What’s the best bait to use for rats?

It’s an ongoing debate, with everyone having their favourite! Peanut butter seems to be the go-to bait as it’s tasty, relatively cheap and most people have it in their pantry. It’s always a good idea to change your bait type regularly in case your resident rat likes something else. Bait lasts longer in cooler weather so it’s a good time to try meat and other more perishable baits at the moment. Also try cheese, Nutella, commercial lures, bacon, cat food etc. As long as your bait is fresh and there is plenty of it (insects and mice like bait too!), then hopefully you’ll be catching something.

Waikato kaka research

Kaka are a big iconic parrot, seen most often in the Waikato in large blocks of native forest where control of stoats and possums protects nesting birds from predation. Places like Maungatautari and Pureora are great places to see kaka throughout the year, but in winter some kaka regularly visit gardens, golf courses, and small patches of forest throughout the Waikato. Kaka are known to move up to hundreds of km, so there are big questions around where they come from, and how they use the landscape throughout the year, and understanding this is important for kaka conservation. Researchers at Manaaki Whenua — Landcare Research are planning to try to start unraveling the mysteries of where these winter visitors come from, and citizen scientists can help.

If you see kaka you can record your observation on the Waikato Kaka Project on iNaturalist at https://inaturalist.nz/projects/waikato-kaka. If you are able to get a photo of the bird(s) to include in your observation, even better.

There are iNaturalist apps available to make it easy to record your kaka sightings (and all other living things). It’s also a great way to see where other people have seen kaka, so you can hopefully catch a glimpse too. Around Hamilton, I’ve seen them at Taitua Arboretum, Tills Lookout, the zoo, and the University campus.

Order rat traps online

Now that it’s Level 3 in Lockdown, you can order rat traps online from the Go Eco shop and get it delivered straight to your door. Autumn is a peak time for rats that are high in numbers after Summer, and they are looking for food and warm cozy homes (like yours!).

These T-Rex rat traps are easy to set and are humane kill traps. Once baited (with peanut butter or other tasty treat), place them in the tunnel box. The tunnel box only allows rodents in and keeps pets and small children from harm.

Shop rat traps here https://shop.goeco.org.nz/shop/product/402528/T-Rex-rat-trap-and-wooden-tunnel/

Level 3 and what it means for checking trap lines

In keeping with the National Government guidelines, Predator Free Hamilton are recommending the following for checking trap lines once we move to Level 3 on Tuesday;

*Travel to trap site must be local
*Only check traps by yourself or with those in your bubble
*Maintain a 2 metre distance from other people you may meet when servicing traps
*Gloves must be used when handling traps
*If you or anyone else in your bubble is ill, then please do not participate and stay home.

Please note if you are feeling uncomfortable about undertaking this work in Level 3, then don’t. It is your choice. Just let someone on your roster know.

Until Tuesday, we remain in Level 4, so please stay home.

Predator Control at home

The good news is that if you have a trap at home, you can still check it, experiment with bait types and catch what you can! Or if you have a trap but it’s sitting unused in the shed, then time to dust it off and get it up and running. If you don’t have a trap, how about building your own tunnel box with that wood lying around in your backyard?

Predator Free NZ has some great resources available online to get to grips with predator control, so check it out.

Predator Trapping Live Map

If you have a backyard trap or are part of a trapping group then make sure you are on the PFH Predator Trapping Live Map. See link above. Add your Household if you have a backyard trap. It’s a great way to record your catches and see how many other amazing community members are involved. Note – website is best viewed on Desktop, Laptop or tablet rather than Mobile phone.

INTRODUCING Predator Control Community Coordinator – Karen Barlow

Hello! My name is Karen Barlow and I live in Cambridge with my husband and two children. We moved to the mighty Waikato about 12 years ago and now can’t imagine living anywhere else. I have worked for DoC at Pukaha doing Species Management (captive breeding and release programmes, avian husbandry and education & advocacy) and also in the Education sector (Biology & Science). I’m excited to ‘sink my teeth’ (bad pun) into Predator Control in Hamilton and Cambridge and make a difference to native species re-population and forest regeneration.

I’ll be working with both Predator Free Hamilton and Predator Free Cambridge to control primarily rats but also possums. My role will entail liaising with volunteer groups, government departments and other interested parties to achieve this goal. There is some great work that is currently being done and the aim is to expand those efforts. I’ll be managing the Predator Free Hamilton website and social media sites to update progress and provide support. I will be available at the Go Eco premises in Frankton Hamilton every Wednesday to dispense traps and information or you can contact me via email karen@goeco.org.nz or phone 027 240 6879.