When Murray and Juliet McKee purchased their property near Greytown last year it came with a QEII covenant. As new owners they are very enthusiastic about wanting to care for their newly- acquired covenant.
With the breeding season for native fauna fast approaching their most pressing issue was pest control, specifically rat control, to get numbers well down before breeding started.
Armed with bait stations supplied by Wellington regional council, Murray and QEII field officer Trevor Thompson set to work placing the stations at 100 metre intervals in a pattern they had marked up on an aerial plan of the area. Murray filled the stations regularly using Pindone toxin funded from QEII’s pest budget. It soon became apparent that the toxin was being eaten up far too fast for rats – clearly possums were getting in first and cleaning up. Timms traps from the regional council and friendly neighbours were then set to target the possums. Over eight weeks 13 possums were caught and the amount of toxin taken from bait stations dropped dramatically.
A rat monitoring line (where rats and/or mice are channelled to walk over an ink saturated fabric so their track prints can be captured on paper strips) was the used to check if numbers were low enough to be of true benefit to the native fauna. The rat control had been successful – not a single rat or mouse track was recorded.
“This shows that rat numbers can be reduced quickly and cost-effectively at that crucial time of the year,” said Trevor. “Now that everything is set up at the McKee’s covenant, seasonal control will be easier to carry out each year, giving the native fauna a fighting chance to prosper.”
Murray and Juliet are among a growing number of covenant owners carrying out this effective method of pest control in the Wairarapa region.