Is the NSW mouse plague coming to Canberra?

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Is the NSW mouse plague coming to Canberra?

The current mouse plague (2020/2021) continues to devastate crops and communities across inland NSW, southern Queensland and north-western Victoria. Shocking television footage of the mouse plague has many Canberra residents wondering if the nation’s capital is next? In this post blog, we answer some of the questions we’ve been asked about the NSW mouse plague.

Will the mouse plague come to Canberra?

At this stage, it’s unlikely that mice will invade Canberra on a mass scale; however, the ACT Government has developed a contingency plan just in case the ACT is affected.* As experienced pest controllers, we believe that residents living on the outskirts of Canberra or near bushland could encounter more mice this year.

* Reported in the Canberra Times, 22 May 2021.

What has caused the mouse plague in NSW?

According to experts, the mouse plague in NSW is due to higher rainfall in 2020, which has resulted in bumper crops. Mouse plagues tend to occur every 5-10 years in Australia.

Which species is behind the mouse plague in NSW?

According to CSIRO mouse expert Steve Henry, the non-native house mouse (Mus musculus) is the major culprit in the current plague.*

* Reported in NBC News, March 27, 2021

What is being done to end the mouse plague in NSW?

Rodenticides (typically in bait form) are being used to kill the mice; however, the process takes time. To speed things up, the NSW government is considering the use of bromadiolone – a very potent rodenticide that can cause collateral damage (to animals that eat mice).

What is Mouse Alert?

Mouse Alert is a government-funded website that any member of the community can use. The purpose of the website is to record information about mice sightings. The website address is: https://www.feralscan.org.au/mousealert/

Has there ever been a mouse plague in Canberra?

A Google search indicates that in 1994 the ACT was part of a wider mouse plague in NSW.

Do mice travel long distances?

As a general rule, mice aren’t migratory creatures, as they prefer to forage near their nests. However, some juvenile mice do migrate during plagues to escape population pressures. These “travelling” mice could potentially hitch rides on trucks carrying agricultural produce.

How can I protect my home from mice in Canberra?

There are two fundamental rules for keeping rodents (mice or rats) out of your home: firstly, keep your kitchen clean and tidy (dispose of rubbish properly); and secondly, repair or block any external entry points. Typical entry points include cracks and gaps in floors, roofs and walls. In addition, property owners should cover chimney openings, roof vents and skylights with mesh or perforated plastic.

Important Note: mice are more likely to enter a Canberra home in winter (to escape the cold).

Do mice carry disease?

Yes. Mice carry diseases such as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), leptospirosis, trichinosis, tularaemia, salmonellosis and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). It’s important not to touch or smell mouse urine, faeces and saliva – unless using the right personal protective equipment (PPE).

Can mice cause house fires?

Yes. Mice can gnaw through electrical wiring and potentially start a house fire.

How often do mice breed?

As the mouse plague in NSW has shown, mice are prolific breeders. A female mouse has the ability to produce a litter (5-10 babies) every 21 days.

Can ACT Pest Control guarantee to eradicate mice from my property?

We cannot guarantee to fully eradicate mice for one very simple reason: finding all the entry points (particularly in older homes) is very hard. Many entry points are difficult to find, as they’re hidden by floor coverings, internal walls and roof insulation. At ACT Pest Control, we employ a “best endeavours” approach – baiting the mice and highlighting any entry points we find.

For further information on mice control in Canberra, or to make a booking, please call ACT Pest Control on 1300 022 122.