Where should I put my trap?
Think like a rat! Rats (and mice) don’t like to run across big open areas like lawns, and instead tend to stay near the cover of plants, trees, walls and buildings. Rats are also attracted to places where they can find food and water. If you have a compost heap or trees that drop fruit on the ground, your resident rats will probably be spending some time there, so that’s a good spot for your trap. Another good place is beside a waterway, as rats and mice tend to run alongside streams and creeks.
Lure them in
Choosing the right bait is hotly debated, and often a fiercely competitive topic! Most people swear by peanut butter, but researchers at Victoria University of Wellington have put the different baits to the test, and found that stock-standard peanut butter might not always be the best bet. They found wild rats prefer cheese, milk chocolate, Nutella and walnuts compared to your standard peanut butter. Black licorice is also good. In any case it’s often trial and error, and the reality is that rats will eat almost anything. Experiment with different baits and make sure you tell your local facilitator what’s working so we can share around. Bait your trap and consider offering a bit of ‘free’ bait in the tunnel in front of the trap - this encourages them in to the tunnel and helps attract more rodents as they may go back to the nest with the first haul (and bring their family back).
How often should I check my trap?
Have a look inside every day or two for the first couple of weeks to get an idea of how many rats (and mice) are around. Mice, ants and slugs are known bait thief’s, so you may not be catching because you bait is gone or it needs refreshing. When your catch rate goes down you can start checking every 2-3 weeks. The more rats in the area, the more checks you will need to do.
What do I do with the rats I catch?
This is up to you, but we recommend either disposing of them in the bush or burying them in the garden.
Helping protect our wildlife, whilst creating nature havens in your own backyard, together we can make a difference”
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An excerpt from the pest animal control guidelines for the Auckland region.
‘A practical guide to trapping’ was developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) to support your valuable hard work in protecting Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique and highly vulnerable native taonga species.
Do you know your Toetoe from your Pampas Grass?
QEII National Trust have provided a fantastic user friendly guide on how to identify invasive plants in your backyard.
More useful links on Invasive Plants:
www.weedbusters.org.nz Weedbusters is a weeds awareness and education programme that aims to protect New Zealand’s environment from the increasing weed problem. The weedbusters website has diverse resources to help with weed identification and control.
Landcare Research weed key
http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/resources/identification/plants/ weeds-key A key for the identification of weeds in New Zealand.
New Zealand Weeds — Massey University database
http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/learning/colleges/college-of-sciences/ clinics-and-services/weeds-database/weeds-database_home.cfm Designed for members of the public and for students studying weeds.
Plant Me Instead booklets
www.weedbusters.org.nz Plant Me Instead booklets profile the environmental weeds of greatest concern regionally. Suggestions are given for locally-sold non-weedy species that can be used to replace problem plants in your garden. Download booklets from the weedbusters website.
New Zealand Plant Conservation Network
www.nzpcn.org.nz This website provides information about native plants and their conservation in New Zealand. The Network’s main focus is nationally threatened plants. It also provides information on exotic plants.
National Pest Plant Accord
http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests-diseases/plants/accord.htm The National Pest Plant Accord (NPPA) is a cooperative agreement between the Nursery and Garden Industry Association, regional councils and government departments with biosecurity responsibilities. All plants on the NPPA are unwanted organisms under the Biosecurity Act 1993. These plants cannot be sold, propagated or distributed in New Zealand.