17 April 2023

Is another mice plague upon us? Calls to stay alert after signs of rampant rodents

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Mice numbers are on the rise, leading to calls for farmers and homeowners to stay extra vigilant. Photo: Peter Brown/CSIRO.

CSIRO and NSW Farmers have issued warnings about an expected increase in mice numbers heading into the cooler months.

NSW Farmers says blooming mouse numbers are cause for concern as farmers across the state are on the lookout for increased activity by the rodents.

There are also reports of increased damage to crops and fodder across NSW.

NSW Farmers president Xavier Martin is urging growers to be extra vigilant about mouse activity two years after the plague that destroyed crops while vehicles, buildings and towns became severely infested.

“Members are telling me they’re seeing mice again all the way from Queensland down to the Victorian border and out west towards Adelaide,” Mr Martin said.

“We need everyone to keep an eye out for mice; in particular, use their chew cards and report any activity to authorities.

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“It’s important to stay on top of this issue so we can avoid a repeat of the 2021 mouse plague, so please, if you see something, say something.”

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke urged farmers and homeowners to prepare for a mice influx, and said it was vital for the new NSW Government to support them.

“There are many households and businesses across regional NSW whose daily lives and mental and physical health were impacted by the large numbers of mice two years ago,” Ms Cooke said.

“The pests chewed through crops, damaged farm machinery, and swarmed homes and towns, leading to millions of dollars of damage to crops and infrastructure.”


Mice found in a piggery – a sight no-one wants to be repeated only two years since the last plague. Photo: CSIRO.

Ms Cooke said the Government at the time of the previous plague ensured bait supplies and rebates were made available with a $50 million support package for eligible landholders, households and small businesses.

“The package was very successful in supporting impacted landholders and critical in managing numbers throughout the year,” she said.

“A series of workshops were also held in conjunction with Local Land Services, which were invaluable to ensure primary producers were better informed about on-farm mouse management.”

Ms Cooke has called on the Minns Government to be prepared if the population spikes after what has been another bumper crop season in many areas.

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“I have written to the new Minister for Agriculture and urged her to ensure preparations are in place and support is made available if we see a repeat of the 2021 numbers,” she said.

Farmers and rural landholders are urged to report mouse activity by visiting MouseAlert and downloading the chew card template here.

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