Everyone knows what to put on a mouse trap as bait, right? A perfect, wedge-shaped hunk of cheese (preferably Swiss) with clearly visible holes on the sides.
If your mouse is a cartoon that comes and goes through a perfectly shaped, miniature door, you might have the solution. Unfortunately, things are a bit more complicated in the real world, and in order to remove your household pests, you'll need to carefully consider your choice of bait.
Mice & Rats
Rodents are drawn to sweet, sugary snacks. For best results (especially if you're using a spring-loaded trap) use bait that's sweet, aromatic, and is difficult to lift off of the trigger. We highly recommend peanut butter, which covers all of the bases. If anyone in your home has peanut allergies, marshmallows are a great alternative. In addition to sweet snacks, rats will also go after larger items such as cereal or beef jerky. In the fall and winter, mice will also try to take nesting materials, such as loose string or dental floss.
There are two competing approaches to defend against termites: Liquid Treatments and Bait Stations. Liquid treatments create an impermeable envelope around your home— killing termites as they encounter it, and wiping out colonies in the process. Bait stations consist of wood pulp-based materials that are strategically placed around a home's perimeter in increments of ten to twenty feet. The idea is that bait stations offer a deadly meal that the termites can't resist. The problem with bait stations is that they don't have a way to attract the termites. They're like a restaurant that offers a free buffet but never bothers to tell anyone about it! Because of their proportionally lare increments, it can sometimes take termites as long as two to three years to stumble upon the bait stations.
Now you're probably thinking... "Why do so many pest management companies recommend bait stations?" Well, it's because bait stations are easy to install, and rerquire little professional training. By contrast, applying an effective liquid treatments barrier is tough, physically demanding work that requires a skilled technician. It's a lot easier to just stick a few stakes in the ground and call it a day. However, top quality pest management companies think that the protection of your home is worth the extra effort involved in applying a liquid termite treatment.
There are a number of different bait types for cockroaches, including liquid, solid, and gel baits. Gels are often found to be the most effective baits for any given cockroach infestation. However, the fact that there are a number of different cockroach species makes this a difficult statement to make across the board. In addition, the fast breeding cycle of cockroaches makes choosing bait even more complicated. Some cockroaches have a hard-wired aversion to certain kinds of bait. As their more susceptible friends are killed off, these bait-resistant roaches are left to breed, passing this trait on to their offspring. This is why bait-rotation is a critical step to ensuring that a dwindling infestation doesn't come back stronger than ever.
So what do you do if you or your current exterminator hasn't been baiting traps efficiently? If your current plan is based on what you've seen in cartoons, then it's time to call in a real pro. Get serious advice from seriously skilled professionals, and leave the cheese for the cartoons.