How to Set a Rat Trap

  1. Place the rat tunnel beside a bank, wall, compost, wood pile and open the slider, ready to insert your trap (tips below on trap location)
  2. Put peanut butter or preferred bait into the traps before you set them. On the t-rex traps, the base plate slides out and in, simple twist to romove.
  3. Carefully slide your rat trap (holding the back of the trap), bait first into the tunnel and replace the sliding mesh on the tunnel. Try to keep the traps near to the back of the tunnel where you are sliding them in. If they are clear of the entrance to the tunnel there is less risk of snapping curious pets or children's fingers.
  4. Check the trap often, at least once a week. Dead rats get a bit stinky after a few days! Please keep a record of your catches and pass them on to us every few months. We would love to hear how you are going.
  5. When checking traps and disposing of rats please wear gloves. Either bury the rats in the garden or dispose of them in the bush.


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.

  • If trapping around the home, place 2 – 3 traps (inside tunnels) on a flat surface near fences, banks, compost, or under cover. If you’re not getting results, try a different spot.
  • If you’re trapping in the bush, then set your traps on lines 100m apart, with a trap every 50m (100m x 50m). It’s good to label the boxes to keep track of how many you have set, when and where.
  • Ensure the trap box is on firm, solid ground so it doesn’t move or rock when a rat enters the box, as this can put them off going into the tunnel.


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.

Register and Record rat catches on TrapNZ

Helping protect our wildlife, whilst creating nature havens in your own backyard, together we can make a difference”

Need instructions on how to register?

Download PDF >

Controlling Rats

An excerpt from the pest animal control guidelines for the Auckland region.

Download Brochure >

Practical Trapping Guide

‘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.

Download the guide >

Pest Management Control Guidelines

Weed Busting Tips

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.

Take a look here!

More useful links on Invasive Plants:

Weedbusters 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 weeds-key A key for the identification of weeds in New Zealand.

New Zealand Weeds — Massey University database clinics-and-services/weeds-database/weeds-database_home.cfm Designed for members of the public and for students studying weeds.

Plant Me Instead booklets 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 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 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.

Myrtle Rust Best Practice

Plant species confirmed to be infected with myrtle rust in New Zealand

Myrtle rust is a serious fungal disease that affects plants in the myrtle family. Some of our most iconic native plants are vulnerable to myrtle rust, including:

  • pōhutukawa
  • mānuka
  • rātā
  • swamp maire
  • ramarama.

Some exotic species can also get the disease, including ornamental plants like bottlebrush and lilly pily.

See the extensive list here



If you have concern about myrtle rust infection, the three steps to take are:

1. Recognise it

2. Report it

3. Remove infected plants

1. Recognise it

Symptoms to look for

Look out for symptoms of myrtle rust, including:

  • bright yellow powdery eruptions appearing on the underside of the leaf (young infection)
  • bright yellow powdery eruptions on both sides of the leaf (mature infection)
  • brown/grey rust pustules (older spores) on older lesions
  • grey, 'fuzzy' spore growth on undersides of leaves
  • some leaves may become buckled or twisted and die off.



2. Report it

At this stage, reports and documentation are happening collectively through citizen science/observation.

Report symptoms to the iNaturalist website or via the iNaturalist app available in your devices app store.

3. Remove it

If you find myrtle rust on your property, consider removing the infected plant.

There is no requirement for landowners to remove plants with myrtle rust – it's your choice. However, removing infected plants can help protect other plants in your garden and wider local area.

For larger trees or hedges, consider using a professional arborist. Let them know that you suspect myrtle rust.

For small shrubs and branches, follow the disposal protocol in the video below.

Video - how to remove myrtle rust infected plant


Further advice on helping reduce the spread

   Arrive clean, leave clean

The forest you visit could be infected with myrtle rust without you knowing it. Before entering such areas for work or recreation, you should minimise the risk of spreading the rust by ensuring your equipment, clothing, and tools arrive clean and leave the area clean.

   Avoid removing the material on windy days

Try to remove infected material on wet days. This will reduce the risk of cloud of spores being spread to other plants.


   Bury, don't burn

Dispose of infected plant waste by composting or burying at the site, or putting in plastic bags and taking to general waste. Do not burn infected plant waste as the spores will travel and spread to new areas with the smoke.


   Fungicide sprays

Fungicide sprays are an option for controlling myrtle rust, but should be used sparringly and with caution. Remember there is no cure for myrtle rust, fungicides can only help reduce infection and spore production and needs to be used frequently to be effective.


   Buy healthy plants and prune in cool weather

Make sure myrtle plants bought for your garden are free from the symptoms of myrtle rust. Inspect the leaves and stems of plants before you buy them, and avoid buying plants that have signs of disease. 

We recommend avoiding heavy pruning during warm weather as this will encourage susceptible new growth. Instead, prune myrtles only in late autumn and early winter to avoid encouraging new growth during warm weather when myrtle rust spores are more likely to form. 


   Monitor your plants

We recommend regular monitoring of myrtle plants for any sign of myrtle rust, particularly new, young growth, shoots, and seedlings.