Despite a lull over the winter, Australia’s mouse plague never ended – and now it’s threatening new areas of the country.
Large numbers of mice continue to plague rural Australian communities as farmers fear yet another crop will be ruined.
After dwindling in the winter cold, mouse populations have begun growing rapidly again, CSIRO mouse expert Steve Henry said.
“We’re quite concerned, given them the numbers that have been reported at the moment,” Mr Henry said.
NSW Farmers vice president Xavier Martin, who operates a farm in Gunnedah, said the new wave of mice would be a hard blow for farmers still reeling from the plague earlier in the year.
“A lot of farmers are on edge because they’re still trying to deal with contaminated hay and crops,” he said.
“Some contaminated produce had to be buried or burnt. So they’re very wary about this upcoming harvest and hay making.”
The mice are multiplying fast across a wide area that stretches from northern NSW to southern Queensland.
The worst-hit areas in recent weeks appear to be around Walgett and Moree in NSW, and in the Darling Downs in Queensland.
But there is also an area in Western Australia where mice are breeding fast, according to Mr Henry.
“It’s unusual – historically, there haven’t been many mouse plagues out there,” he said.
Victoria and South Australia also has areas where mice are spreading.
The CSIRO has urged farmers to actively monitor the mouse numbers on their properties and consider baiting with zinc phosphide.
The organisation said its experts had been unable to monitor paddocks in person due to coronavirus travel restrictions, and that it had relied on a network of farmers to take stock of the mouse situation.
“Mouse numbers are moderate to high in many areas,” the CSIRO wrote in a report last month.
“Given the excellent conditions in many areas, mice will commence breeding early (lots of food, cover and moisture) and mouse numbers will only increase.”
At the height of the infestation last autumn, it was reported the mouse plague was on track to cause up to $100 million worth of damage and worsen a mental health crisis in the regions.
Some farmers lost as much as $300,000 in ruined crops as the mice chewed through anything they can get their teeth in. [Perth Now]
Mice Plague in Australia – The hotel owner was left fighting for his life after contracting a deadly disease from the rodent army.
A HOTEL owner was left fighting for his life after contracting a deadly disease from mice that infested Australia in a plague similar to Doomsday.
Trevor Hardie, 70, contracted leptospirosis, a bacterial infection found in the urine of rodents, which could have killed him in a matter of days.
They have decimated crops and made their way through food storage units.
Mice have also invaded homes, schools and hospitals as they thrive after heavy rains and hot and dry spells that led to a bountiful harvest.
Mr. Hardie initially thought he had the flu and then Covid before he was taken to Wollongong Hospital for five nights.
“I couldn’t walk, I would sweat all night, my kidneys and liver packed it up … it was the sickest thing I’ve ever felt in my life, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” he said. he told Australia’s Daily Telegraph.
After contracting the disease in late April, he suffered from a leaky heart, liver failure, and acute kidney failure.
Hardie cautions people to make sure homes and stores are clean to prevent them from getting infected as well.
“All it takes is to have (mice) running around in a shed, a grain silo or a house, they pee all over the place and you touch it in some way … it took my breath away for weeks,” he said.
The huge rodent army is now marching on Sydney amid shocking reports of people being questioned in their beds.
A government-funded MouseAlert website shows that sightings have doubled since March, with an increase in cases in and around Sydney.
Channel 10 News Sydney claimed that the mice could now be “marching into” Australia’s largest city to “invade” in August.
Elsewhere, a family home burned to the ground after wild rodents bit into the wiring.
Rebekah Ward, a mother of three, said the stomach-churning infestation caused “mice to jump from the roof” to flee the flames.
“The state government assistance package is impractical, dysfunctional and weeks away, not helping farmers who need support right now to reduce the number of mice and break this horrible relentless cycle,” he said.