Making a Weta Motel - DIY
How to Make a Weta Home in Your Garden
The weta are flightless and nocturnal New Zealand insects of a varying size with the largest being nearly mouse sized! There are Tree Weta, Giant Weta, Ground Weta, Tusked Weta and Cave Weta; the most common one found in New Zealand gardens being the Tree Weta. Keeping Weta happy in your garden is an important part of keeping biodiversity thriving and ensuring a healthy ecosystem. Tree weta live in tree holes by day and roam around the garden by night. Being omnivores, they tend to eat most plant material and the occasional hapless insect that crosses their path.
Select suitable bamboo to create the weta home.Find a sturdy piece of bamboo of a length at least 10cm or more and of a good width––weta are long and quite large.
- It is important that the bamboo be dry, untreated by any chemicals and not already housing any other insect. Look for pieces from a garden growing bamboo organically or ask at your local nursery.
Making the Weta Home
Drill an entrance hole into the piece of bamboo.Weta like holes that are small and are placed at the entrance––they will happily squeeze into the hole to enter the bamboo. Provided they enter a large living area inside, this is ideal as they'll feel safer with the small entrance way to keep out other insects. You might also consider making a few extra small holes along the length to give the weta some choice but don't overdo it, as the weta needs a solid resting space.
- If there are large holes, fill these in with cork, leaf matter or similar items. Make the house cosy.
Attach the bamboo home somewhere suitable for the weta to find and move in.This might be on a tree, fence post or other elevated place that the weta can climb to. Tie it on solidly using twine, bendable twist ties or similar strong binding materials. Check that it is solid and won't move in the wind before leaving it to be inhabited.
QuestionHow do you make it out of a shoe box?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAdd soil to the box as it would be in the ground. Plant the seed how you would regularly plant it in the ground. Keep it in sunlight, and water it well.Thanks!
- Make a viewing window hole. If you are curious as to your weta's lifestyle, cover one of the holes totally with perspex and replace the piece of wood that has been removed with hinges so that you can flip it up and peer in now and then. Make sure that there are adequate other holes for it to squeeze through as well as uninterrupted cabin space for resting!
- Wetas don't make their own holes––male weta tend to use what they find and defend it from other male weta.
- Weta can be found in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and some parts of South America. Not all these species are common all across NZ.
- The Maori name for Tree Weta is Putangatanga.
- Try to keep undisturbed parts of your garden; many species of weta are endangered and they are very vulnerable to habitat disturbance.
- Tree wetas can bite (they have powerful mandibles) but this is fairly rare; don't disturb or tease them. Also beware of scratches from them; get disinfectant treatment and see a doctor if any infection develops.
- Keep your cats in at night; they are one of the key forces of weta destruction.
Video: How to build a weta motel
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