Squirrels won’t step into your traps without bait, and if you don’t bait your squirrel traps right, you will never get rid of your overhead rodent infestation. Here are eight simple rules for success in catching squirrels by using the right bait in the right way.
#1 Never touch squirrel bait with bare hands
Squirrels have a superb sense of smell. They can detect minute traces of your pheromones in sweat transferred from your fingers to their food. Always wear gloves when handling the bait you put in your squirrel trap. The kinds of latex gloves used in medical procedures or rubber gloves you use for household chores will do.
#2 If the squirrel is stealing birdseed, use birdseed as the bait
This rule also applies to nuts and fruit squirrels raid from your yard and garden. Use foods you know the squirrel finds attractive. And remember, what appeals to you doesn’t necessarily appeal to the squirrel. Bacon and cheese may work in mouse traps, but they aren’t very useful for trapping squirrels. If the squirrel has been raiding your fruit trees or garden, offer these treats before you take anything from your pantry. Bait should be solid, not liquid. Peanuts and tree nuts (out of the shell) are ideal. However, sticky liquids can be used to make the squirrel work to get the bait. To learn more read this post What Is the Best Squirrel Bait?
#3 Make the squirrel work to get the bait
Traps are activated by a pressure plate. The more pressure the squirrel has to put on the plate, the more likely it is to get trapped. Mix the bait with molasses, peanut butter, syrup, or jam to force the squirrel to place more of its weight on the trigger.
Or place the bait in a segment of PVC pipe you attach to the top of the trap above the pressure plate. The squirrel will step on the plate to get to the bait.
#4 Make the squirrel an offer it cannot refuse
Bait that is so large that it cannot be dragged out of the trap forces the squirrel to stay inside and eat. A popcorn ball studded with peanuts, for example, will entice the squirrel inside to activate the pressure plate.
#5 Remember that different traps require bait in different places
If you are using a one-door trap, place the bait at the back of the trap, past the pressure plate. Don’t use so much bait that the squirrel could get a free meal without entering the trap. Place the bait away from the walls of the trap.
If you are using a two-door trap, place the bait in the middle of the trap. You can place the bait on top of the pressure plate, or in the ground directly beneath the pressure plate. Again, don’t use so much bait that the squirrel can get a fast meal without activating the pressure bar. And no matter what kind of trap you use, don’t place bait so that it keeps the pressure plate from activating.
#6 Anchor your squirrel trap
Place a stone or a brick on top of the trap or anchor the bottom of the trap so the squirrel cannot turn it over.
#7 Offer freebies before you set the trigger
Let the squirrel take the bait from your trap for a few days without getting caught. Leave bait in the trap, but don’t activate the pressure plate. This allows the squirrel to let its guard down for easier capture that is much less traumatic to the squirrel.
#8 Make a happy trail to the trap
Leave a trail of nuts or seeds that lead to the trap door, but not so many that the squirrel won’t go into the trap.
Choosing the right bait and putting it in the right place in your trap is critical to your trapping success. If you follow these simple rules, however, you should capture your well-fed squirrel alive and healthy in 24 hours or less.