Pest news from Friends of Te Wairoa

Kia ora trappers!

I’m hoping you’ve had a great start to the year, despite the wet weather situation, and are rested and ready to tackle 2023. I know I am!

We’ve reached the end of the school holidays, and it’s time to pulse some baiting again. If you don’t bait year-round, pop some bait in your stations this week and check and refill them in another weeks’ time. Please be really careful out there though – with all the rain and flooding there could be plenty of hidden hazards.

If your bait doesn’t seem to be disappearing, consider switching brands – a new ‘flavour’ might tempt some of the more wary pests. Come and see us at one of our upcoming bait and trap days to return any gear you aren’t using (including bait) and swap it for something more useful on your property. You could also try moving your bait stations to another nearby location.

If your rat traps aren’t catching rats, we have premium (i.e. extra-tasty!) peanut butter to give away, gifted free to us from Fix and Fogg. Pick up a jar at one of our events or contact me to arrange to get some. You can also try a chocolate spread, dog treat jerky, or a combination of the above – get creative and give them something they can’t resist!

Possums are a great option to target. Possums only have a few young each year, so once you nail the initial knock-down, their numbers should be relatively easy to keep on top of. Don’t let your guard down though – they can come back in the blink of an eye as they roam!

We’ve had a number of ferret and stoat sightings and catches lately, including 6 ferrets caught in the space of a week in a warm, dry barn during the last week of January. This is because late last year, they left their dens and the young began exploring. At this young age, the females were already pregnant and will hold onto the pregnancy until conditions are right to birth the next generation. This means it’s the ideal time to target them, while the young animals are naiive to our trapping methods and not quite as wary as their older counterparts. The best option to trap mustelids is a live trap. See details below on the smartcage option, or check out local farm stores and trademe for cheaper options.

Aside from keeping pests out of your house, sheds, stock feed and compost bins, our birds need a break, the bats in our area could use an extra reprieve, and the lizards and insects would love to sunbathe in peace. The native plants that you’ve planted last winter will take off with reduced browsing pressure from pests too.

Upcoming events:
Come and see us for your pest control materials and top-ups, as well as planting advice and other topics relating to environmental restoration on your property. Promise we’re a fun and approachable bunch! Tell your neighbours, and we’ll see you there.

Ararimu Conservation Education Day on Sunday 26th February. Ararimu Hall, drop in between 9am – 12pm.

Hūnua Market Day on Saturday 25th March. Hūnua Hall, 10am – 2pm.

Ardmore Conservation Education Day on Sunday 30th April. Ardmore School, drop in between 9am – 12pm.

There are other workshops in the pipeline – watch this space and we’ll advertise as soon as we have dates and locations sorted.

Another massive thankyou to those who are regularly reporting catch tallies via the app and email. It really helps me to efficiently keep track of what’s happening out there. If you haven’t been in touch for a while, please either sign up to and join the Friends of Te Wairoa project, or email me with your trap catches since 1 July 2022. I have begun emailing all members who I have not yet heard from, which is quite a labour-intensive process! It would be really helpful for you to check in with me before then, even if you haven’t caught anything or have been too busy to check – it’s okay to have a break if you need to focus your attentions elsewhere for a while.

As some of you know, alongside other pest control groups in Franklin, we operate under the umbrella support of a group called Te Ara Hīkoi (TAH). TAH applies for large sums of funding in order to purchase bulk pest control materials at wholesale prices, which are distributed to groups like ours to give away for free. Covid has limited the available funding, alongside increased demand, inflated prices, and the increase in predator control groups competing for funding from the same sources, leaving us a little short.

As an indication of the approximate cost of pest control materials, without GST:

  • 10kg Pestoff costs $51.80
  • A white Philproof bait station costs $11.80
  • A black Pied Piper bait station costs $16.77
  • A Flipping Timmy possum trap costs $51.20

If you would like to help us keep moving forward, donations can be made to:

Te Ara Hīkoi Trust

Please enter ‘donation’ in the reference field.

If you make a donation over $5.00 you can email for a tax invoice.

Any donations, gratefully received, will be used entirely in the purchase of further pest control materials to aid those less able to afford their own. By giving out pest control materials our aim is to reduce the barriers between landowners and effective, consistent pest control – cost being one of them.

TAH are also open to receiving commercial sponsorship or donations. If your business is interested in this contact Debbie at Even better, if you have stickers of your logo we will be happy to attach these to a run of pest control materials that your donation has helped to fund.

We are excited to promote the Tāwhiti Traps for sale via the Predator Free Franklin website. These are sensored live traps which automatically refresh their lure daily, and send a message to your phone when triggered so you know when to check it, making them great for the far reaches of the farm. Flick me an email first to check whether your property has reach from the aerials we have installed. As our area is quite hilly, we do require more elevated sites to host aerials, and funds to buy the aerials. They’re just over $500, so if you’d like to contribute to one you know how to contact me.

Finally, we’d like to thank you all for your ongoing support of the mahi we do. It’s what keeps that ball rolling forward.

Happy trapping,

Lenny van Heugten
Pest Control Co-ordinator
Friends of Te Wairoa