Australia's out-of-control mouse plague is worsening in New South Wales, a southeastern Australian state, as experts warn the fast-spreading rodents could overwhelm the area for two years if urgent extermination action is not taken, according to Daily Mail.
Xavier Martin, the New South Wales Farmers (NSW Farmers) vice president, said farmers are abandoning their fields and barns as a biblical wave of mice devour the region's crop before it can be harvested. He said now is the perfect time to stop the plague.
"Farmers are abandoning some paddocks and cannot hold off winter crop sowing a moment longer, and researchers warn that without a concerted baiting effort in the next few weeks, this could easily turn into a two-year plague event.
"After more than eight months of battling growing mouse numbers, farmers are still waiting for State Government assistance to hit the ground and offer some practical support to our farming community," Martin said.
He said the NSW government's mouse plague aid is "impractical, dysfunctional, and weeks away, which is not helping farmers who need support right now to drive mouse numbers down and break this horrible, unrelenting cycle."
"NSW Farmers has consistently said the simplest, safest, and most timely way for the State Government to assist farmers would be through providing rebates of up to $25,000 per farm business to cover 50 percent of the cost of zinc phosphide bait," he added.
Mouse tracking website "MouseAlert" shows the mice are migrating from the countryside into cities. There are concerns the mice are already populating across the Sydney metro area.
"Mice are a significant problem in Australia, causing severe economic, social and environmental damage during plagues," the website states.
Videos posted on Twitter show stomach-churning scenes of mice pouring out of grain storage facilities and equipment.
The current mice plague in Australia is horrible, it’s causing so much strife for farmers and people in general. Just for an example I’ll show you what happened when we turned on our auger today. pic.twitter.com/NjTNlx6EhK— TKK Ash (Aura) (@William84533624) May 22, 2021
The mouse plague just gets worse- mice pour out of a temporary silo and into an opportunistic trap near Dubbo. Sarah Pye was horrified by the scene - she says she’s “devastated, disgusted and done.” She says “after such a boomer of a season after drought, to lose it all is awful” pic.twitter.com/6bfzprY67j— Lucy Thackray (@LucyThack) May 18, 2021
Stomach-churning new video of mice pouring out of a grain bin in northern NSW shows the struggle farmers continue to face from the plague as they approach winter planting.— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) May 24, 2021
The plan to 'napalm' mice: https://t.co/QDOydLAocH#9News pic.twitter.com/w2gAY2wAJP
Australia suffers from a mouse plague every decade or so. A combination of a bumper crop in NSW and heavy rains resulted in perfect breeding conditions for mice in late 2020.
What's concerning is that migrating mice to city centers could transmit diseases such as hantavirus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, tularemia, and even the plague.
NSW has faced everything from drought to brushfires, a pandemic, devastating floods, massive hordes of spiders, and now a biblical wave of mice.
Apart from the economic cost of the mouse plague, a public health crisis could be forming as mice swarms appear to be honing in on Sydney.