Weta and other small creatures can be encouraged be providing safe places for them to hide from predators such as rats, mice, cats and hedgehogs. All of those introduced predators are active at night, as are weta. Planting lots of native shrubs and trees and allowing leaf litter and old logs to accumulate and decay provides cover for small creatures. The shade that plants provide keeps the temperature down and this reduces drying. Weta hide during the day in small dark hole to avoid daytime hunters, heat and bright light. They emerge at night to feed, mate and lay eggs in soil. As well as natural holes in trees and logs that are usually made by beetle larvae and decay, you can add holes artificially.
Artificial holes need to be predator proof so keep them small although the cavity beyond the entrance hole can be bigger. Position holes on the shady southern side of trees and under leafy cover where possible. If the holes/cavities are dry and hot they will not be used.
These Hawke's Bay tree weta are using a box originally made for riflemen. The box is about 10cm square and made of boards. A single entrance hole of about 15mm is on the surface away from the tree; the size and position prevents rodents getting in. The frass (droppings) are a sign that the box has been well used. Most of the weta are females and there is an adult male visible on the right. Adult males will not tolerate other adults males as they control mating access to this "harem" of females.
Other materials than can be used to make weta holes include bamboo and flax (Phormium tenax) flower poles. Dry flax poles are easily sawn into 15 cm lengths and holed out with drill or other tool. If the hole goes right through it is easy to look to see who is home. If the hole is closed at one end, weta probably prefer it as it stays dark and should be positiond with wire or string so that the closed end is up. Occupancy can be checked using a torch.
More complex roosts cost more to make but can be very useful for regularly observations and monitoring activities. These weta "motels" have multiple holes, sometimes with differing entrance sizes to provide places for weta of different ages. Motels are best fixed to exsting trees on the shady side. A door plus a perspex layer beneath means that weta can be inspected without them falling out. The first roosts of this sort were used in a study of two species of tree weta where they occur together (sympatric) in Hawke's Bay (See WETA ROOSTS).