Farmers are seeing troubling signs the mouse plague that devastated regional communities earlier this year could surge again, in perhaps a bigger and more widespread way. The mouse plague may have been halted in wintertime at the pests stop breeding, their high numbers going into the colder months means exponentially higher numbers coming into spring.
Even though it is still mid-august, CSIRO mouse expert Steve Henry opined that mouse numbers were already gaining momentum across the country. Farmers are now trading tips for building homemade mousetraps amid the plague. As the experts are talking to people in the rural communities and speaking to more and more farmers they are already preparing.
It cannot be denied that mice can have six to 10 babies every 19 to 21 days after they start breeding, and this is a serious cause for concern. Moreover, after years of drought, farmers across the country are expecting bumper crops. Along with this comes mice gorging themselves on grain, canola and legumes, and breeding at an extraordinary pace.
Mr Henry also stated that he was getting reports of mice numbers on the rise from Geraldton in Western Australia to Northwestern Victoria, and up into northern NSW and Southern Queensland. He urged farmers to start baiting early before the other food became available for mice.
If there is food readily available in the form of crops, there’s less incentive for mice to feed on the lethal bait. Nevertheless, fears of the mouse plague making its way into cities like Melbourne and Sydney were unfounded. The simple reason is there’s no reason for the mice to move into cities. Cities have less food available than on farms, so it would make little sense for them to go to the urban side.