Hot trapping and poisoning tips

rat-trapHi Everyone Nick Here

It is great to see more and more Halo Households are actively trapping and poisoning in their backyards. So we thought it would be good to get some expert advice and really interesting tips.

Welcome to Chris Horne. He’s been a life member of Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society since 1980 and is also a member of Wellington Botanical Society and Tararua Tramping Club. So Chris knows his stuff.

Thanks Nick.


If you have a wooden box with a DOC 200 trap, or DOC 150 trap, make use of the inquisitive nature of rats, stoats, weasels and hedgehogs in your neighbourhood by:

  1. occasionally changing the location of the box in your garden.
  2. from time to time, changing the direction the entrance to the box faces at a particular location. The pest animals that you want to destroy are inquisitive – they like to investigate something that is different from the last time they were there.
  3. varying the baits you use, e.g. meat, sardine, cheese, egg, pear, apple.
  4. varying the lures you use on the bait, e.g. peanut butter (rats love it!), cinnamon, curry powder, aniseed oil.


If you have a Timm’s trap, the one in a yellow plastic box, so effective in killing possums and hedgehogs, similar tips to those in 1 and 2 above apply. In addition:

  1. vary the baits you use, e.g. slices of pear, apple, banana.
  2. vary the lures you sprinkle on the fruit, e.g. cinnamon, curry powder, aniseed oil.

Remember to be sure that your trap, whether it is a DOC 200, DOC 150, or Timm’s trap, is well weighed down, e.g. with a brick, plus in the case of your Timm’s trap, with the two wires provided driven through the holes on opposite sides of the base, and into the ground. When you take these steps, your trap will not wobble and frighten the pest animal, deterring it from investigating the bait, pulling it and setting off the trap.

Happy trapping!


You can take advantage of the fact that rats have poor eye-sight, so they like to follow obvious lines, such as the wall of your house. Also, they are attracted by tunnels. Here’s how you can make an effective, weather-proof bait station:

  1. find a piece of plastic pipe about 300 mm long, and 50 mm diameter.
  2. EITHER hold the head of a 50 mm nail in a pair of pliers, heat the pointed end of the nail on an element on a gas stove, then drive the hot end of the nail once into the plastic pipe midway along its length, OR use a drill to make the hole.
  3. find a piece of wood, about 200 mm long, 50 mm wide, and 10 mm thick. EITHER burn a hole though it with a 50 mm nail heated on a gas stove, OR use a drill to make a hole for the 50 mm nail.
  4. hold the piece of wood inside the pipe, with the hole in it directly above the hole in the pipe.
  5. push the now cool nail from the outside of the pipe into the hole in it and the hole in the piece of wood.
  6. with one hand in a glove, reach into the pipe to place on the nail a “Pestoff” rodent block, which comes with a hole already drilled through it.
  7. with a felt-tip pen, write “top” on the pipe opposite the nail / wood / rodent block.
  8. finally place your ready-to-be-visited rat bait station on the ground parallel to a wall of your house, garden shed, or garage, and lean a brick against the pipe to be sure that it does not wobble and frighten rats.


Check your bait station each week. If the rodent block has disappeared, wait a week before replacing it. This way you’ll make sure that the rat, or rats, which ate the block, has / have died – death is not immediate! This way you avoid wasting bait on rats by letting them eat an overdose.

Patience pays off for pest poisoners!

Good luck

Chris Horne