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Lockdown Wētā Motels – ZOOMOLOGY BLOG


A weblog publish by Emma

Lockdown 2020

In March final yr, New Zealand was in its first lockdown due to COVID-19. Tom and I had been attributable to head again to England however couldn’t. We had been fortunate sufficient to have work we might do from house (I had a lab arrange in our storage for my NZ work and Tom had UK desk-based work). In our free time, we additionally had an extended listing of tasks and renos to occupy us, in addition to our virtually one yr previous son, Ezra.

One of many many tasks we had been enthusiastic about was to make some insect accommodations for the critters in our backyard. A couple of months prior, we had picked up a sheet of clear Perspex, however had by no means been capable of finding the time to do it. Now was that point!

We had been impressed to do that undertaking due to the numerous wētā we discovered hiding beneath the invasive English Ivy that we had been eradicating from our bushes.


Wētā – NZ’s Big Flightless Crickets

For individuals who haven’t heard of ‘wētā’, they a gaggle of about 70 species of big flightless crickets which might be endemic to New Zealand. They fall into the households Anostostomatidae and Rhaphidophoridae, some species of that are amongst the heaviest bugs on the planet. Those we had been discovering in our backyard had been tree wētā (Hemideina sp.).


Constructing Our Wētā Motels

As we had been eradicating a few of their habitat, we wished to mitigate that loss by making the insect accommodations. These accommodations are additionally an effective way for individuals to interact with the wildlife inhabiting their gardens – and incredible method for our ecologist-in-training, Ezra, to get a better look.

Tom and Ezra set to work constructing them utilizing timber cut-offs from different tasks and the Perspex we had bought earlier. Ezra beloved being part of the method, his favorite factor seeing the drill in motion.

Tom measuring up the accommodations

Click on to zoom in


Lockdown 2021

Now, flash ahead a yr and some months, and we’re up one baby (Hey, Child Reid!) and we’re again in lockdown once more because the Delta variant has managed to sneak in by means of the border.

Through the time between these two lockdowns, our accommodations have been gaining increasingly more residents. The uptake was gradual at first while the phrase was getting on the market, however now they’ve many common patrons.

Yesterday, as has turn out to be our weekly custom, we went across the backyard checking all of the accommodations. The residents vary from spiders to bush cockroaches, by means of to our most spectacular group of residents, a harem of tree wētā .

This lodge homes a lot of bush cockroaches which regularly scamper out whenever you open it. Ezra is looking for those that bumped into the leaf litter.
Heading up the trail to one among our huge native tōtara bushes.

Anybody house?

What’s inside?

A harem of tree wētā!


I’ll depart you with a bit of studying story I put collectively for Ezra’s kindy again in March this yr, virtually a yr from once we first put the accommodations up.


Ezra’s Kindergaten Story

From 4th March 2021

At this time, Mummy, Daddy and I checked the wētā containers in our backyard. I helped make the containers with Daddy once I was not even a yr previous. At any time when I’m within the backyard, I at all times say, “Field! Field!” and discover them on the bushes.

We had an exquisite shock once we opened the field on the large tōtara tree… it was filled with tree wētā! There was a harem of seven females and 1 male all huddled collectively. They’re nocturnal in order that they like hiding in the dead of night field in the course of the day – we simply had a fast peek.

They often dwell in holes in bushes that had been made by beetle or moth larvae, or the place rot has set in after a twig has damaged off. When a tree wētā strikes in, the wētā retains the opening good and clear by chewing away any bark progress surrounding the opening. Their new house is known as a ‘gallery’. An insect field just like the one Daddy and I made is an ideal gallery for a tree wētā!


Need to see extra?

A couple of years in the past, we had a tremendous encounter with the Mahoenui Big Wētā. Take a look at that publish right here:


References and Additional Studying

Concepts for constructing your personal insect accommodations

Division of Conservation – Tips on how to Construct a Wētā Motel – https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/toyota-kiwi-guardians/take-action/build-a-weta-motel/
(Retrieved 22 August 2021)

ALLOTMENT DIARY Weblog – How I constructed a bug lodge – https://carrottopsallotment.com/2020/12/27/how-i-built-a-bug-hotel/
(Retrieved 22 August 2021)

EVERY TREASURE BLOG – Wild Household – Constructing Insect Motels – https://everytreasure.weblog/2021/04/09/wild-family-building-insect-hotels/
(Retrieved 22 August 2021)

GOEDBETERBEN Weblog – Insect Resort – https://goedbeterben.com/2021/05/14/insect-hotel/
(Retrieved 22 August 2021)

All about Wētā

Division of Conservation – Wētā – https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/invertebrates/weta/
(Retrieved 22 August 2021)

Massey College – Wētā Getter: A information to New Zealand Orthoptera – http://wetageta.massey.ac.nz/
(Retrieved 22 August 2021)

Te Ara – Story: Wētā – https://teara.govt.nz/en/weta
(Retrieved 22 August 2021)



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