Pest management within or around your Te Ara Kākāriki Greendot
Planting native trees and shrubs to bring back the fauna to Selwyn District is the main objective of Te Ara Kakariki. Through this planting, we also hope to provide habitat for native birds, lizards and invertebrates. Unfortunately this can also provide an enticing habitat for introduced pests so we must also educate the community about the not so welcome species that will use the native habitat we are creating.
Protecting the plantings and the native birds, lizards and invertebrates means that trapping of introduced mammalian pests such as possums, hedgehogs, mustelids (stoats, weasels and ferrets) and rodents may be required. Here are some suggestions for pests you may have.
How do you know if there are pests present in your restoration site?
You may not know if you have pests at your site or if so which pest are present, there are several ways to determine this:
- Tracking tunnels – tracking tunnels capture the footprints of pests attracted to a specific bait e.g. peanut butter or meat
- Camera trap – game cameras are now cheap enough to be used to monitor for pests.
- Chew cards – as the name suggests coreflute (plastic material used for real estate signs) is impregnated with peanut butter & chew patterns can be analysed to determine what pest you have
- Wax tags – along the same lines as chew cards, the teeth marks in the wax can be identified
- Plant damage – please see plant damage caused by rabbits below
What to do once you have identified pests present:
Timms traps work well for possums and are easy to use and relatively cheap.
Rats, Mustelids (weasel, stoats & ferrets) & Hedgehogs
For rats, the Doc 200 traps are the best as they are more powerful than standard rat traps, are safe for non-target species as they are enclosed in a box, and can also catch stoats and hedgehogs. The Doc 250 trap is larger and will also catch ferrets
Rabbits and Hare
Although Rabbits and Hare do not interfere with our native wildlife they can cause significant damage to young native seedlings.
Our first point of defence against these pests is a plant guard, consisting of plastic guard held up by bamboo stakes. A netting guard can also be constructed as an additional defence. Once seedlings grow above this protection however, they become vulnerable to browsing. An animal protein-based repellent can be sprayed onto the plant that will deter these vegetarian browsers and/or some high-speed lead can be administered where legal! Regular checks on plants will be needed over the first few seasons to check for signs of animal damage, as when alternative food supplies run low in late autumn, these animals can remove an entire season’s growth almost overnight.
Some useful links:
- Want to know where to buy traps, monitoring gear and bait stations for your predator control? https://predatorfreenz.org/tools-resources/trapping-best-practice/where-to-buy-equipment/
- Trapping best practice https://predatorfreenz.org/
- Trap setting instructions http://www.predatortraps.com/tech_instructions.htm
- App for recording trap data & locations – Trap.NZ Groundtruth Ltd – https://predatorfreenz.org/tools-resources/online-data-collection/
- DOC Predator Free Toolkit
- DOC Monitoring information
- Landcare Research: How to read tracking tunnel prints
- Monitoring Possums
- Read about the Yarrs Flat Predator Free Project