At university I learnt a valuable concept – in order to be successful, conservation must be a multi-disciplinary system. Conservation (or environmental science) is not just a science. We need environmental lawyers, engineers, artists, musicians, politicians, builders… Which is where the pest control hardware suppliers at Connovation fit in – Conservation by Innovation. They employ (in an abstract way) chemists, bakers, butchers, designers, engineers and a variety of robots (machines) to produce pest control aids. Although their innovation extends much past something so simple, my personal favourite is the modified drill press used to fill chew cards with lures like peanut butter!

Connovation’s new Double Tap bait has proven very popular among pests (both rats and possums) in our areas. It is fast acting so is more humane than alternative baits, and requires lower bait take per animal. Thus, the higher cost (compared to other Brodifacoum-baits) is mitigated by the higher mortality per kg of pellets. The active ingredients (Diphacinone and naturally-occurring Vitamin D3/Cholecalciferol) are quickly metabolised and thus the risk of secondary poisoning to pets and non-target species is much reduced. Mixed with everyday baking ingredients that attract target species and there you have it – a bait pellet that is a win-win for moving forward in conservation.

The ‘bakers’ and ‘butchers’ get together at Connovation to concoct a variety of lures to attract pests to your traps, including the popular smooth blue lure. Other ‘flavours’ include peanut butter, aniseed, cinnamon, treacle and one that gave me a good giggle – Jaffa (no Aucklanders are harmed in the making of this lure…). Although not recommended, they smell good enough to eat and probably are, given they are made from baking-grade components. It is good to change the flavours every so often so that you continue to appeal to the curiosity of pest species. Erayz dried rabbit lure, made from local ‘ingredients’, is a valuable addition to stoat traps. No production waste here!

Connovation stock a variety of other hardware items that are useful in the war against pests. The Flipping Timmy is a crowd favourite – a more compact, tree-mountable version of the Timms possum trap. Easily set, easily cleared – as seen in this video.

D-Rat traps have corresponding housing which can be bought separately to protect curious kiddie fingers, for example. The sensitivity of the pressure plate can be altered to target mice, meaning a lesser weight is required to activate the trap. Duncan of Connovation emphasized the importance of pressure plate sensitivity by explaining how a rat can enter a DOC200, feel the plate drop mere millimetres and duck out of the trap before setting it off. The D-rat traps come with a 5-year warranty.

Alongside DOC150 (rats & weasels), DOC200 (stoats), and DOC250’s (ferrets), cat traps are another option offered by Connovation – similar to Timms possum traps but with a slightly larger hole in order to accommodate stray cats.

Duncan and the team at Connovation are doing valuable work in the supply of pest control hardware across our nation of struggling native wildlife, by shipping supplies as far as Wellington and Dunedin. But together, Friends of Te Wairoa and Connovation, helping one another and putting our own strengths to their best uses, we can certainly turn the tide!

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