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Controlling pest animals around your home

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Each autumn, mice and rats make their presence felt around people’s backyards and homes as they seek refuge and food ahead of winter.   This year, Napier City and Hawke’s Bay Regional Councils have had numerous enquiries about how to control rats and mice.

“It’s a sign that there’s been a bit of a population explosion,” says Dean Roughton, HBRC biosecurity advisor.

The councils’ biosecurity and pest control staff are talking together about the possibility of offering support in the future to community based predator control groups.

Control of rats and mice is the responsibility of landowners and residents, who need to take action to prevent and limit rodent pests from establishing on their land or property.

At this time of year, rats and mice are looking for food and shelter ahead of winter, so limiting their access to food sources, in particular helps to discourage them. People can use baits to control rodents before they become a problem in winter.    

Hardware and farm supply stores have suitable baits and bait stations for pest control and can provide advice.  Pest control contractors and companies can help with pest issues and provide advice.

In some cases, a local or regional council may provide pest control assistance for landowners or residents who have a property next to a council-owned or -managed park, reserve, drain or waterway.  Where a council is doing targeted pest control in an area bordered by private property, they may also run a baiting programme around those boundaries which benefit the neighbours. 

Council pest advisors recommend that property owners or residents take action now to help reduce the presence of pest animals over winter -

  • Maintain sections free from long grass and weeds
  • Remove all rubbish before it becomes a food source
  • Bait for rodents near composting heaps
  • Trim trees or vegetation around houses and sheds so pests cannot enter the roof space.
  • Undertake a pest baiting programme from late March through to May
  • Work in with neighbours to assist with a wider baiting programme, especially if where there is open ground, gullies etc, in the neighbourhood
  • Use approved baiting products, including bait stations around the property boundary and ensure that curious pets can’t get access
  • Always use products according to labelling or online instructions.

Napier City and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council pest control staff are discussing options to help establish community-run programmes in urban areas with the aim of reducing and removing pest animal problems.  Communities in other parts of the country have set up such groups to reduce pests and assist biodiversity in their neighbourhoods.  

“Getting more people involved would see a big reduction in pest issues, such as rats and mice, and could also help reduce other pests that annoy residents and Councils alike,” says Dean Roughton, HBRC biosecurity advisor.

Predator Free NZ has information on these community-based programmes and how to start a project to keep rodents at low numbers  - 

23 April 2018

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