'Death by chocolate' for Wellington pests

Authorities in Wellington are taking 'death by chocolate' to a whole new level with an innovative rat control method - using chocolate instead of poisonous bait.

Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council are partnering to investigate how well rat numbers can be controlled without poison at Te Ahumairangi (formerly Tinakori) Hill.

"As far as we know this area doesn't have possums so is an ideal trial site to focus on the rodent population," said senior biosecurity officer Paul Horton.

Greater Wellington's biosecurity team has set up several self-setting traps made by Kiwi innovators Goodnature. 

The traps feature chocolate lures that attract rodents with their sweet smell, and then instantly kill any curious rodents.

The lures are designed to last six months, and each trap can kill 24 rodents before its carbon dioxide canister needs to be replaced.

"This is just one method we can use to get our rodent populations under control," he said.

Because the traps can be used more than once before checking, it saves staff time spent checking traps regularly. 

"Plus, native birds aren't drawn to the traps and cannot interact with the bait," said Mr Horton.