A damaging mouse plague has infested many rural areas of NSW, adding to the grief and torment of an already difficult new year.
After facing bush fires, drought, the pandemic and a shortage of labour, many rural townships are now battling a mouse infestation like no other. While mouse plagues are part and parcel of rural life, it’s the last thing we needed after an already difficult two years. According to some sources, the mice a re plaguing rural areas of SW at a rate of 3000 per hectare. They are decimating crops and entering homes, leaving behind the kind of destruction only mice plagues are capable of doing.
Mice are prolific breeders, littering pups of up to ten every 19 to 20 days. Perfect weather and a great source of food has seen populations grow to unprecedented heights. Places like, Coonamble, Dubbo, Moree, Tamworth, The upper Hunter Valley, and several other areas are inundated by the mice plague. Mouse traps and mouse bait are at a premium and stocks fast running out as suppliers try and keep up with the demand to kerb the mouse plague.
Houses, sheds, roadways, and paddocks are simply littered with flowing rivers of mice. Experts are warning that the plague could last right up through until winter, when mice will seek warmer quarters, possible infesting homes and sheds to bear the cold. If aid is not instigated fast the cost to farmers could end up costing billions, once again forcing up the price of primary produce.
“We need help now,” Says Byron Curtis, a third generation wheat farmer from Meringur .
We were already struggling to survive, but now this is just another nail in the coffin.”
But losing crops and causing chaos is not the only problem. Mice are also renowned for carrying unwanted diseases and spreading these to farm animals and native wildlife, causing secondary problems. Even humans are not safe and are prone to catching the diseases spread by infected mice. Diseases such as, LCMV (lymphocytic choriomeningitis ), salmonella and hantavirus are spread through mouse urine and mouse faeces. These can dry, turning to dust which then adheres to foods we eat and into the air that we breathe. All can prove deadly to animals and humans, and an extremely unpleasant experience.
One of the most feared of all these disease is, leptospirosis. Leptospirosis can be spread rapidly when infected animals urinate in water streams, or even drown en masse in reservoirs, letting the disease take hold and spread through our waterways. Leptospirosis is a particularly nasty disease, easily trouncing COVID-19 in terms of pain and suffering. Just note some of these symptoms:
- Chills and Fever, Muscle aches, and other flu like symptoms
- Severe Abdominal Pains
- Coughing and Sore Throat
- Nausea and Vomiting
The illness vcan last weeks with many needing hospitalisation. Of these, many do not survive after developing further symptoms such as:
- Breathing Issues
- Liver and Kidney Failure,
- Heart Disease
Farming areas particularly infected by this mouse plague are areas that farm canola and grains. But the plague is that intense that people are even finding them in the thousands living in overgrown lawns. Any shred grains in silos etc., kept to sustain livestock, are also being rapidly destroyed by the mice plague.Even truck drivers are not immune to the problem, finding that mice are getting into their long-haulage grain carrying loads.