Spare a thought for our farmers as they navigate their way through the current emergency. This mouse plague is as bad as anyone can recall for over 20 years. However, this is on top of many farmers having to get through years of drought and the recent bushfires. The concern is now starting to reach a critical point as the TalkBack Radio channels go into overdrive with the fear that the rodents are going to make their way into the major cities!
One of the main reasons behind the rodent plague is their lifecycle and reproduction speed. The mathematics behind their breeding process and reproducing speed is more than enough to terrify anyone. In a matter of months, two adult rodents can multiply themselves into making their colony encompassing more than a hundred and thousands of mice. Under perfect conditions, these mice can even make it up to turning into millions in a matter of one year.
Lifecycle of these rodents
A typical house mouse has a lifecycle of around two or three years, but the alarming fact is that the female rodent develops the ability to reproduce at six weeks. Another shocking thing to keep in mind here is that, after being pregnant, the female rodent can give birth to ten mice in a matter of three weeks. Keeping the calculations in check, this means that a mature female rodent can practically get pregnant every other day.
If half of the offspring of the two original mice are female, it means that the lot will reproduce more than 2000 mice in the coming five months. In addition, after some time, hundreds and thousands of rodents will be roaming around the streets of Australia, and in the ideal rodent world, the numbers take off.
Australian Farming weather – Perfect for rodents
There are two ideal conditions for stopping the plague and avoiding these mice from growing their colonies. These two conditions include predators and scarcity of food. Nevertheless, Australia is going through a bad phase (luck-wise) because the weather of Australia is perfect for farming, hence plenty of food for the mice.
On the other hand, due to the exponential growth in numbers of these rodents, predators cannot keep up with the pace. Now eyes are looking towards winter, as the weather could play its role in slowing down the onslaught.
NSW Government is elevating its efforts in wiping out the menace and is going to use a previously banned chemical “napalm for mice.” Because of the continuous pressure by the regional communities from all over the state, the government has at last secured more than 50,000 litres of the mice poison named “bromadiolone.”
Bromadiolone – still a mystery.
The poison is not yet approved for agriculture use by the Australian government; still, the state is offering bromadiolone free of cost for the residents provided that the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority approves it.
While announcing to cope up with the rodent plague, the Agriculture minister for Australia Adam Marshall said that they are giving out a $50 million government package, which will be enough to wipe out the plague from its core, as it is equivalent to that of napalming mice.
The most alarming thing is that, according to research in the residential areas where the bromadiolone was used, researchers concluded that they found the highest level of poison in snakes and owls across the whole state. This means that the poison is spreading across the entire food chain upon using it. It has undoubtedly raised alarm bells for most residents. There are other alternatives to Bromadiolone but using toxic pesticides can still harm the regional ecosystem.
Bromadiolone – More favourable for the next plague?
If bromadiolone is used all over the state, the condition of the whole state could become more favourable for the next rodent plague. Not only that, but you would be looking at the agricultural areas without snakes, owls, goannas, and kites for a long time. Additionally, we will have to suffer the consequences whence all our natural pest control will be over.
NSW farmers are demanding to get a 50% rebate on zinc phosphide, which serves as an alternate choice for poison. When it comes to choosing poisons, choosing zinc phosphide is like choosing the better of two evils.
No other western country dares to approve the usage of bromadiolone at this scale. If the APVMA approved it, which according to their official website they already have, it would be the first time after 2016 that the usage of bromadiolone got a green signal. On the other hand, farmers are getting worried over the fact that if drastic measures are not taken within time, the consequences could be much worse, and the plague could last for more than two years.
Rodent plague – overrunning farms, shops, and bedrooms
It is absolutely horrific to see swarms of mice going here and there. As if the long and painful draught was not enough for the farmers of Australia, now the rodent plague is hitting them too.
Apart from devouring people’s crops, these rodents are not afraid of biting people in their beds. Additionally, people have also reported that swarms of mice drop down from their air conditioning units and other appliances. On the other hand, these rodents are brave enough to chew off the toes of hens while they are sitting in their pens.
Australia is hit by a mouse plague every decade. The recent one is because of the rains that played a beneficial role in the overflowing silos of Australian silos, but it also gave them a plague to fight with. The farmers stocked up the feed for their animals, and because of the presence of all that grain, it gave the rodent a perfect source of food, hence their increase in numbers. Until drastic measures are taken, Australia will continue to get plagued by the rodents who are now in Australia’s beds, farms, businesses, and even under grass.
It is becoming more and more difficult for regular people and farmers to carry out their daily activities without the fear of rodent plague taking over all of Australia. Because of this plague, unpleasant tasks have been added to many people’s list of routine tasks, as they have to set traps for the mice to avoid any profound loss to their business. Grocery sellers are more careful about the flour that is spilled from the nibbled packages. Hospital staff is using diffusers to mask the stench of the dead rodent corpses. So, this is a dire situation, in which if we leave it as it is, it can have a devastating result in a very short period of time from now. However, if we use a drastic measure of using a deadly product like bromadiolone, it may cause an adverse effect on the regional ecosystem. A much safer alternative in this situation can be using ultrasonic and electromagnetic rodent repellents that usually work as deterrents. So, it is upon all of us to decide what to do next.