Free pest control workshop were held in Tomarata, Kaipara Flats and Ahuroa in May.
More than 70 farmers attended the three workshops, with most taking home at least one trap to enhance their pest control.
The workshops were held at a variety of locations. This allowed people to gain knowlege on how to trap pests in different settings. Locations included dairy, sheep and beef farms. Each with their own trapping challenges – chook houses, possum browsed orchards and some magnificent remnant kauri forests.
The Kaipara Flats workshop had an extra attendee – a possum in the rafters of the woolshed used as a venue.
The workshops have also seen some great networks being formed, with people sharing contacts to form local support groups.
A big thanks goes to those people who allowed us to use their properties for the workshops.
The Forest Bridge Trust teamed up with the Point Wells Community & Ratepayers Association to deliver a pest control workshop at the Point Wells Hall on Sunday 26th February.
22 locals from around Point Wells enjoyed a day of practical learning. Experts spoke about the importance of protecting our native wildlife by trapping pests and predators and a range of traps were on hand for demonstrations. Those that were keen to try their hand at trapping at home, were also able to take traps home after the workshop, which will kick off the village-wide pest control programme for this community.
A range of pests have been detected around the area, including rats, possums, hedgehogs and stoats – less of these will encourage wildlife back into the area, especially with local source populations like Tawharanui Regional Park.
Special thanks must also go to the Warkworth Hospice who provided the catering.
Students from Tomarata and Kaipara Flats Schools are enjoying a term of
tracking and trapping with the CatchIT Schools programme.
These 8-10 year olds are learning how to help native wildlife survive by using a variety of traps and bait to catch pests. In just a couple of weeks they have caught over 100 pests between them – including a stoat and a weasel!
Congratulations to these students for a great effort. It is ongoing pest control efforts like this that will help bring back the native birds and animals.
A record breaking crowd of 47 people arrived at the Leigh hall on Sunday October 16th to learn about pest control.
CatchIT coodinator Liz Maire said “It was a fantastic number of people. Everyone was super enthusiastic about making a difference in their local environment”
As well as the many individuals in attendance, there were also representatives from local community groups already working hard for their environment. Groups such as Pakiri Landcare, Whangateau Harbour Care, and Leigh Harbour Valley Restoration society.
Cam Rathe was also present at the workshop. Cam is helping out the The Forest Bridge Trust as a Pest Control Advisor. He is providing one on one technical pest control support to landowners in the Trust priority area.
Rain held off just long enough for 19 people from the Ahuroa community to enjoy a practical pest control workshop on Sunday 9th October.
Topics included everything from possums, through to wasps and cats. Everyone seemed to be having issues with possums, so this was definitely the hot topic of the day.
There was a great range of traps on show and many people took up the opportunity to take home a possum or mustelid trap.
Trapper Joe provided plenty of advice on pest control techniques and methods, and answered questions along the way. He also threw in some great snippets of information which you may not have heard before:
Did you know that NZ once exported live possums to Korea? They were known in Korea as ‘apple-eating tree bears’!
Did you know that possums will often stay browsing on one tree? The more the possum stresses the tree, the richer the nutrients become in the stuggling leaves and bark. The possums farm the tree for ‘superfood’ and only move on to the next tree when it dies.
The day was a great success with landowners keen to network and help each other reduce pest numbers. Hopefully they will soon see the benefits of pest control, when wildlife like kaka and pigeon return.
Even the onset of daylight saving didn’t stop over 20 folk from the Matakana
community coming along to hear Joe the trapper talk about how to get rid of
People went home happy with a free trap or two. Lots of connections made as
well, with the idea of forming networks to support each other and bring
neighbours on board. We even had kaka flying overhead to salute us!
Do join us at the next pest control workshops – Ahuroa Hall on 9th Oct and
Leigh Hall on 16th October, both 9.15 start to 12.30pm
It pays to question what you’re doing sometimes…. The Bush Bay Action group are doing great work in the Opua Forest getting rid of pests. One day while lugging traps into the bush a young helper (Reuben 7 yrs) told everyone that “ship rats are very good climbers”. He wanted to put one of his traps up a tree – they did and it caught rat after rat! They did a second trial with every other trap on a tree at chest height and found they caught more rats, were easier to set and lasted longer from being dryer.
It just goes to show that ship rats do spend a lot of time up trees, leaving the bush floor and waterways to the Norways.
If rat numbers come down you will see a lot more wētā in our area.
Wētā have evolved in New Zealand for millions of years using camouflage and darkness to hide from their natural predators like birds and lizards. Now we have mammals like rats which hunt at night by smell so wētā have little chance. If you have lots of wētā you have a healthy ecosystem in your backyard!
Look at this big mama one, you can tell it’s a female because she has an egg laying spike on her backside.
This lovely little video clip reminds us why we are trapping – one day birds like this could be calling in your backyard in Northern Rodney. It just depends on us getting enough pests out of the picture.
Recorded at Mataia Farm, near Glorit on the Kaipara. This is Charlie!