New Zealand Experiment Uses Ferret Odour for Pest Control

A pest control worker removing household pest

A New Zealand study aimed to explore how using ferret stench could be an effective pest control measure against rats, stoats and hedgehogs.

The study may provide some valuable information on how to provide new and better pest management services in the country. If successful, it may benefit commercial and residential establishments where these pesky creatures thrive in huge numbers.

Patrick Garvey and the other researchers conducted the study in January. The team applied ferret odour to rabbit meat placed on several traps across the country.

Sense of Smell

The study discovered that adding the ferret stench to meat-laden traps led the team to detect pests 32 times at 11 different areas within a 40-square-kilometre site, as opposed to only seven detections in four areas with traps that had no ferret odour.

This represented a significant increase not just in detections, but also in animal sightings in the monitored areas, according to Garvey. The researchers achieved a 300 per cent increase in stoat detections within the time of the study.

Garvey attributed the appeal of ferret stench to stoats to the animals' “eavesdropping” behaviour, which is common among mammals.

Pest-Free City

As the study explores new pest control measures, local cities have also launched efforts to address the problem. In Wellington, for instance, authorities have announced in 2016 that the city would become the first capital in the world to be free from pests.

Researchers believe the plan is feasible, which includes controlling the population of stoats and rats from the Miramar Peninsula. It would then expand pest-control efforts across an almost 300-square-kilometre site in the city’s territorial region. The Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the NEXT Foundation have collaborated for the project.

While the study gives a fresh insight on pest management services in New Zealand, you should consider other options first since ferret stench could be a dangerous scent. Talk to a pest control company to learn if this option will work for your property.