Traps: What works and what doesn't

Having said all that good stuff about trapinators … Look what i found this morning ( it’s war now ! )

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That cheeky bastard!
Get him!


This is a great thread!
I have been using kill traps for about 20 years on various BOP rural properties.
About ten years ago, I started working in a nearby Park. I found there was no birdlife – it was full of rats and possums. We poisoned and trapped the rats – most years we trap killed in excess of 500 rats and fed out many buckets of toxin.
I got 10 Sentinels, a few Timms and Possum Masters. I like the Sentinels but others who joined our pest control team hated them – they use the Timms and I use the Sentinels. I started using peanut butter on the Sentinel bite block and cleaned out the easy ones - but as possum numbers dwindled – I then changed to solid state tubes tied to the lure tray. I sloshed some possum paste on the lure tube if I went past and the trap was always there waiting for the next possum that came by.
A few years back I did a line at the nearby Puketoki Reserve where they had just installed a hundred Possum Masters – replacing Warrior traps that we all hated. The pest control manager developed a nifty idea of clipping a piece of carpet on the bait holder – strawberry jam on the carpet along with other external lure such as treacle green. Puketoki is a 100 acre block of pristine residual native bush and is isolated from the Kaimaiis - they still get around 40 possum invaders from the Kaimais each year using jam on carpet.
In the Park where I trap – for the last couple of years, I have found it quite difficult to trip up a possum on apple in the few Timms, Possum Masters and Sentinels we were using – apple doesn’t last long in hot weather – so I thought about the Puketoki strawberry jam treat and I changed the lure on all possum traps to jam on carpet – it is working – two or three possums most weeks. Carpet clipped in the Possum master, tied to the bait tray in the Sentinel and speared onto the rod in the Timms – the special treat is Pams Strawberry jam – awful sticky stuff to apply.
So there is a few ideas if you have a possum that needs a special treat. Hope the pictures tell the story.


Carpet is a great idea. We use squares of corflute and do well, but carpet looks good for holding the lure.

Here’s a shout out to Connovation for their Smooth product. Three months old and still tasty.

Thank you for reminding me to try carpet in my Timms traps.

Apple pieces in traps last a lot longer when they’re coated with something. With a coating of cinnamon, my apple pieces last about twice as long in the summer, because the cut surface isn’t exposed to the hot, dry air, and the wind. The evaporation occurs through the skin of the apple, which takes longer. Also, ants and slugs and snails dislike cinnamon. In wet/humid weather, cinnamon delays the onset of mold, because it’s so dry.


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Does Connovation’s possum lure go moldy?


I find that skewing the Timms pegs helps a lot to stop them uprooting the trap. Opposing 45° angles so they cannot simply lever the trap up with their back legs.

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Not so much mould here in the North West Waikato hill country, but I think it’s been mentioned on here a few times, perhaps further south. Over summer it lasts really well, in a wet winter it gets a thin layer of black mould, but it takes a few weeks. We’ve had a wet summer here and that example above lasted the 100 days without mould.

A spray of your magic vinegar might help stop that surface mould?

The corflute scrapes clean which is handy. I guess you’re just replacing the carpet when it goes bad?

How does that work out with ants and wasps? It seems like you’d get a trap full of ants within a day or two.

Vinegar will kill some of the mold on the lure (the kinds less tolerant of acidity), and the temporary layer of acidity that it creates will stop more mold growth from occurring until it evaporates.

Every predator seems to like vinegar, so adding a dose of it to any lure is probably a plus. If somebody’s lures are being ignored, a whiff of vinegar should be a good way to get the attention of any predators in the area.

I’m going to try the carpet first, because it’s what I have on hand. Yeah, when the carpet’s moldy, I’ll probably have to dispose of it. Any remaining mold would contaminate the next dose of lure.

In my cat traps, I’m going to dip the carpet in liquid tallow - pure, saturated fat, which smells like roast beef. Tallow is an excellent winter lure, because it doesn’t go moldy (it doesn’t contain any water and saturated fat is waterproof). Tallow is the best edible lure that I’ve ever used, because fat is #1 on the menu for carnivores and omnivores.

For my possum traps, I’m going to use anise powder, which smells like liquorice. I’ll shake up the carpet pieces in a container to get the powder in every nook and cranny. In dry weather, I’d use a blaze of flour, icing sugar, and anise, but it might go moldy quite quickly. Also, I don’t think pure anise will result in much insect interference.


I was thinking the same thing. I’ve been tempted to use honey, but I think it would be an absolute disaster. In addition to insects, there are a lot of nectar feeding birds here, so it’s too risky.

I have often used the Connovation blue stuff in the summer – both rats and possums love it – but it goes mouldy in wet weather and I dislike the tube it comes in – its hard to get the last bit out – when half empty, I cut off the bottom off and shove a pill container in – a bit like a caulking gun to get the remainder out – then refill from the bottom again. The screw cap on the top is a nice fit for Kness rat traps. But the other members of the team cant be bothered with the tubes when they can use a GN tube of possum paste or now meat lovers!
I generally screw our Timms traps down – cut a slot in the bottom to get the bait rod out – its a long time since I mounted a Timms on the ground – usually on a leaning tree, a stump or a thick branch ramp - I like a possum to be able to walk up and put his head in the hole.
I noticed one site last week had a few wasps around the Timms – but not often a problem round here. On Timms and Sentinel traps, I can fold up the carpet like a sandwich – there will always be some sweet stuff inside – not so easy on a Possum Master just using a stainless paper clip.
I know the Possum Master manufacturer – they are a local business. I took some traps back last year to get new bait holders fitted – they growled at me for putting apple straight on the bait holder. They recommend putting lure inside a sealed plastic bag and tying it on the bait holder – on any trap – possum or rats. Animals have an incredible sense of smell – so whatever you are using, the lure smell will come through plastic very easy. It seems to work on a Victor rat trap with peanut butter – but I cant be bothered with it. It would certainly keep the ants and wasps away from your lure.
The Timms picture is when I was desperate and had a couple of buckets of PICs peanut butter – it didn’t work - but jam did a week or so later
I hope the jam on carpet treat works for you.

Another possible problem would be native bush cockroaches, of which there are plenty here. I just envisage a vast crawling mass making a beeline for the trap with sugary stuff in it and then fading back into the bush again with no trace of the bait left.

Having said that, putting standard possum-lure paste onto the carpet sounds like a good idea, it won’t dry out and drop off, and they’ll have to give it a good tug to get at it.

I have both native and Gisborne cockroaches to deal with here, but it’s only been the much larger Gisborne cockroach that’s even been a problem. Even then, they are a minor issue. They definitely like peanut butter.

It’s ants that can be a problem, now and then. They are very quick to find sugary foods inside our house, so we have to be careful to keep things clean (don’t leave a jam jar on the counter!). They’ve even raided our pantry, making their way inside a container of white sugar that didn’t have a secure enough lid.

I still have a supply of Goodnature Possum lure, so I’ll use that on the carpet to start with. It’s great, becaue it doesn’t go moldy, it’s long lasting, and insects and slugs and snails leave it alone. In snap traps, I’ve trapped some rats with it, too, using some if things get slow. It’s what I refer to as a “curiosity lure”, due to its smell, but the rats do gobble up the stuff.


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Putting the pill container inside the bottles is a great idea!
If you used a funnel, could you get the blue lure inside empty Goodnature sachets?
Something that might work is a bottle with the teat that farmers use to feed lambs. I’ve never used the blue lure, so the texture might be a problem.

I keep meaning to find a few planks to screw my Timms onto to lean against trees, but I think I’ll have to buy some that are wide enough. I try to keep all of my traps mounted.

I’ve never had any problems with wasps, fortunately. We have Arataki Honey hives on our property, so if we report seeing wasps, they send a worker out here to kill them. They’re thorough, following the stream of wasps to their nests, at a considerable distance and often through fields of blackberries. They do a bloody good job.

Did they complain to you because the apples cause the skewers to rust?
Could a tea strainer be used? I’m going to fit some of my DoC tunnels with them soon.

I also won’t bother using plastic, because it’s a hassle and I use enough plastic as it is. If a trapper had a big problem with insects and slugs and snails, using plastic bags would make sense, but what a pain in the ass!

Wow, that’s one hell of a PB pre-feed!

I’m not going to use the jam here, because there are too many species at risk of by-kill. Honey and bumblebees are plentiful here, and there are some wasps, so I’d have to visit my traps at dusk to avoid being stung.


For planks, get retaining-wall timber, that’s usually H4 treated so will last awhile and is pretty cheap. It’s sold by the metre so you may be able to get a few offcuts from the scraps bin at Bunnings/M10. I managed to score a bunch of half-rounds free from a demolished retaining wall that will probably outlast the Timms mounted on them.

You also don’t need to buy full-width timber, just screw a cross-piece on at the appropriate height and then attach the Timms to that, that’s what I did with the half-rounds which weren’t otherwise wide enough.

Holy cow, how big are your bees if they’ll get caught in a Timms trap?

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Thank you very much for the plank advice. Why didn’t I think about making a T-shaped stand? Geez…

Another option is to buy the Smooth paste in bulk 10L bucket then scoop out what you need instead of using the annoying tubes. I find the 1L Killinchy Gold ice cream containers ideal, that’s enough to bait about 30 Sentinels or Trapinators including a generous smear up the tree below each trap.