirrel may not feel comfortable entering. You also want to avoid setting up traps in the sun to avoid accidentally killing the squirrel via heat exhaustion.

Prevent More Problems
Remember that simply trapping a squirrel or group of them and removing these animals from your home won’t resolve your problem. Unless you figure out how they got inside your attic, walls, living areas, or other area, more will come inside, taking the place of those you trapped. To avoid this, find how the squirrels got inside and seal up these holes. This is the only way to ensure that more wildlife won’t enter your home.

Consult A Professional
Even with the proper bait, it is not always easy to catch a squirrel or position the trap correctly. A professional can take care of every aspect of the trapping, from choosing the bait to placing the trap to taking care of the squirrel after. Best of all, you don’t have to figure out what to do with the squirrel or go out and buy a trap if you hire an expert.

The Bottom Line

Squirrel Bait - What is the Best Bait to Catch Squirrels? Remember, a repeater trap bolted to the exit hole is far more effective than a cage trap. No bait needed! But if you're using a cage trap, set it in the right locations, bolted to the roof or fascia boards, and in the shade, and bait it with peanut butter and seeds or whole peanuts in the shell.