I am in Plimmerton. Nothing caught between June & November, since December my mouse & rat tally is up again. Curious to know experience of other trappers.
Are you rural or urban?
Thanks for your reply. I’m in the suburbs.
Seasonal rodent population fluctuations are nearly always food-related. In the suburbs, I’d imagine there are a lot of fruit and nut trees around, and when birds are laying, there are plenty of nesting adults, eggs, and chicks to eat. I would expect there to be some vege gardens getting raided, too.
In populated areas, people using birdfeeders, compost piles that haven’t been rat-proofed, and improperly disposed of garbage, have to be taken into consideration.
With all of the food available, there will be large rodent population increases. Larger numbers equals greater competition for food, though. Rodents will have to travel farther from their nests to find food, so they’re more likely to encounter your traps than when food supplies were plentiful elsewhere. The lures in your traps suddenly become attractive again and they aren’t as fussy.
This general rule varies a lot from place to place, depending on what foods are available and when rodents can eat them (Spring crops, Summer crops, Autumn crops). For example, when the walnut trees in my area are dropping nuts, rats ignore my traps. I collect as many walnuts as I can to use them as lures. Once the trees’ walnuts are gone, the walnuts that I’ve collected become rat magnets.
This is my record since 2019. I have a 4.5 ha regenerating bush section in the Hutt area (so not too far from you), with about 55 traps. The traps are re-lured and cleared daily. Rats in black. To date I have had seasonal peaks around March/April. Population dynamics are complex, there are many academic papers on the subject e.g.
Population dynamics of rats.pdf (2.8 MB). I imagine you have to take into account migration behavior, breading cycles, food supply, geography, climate and so on. I just kill them and hope to create a Bermuda Triangle for rats. Out of interest what lure(s) and traps are you using and how would you describe your trapping area?
Hi, Thanks for your reply. Your rat catches look impressive! My garden is just under 1/4 acre. Snap E Rat and mousetrap in tunnel behind chook house, 1 mousetrap inside chook house. Peanut butter used as bait. The chickens love to eat caught mice for a protein snack!
As far as I can gather from the numbers, only two of the registered trappers in my street are currently active (either that, or others do not record their catches).
You might want to vary the lure. I have done some comparisons between nutella and peanut butter on my section. Contrary to the popular view, I found the rats had no interest in peanut butter. It just went mouldy. This has not changed over five years. I also tried various other lures including GN meat lovers, possum blue lure, mayo…etc. Nothing was at all effective apart from nutella and my terracotta lures Terracotta lures for Victor traps. For some reason my local community prefers nutella. But it may be different for you, I wouldn’t suggest following everyone else’s pet lure, rather find what works for your rat community, then ignore the noise. Tunnel traps with snap traps are very good choice. The AT220 is also good but probably overkill for you.