Best Bait For Squirrel Traps

By Landon Easton •  Updated: 02/23/21 •  14 min read

Fluffy-tailed, extremely intelligent, super-friendly, and adorable, cute, and silly, but also annoying and a little creepy (to some).

These are just some of the few adjectives used to describe squirrels. And although most people consider them cute, they could also be rather disgusting, especially if these adorable little critters turn into destructive elements that cause quite a bit of damage, especially when they get into your home. With all these in mind, it makes sense that the best-recommended strategy for getting rid of these furry furballs involves the use of traps.

So, how do you bait the hungry, agitated, scared, and destructive squirrels into the traps? How do you safely eliminate squirrels from your home? This is an important consideration because in as much as it may seem like an excellent idea to seal up the hole the squirrel got in through, doing so could only worsen the situation, especially since there is a chance that the squirrel might still be trapped inside. And if they are still trapped indoors, the squirrel will do everything possible to get out, including chewing on anything and everything in their way.

Then, you need to throw in the fact that squirrels are born blind – did you know that? And you’d have an even bigger fight coming your way, which is why alternative options involving the use of the right baits are very important. Keep in mind that if this furry animal is unable to get out, it will eventually die within the wall voids, creating a very horrid smell, and you won’t know where it’s hidden in the walls or the ceilings.

So, which are the best baits for squirrel traps?

Best baits for squirrel traps?

Nuts and seeds

Animations depict squirrels as lovers of seeds and nuts, and it would appear that some of them could easily live off nuts. What this means is that one of the easiest ways for you to trap those squirrels being a nuisance would be by using nuts as bait. Squirrels cannot get enough of nuts, and the easiest way for you to trap them would be by sticking the nuts to peanut butter inside the trap pan for an easy catch. You also need to make sure that the nuts are unsalted and still in the shell. As depicted in the movies, squirrels, like chipmunks, like to crack the nuts open to eat them. The only thing to bear in mind is that the squirrel might snatch this bait, running out with it.

Seeds are the other preferred option for trapping/ baiting squirrels. It allows you to bait and trap the squirrels easily using birdseed. Just keep in mind that this would only work if the squirrel was stealing bird seeds or fruit seeds from the garden. Keep in mind that although you could trap the squirrel using seeds from the pantry, it isn’t an elegant option because that isn’t what attracted them to your garden. The best approach would be trapping it using the stuff that brought them around in the first place.

Mix bait with jam or molasses

This is the other effective way of baiting and trapping squirrels, especially because it allows the squirrel to work for their treat. At the same time, the use of jam or molasses means that they have to put a lot more pressure on the pressure plate, which translates to the easy triggering of the trap and a successful catch. So, if you are giving yourself one go at trapping that annoyingly cute squirrel, you may want to use sticky bait. You could also use peanut butter. But keep in mind that not all squirrels are fans of peanut butter.

Popcorn Ball

The issue around using smaller baits for traps or the use of the unshelled nuts is that these baits tend to be rather easy for the squirrel to grab the bait, running away with it, which is why you’d need to trap it using something heavier.

The popcorn ball works great because it’s heavy, and with jam, molasses, or peanut butter smeared on it, the squirrel is more likely to stick around to enjoy it, meaning a higher chance of pressure placed on the pressure plate hence easy entrapment.


You could also use fruit as bait for the squirrel trap. This is an effective solution when you have a squirrel menace in your hands, with many squirrels dashing throughout the garden and the yard. Fruit works well in enticing bigger groups of squirrels, and the most effective strategy would involve the use of orange slices. The use of orange slices works great because the orange slices smell great, and they are just the perfect treat for that super-thirsty squirrel. In the absence of oranges, you could use any other fruit available – since they all have juice and water, they will attract the squirrels.

Other baits you could use.

What else can you use to trap squirrels if you don’t have any of the above at hand or if you are severely allergic to peanut butter? Well, there is a wide array of foods that you could use to bait the squirrels.

You could use walnuts, acorns, marshmallows, almond extracts on a piece of bread, whole maize, sunflower seeds, monkey nuts, aniseed, sunflower hearts, etc.

Mistakes to avoid when trapping squirrels

The most important thing to note when trying to trap squirrels is that you should never use poisoned bait. For starters, it is inhumane to kill these cute furry friends that would go away if you follow safer approaches like sealing off the holes they got in through; and also because if it’s poisoned and dies somewhere in the house, you may never find it or find it after weeks, while living in agony thanks to the stench from the dead animal. On top of that, there is the risk of your family pet finding the poison bait, eating it, and suffering the consequences as a result.

Buying guide for the best baits for squirrel traps?

Squirrels can be a nuisance, and their removal efforts can be frustrating, which is why you may want to reconsider the decision to use poison. You need to look for a more humane approach, and this guide will help you come up with the best approach yet.

But first, should you bait the squirrel bait or not?

While some people often take matters into their hands by trying to personally remove the squirrels from their homes by themselves, the most effective strategy to implement would involve the use of food-based lures. Often, peanut butter, apple chunks, or whole peanuts are used to lure the squirrels, and they are then trapped in traps positioned on the rooftops. While this approach seems harmless, it isn’t recommended. Unfortunately, squirrels are often too excitable, and they’d cause even more damage if they are cornered. Therefore, the best thing to do would be to get a professional to do it, well, unless you are able to corner the squirrel without it causing more severe damage.

The bait and trap you settle on depending on how well you understand squirrels and squirrel behavior.

First, squirrels are diurnal, which means that they are significantly more active during the day, and though they don’t hibernate, squirrels spend a lot of time in their nests in the colder months.

They also love nesting, and they will make cute little nest homes in the trees, allowing them to reach your garden and take food then hide the way the food. Squirrels are also quite vocal, and they will chatter, bark, scream, and even purr at each other, all in a big to communicate. They are also masters of communication through body language.

Lastly, an impressive characteristic of squirrels is that of food caching – they will hoard food in the warmer months when there is an abundance of food, digging holes in the ground where they bury their food.

With this information, you would be able to hear them and trap the squirrels with the right food. And if they are a menace in the garden, you would know how and where to set traps.

The squirrel traps could be 1-door or 2-door traps.

With the 1-door trap, you’d have to position the bait on the wall of the trap, just behind the trigger/ pressure plate. And you’d have to keep the bait far from the wall so that it isn’t accessible from outside.

Then you have the 2-door trap, which is more effective as it allows for the placement of the trap at the middle of the trap or on the plate.

As imagined, squirrels wouldn’t step into the trap without any bait, meaning that if you are looking to trap the squirrels, you’d have to find the right bait. But that is not all; you also need to follow the right set of rules for mission success. Here are the important rules you should follow.

The reason for this is that in as much as squirrels are blind, they have an excellent sense of smell, and they would be able to detect the minutest traces of pheromones from your sweat transferred from your hands into their ‘food.’ Therefore, you must always wear gloves when handling the bait going into the squirrel trap. You also end to use the types of latex gloves that are used in medical procedures or the rubber gloves used for household chores.

The rule of thumb applicable to trapping squirrels is to use fruits and nuts or the seeds that drew in the squirrels in the first place. You should use baits made of the fruits that the squirrel finds attractive because what appeals to you may not be as appealing to the squirrels. So, while cheese and bacon may work great in the mouse traps, they might not be as effective in trapping squirrels. So, if the squirrel was raiding your garden or fruit trees, it might be a great idea to bait it with treats that look like exactly what they were stealing.

Also, the bait chosen should never be liquid, only solid baits. As a result, the best bait options for you would include peanuts or tree nuts, right out of their shells. You could, however, use sticky liquids for the squirrel to work on getting to the bait.

Since the squirrel traps are activated by a pressure plate, the squirrel will only be trapped if the pressure plate is activated. The activation happens only if the squirrel works on getting to the bait; hence it gets trapped. With this in mind, your best squirrel bait would be mixed with molasses, syrup, peanut butter, or even jam. These would force the squirrel to place a bit more pressure on the pressure plate, allowing the trap to close with the squirrel stuck inside.

You could also put the bait on a segment of a PVC pipe attached to the top of the trap and above the pressure plate. This will trap the squirrel when it steps on the plate on its way to the bait.

If the bait is too large for the squirrel to drag out of the trap, the squirrel will be forced to stay inside the trap to eat it. So, you could try using a bit like popcorn with peanuts and some peanut butter. This will entice the squirrel, and as it struggles to reach the bait, it will activate the pressure plate.

At the end of the day, the design of the trap will determine the bait you choose. So, if you are thinking of using a one-door trap, it would be wise to place the bait at the back of the trap, a little past the pressure plate. Also, be careful not to have too much bait because that would mean that the squirrel gets a lot of food without having to get into the trap. So, you should also put the bait a bit far off the walls of the bait.

On the other hand, you have the 2-door traps that work best with the bait in the middle. With such traps, you could place the bait on top of the pressure plate or on the ground right beneath the plate for it to work best. Again, don’t put in too much bait.

The most frustrating thing that would happen after setting the trap is realizing that it wasn’t well anchored, and so, the squirrel got in, ate the bait, then turned it over and got out. Place a brick or stone on top of the trap. You could also anchor it to the bottom of the trap.

Trapping squirrels isn’t easy, but it could be a rather successful thing if you do it with finesse. What we mean by finesse is that you should set the trap with the bait for a few days, but making sure that the squirrel doesn’t get trapped. It works because it allows the squirrel to let down its guard, hence easy and less traumatic capture. On the same note, you should create a happy trail leading to the trap.

This is also called chumming, and you could think of it as this comprehensive squirrel baiting process that involves understanding and ‘knowing’ your squirrels to be able to determine the best foods to lure them with. So, whatever you use as bait would be the same thing that you chum with.


Finding the right bait for the squirrel trap might sound complex, but it isn’t because you only need to understand the squirrel, what they prefer stealing, then baiting them with that same thing. Your only challenge might be finding a trap that actually works. We recommend using the repeater o the one-way-door traps for the squirrels because these traps work great, and you won’t even have to find the bait. In the case of the repeater trap, for example, you mount it right over the entrance used by the animal or building where they get in and out of your place from. Since the squirrel often gets in through that hole, you’d only need to attach the repeater trap over the hole, and the squirrel will pass right through, getting trapped. So, if you have been struggling to trap a squirrel trapped somewhere in the house, follow the tips and recommendations above.


Are there alternative ways of humanely getting rid of other than setting traps?

Yes. You could put up mesh netting over the flower beds, over berries, and over tomatoes once they start to bear fruit. You could also use polyethylene mesh netting.

Are squirrels deterred by odors?

Yes, and natural deterrents could be quite effective in solving the squirrel problem. So, while they may not be very useful in ridding your garden of squirrels, they do an excellent job of keeping them from coming back. The best part is that squirrels could be deterred using the inexpensive mothballs. Mothballs have 1,4-dichlorobenzene, which squirrels hate. That said, you should keep the mothballs away from vegetable or berry beds because mothballs are suspected to be carcinogenic. A good alternative to mothballs is garlic or red pepper.

Do ultrasonic repellents keep squirrels away?

Yes. Ultrasonic repellents work because they aggravate the squirrels by generating various ultrasonic frequencies that affect and send away squirrels.

Landon Easton

Landon is a veteran in the Pest Control industry, with over 15 years of experience and has helped thousands of homeowners. He started Your Pest Guide in 2020 as a way to help spread his knowledge to the general public, so they can get rid of all of their creepy-crawlies in their homes without spending an arm and a leg.