An Australian state has been hit by its worst mice plague “in decades” after a bumper grain harvest.
Farmers in New South Wales made hay bales for the winter, but expect to lose many of them to the mice.
A grocer in Gulargambone, a small community between Gilgandra and Coonamble, north west of Sydney, said, “We actually are catching between 400-500 every night, sometimes 600, it’s pretty bad.”
Mr. Singh told ABC that he has been spending around six hours a day cleaning just to deal with the filth.
Many locals rely on the supermarket for everyday needs. Large chain supermarkets are more than an hour’s drive away.
“The shop stinks because they’re dying inside, so people are going elsewhere to get their groceries,” he said.
NSW Health confirmed that three hospital patients have been bitten by mice while being treated in Tottenham, Walgett and Gulargambone.
“Reports of residents or patients receiving minor bites have been made … and appropriate treatment has been provided,” a NSW Health spokesperson said.
The staff is taking control measures such as baiting and trapping, using odor repellents and increased frequency of food waste removal. They are blocking access by improving seals around doors and windows and closing any entrance ways.
“You can imagine that every time you open a cupboard, every time you go to your pantry, there are mice present,” rodent expert Steve Henry said.
“And they’re eating into your food containers, they’re fouling your clean linen in your linen cupboard, they’re running across your bed at night,” he added.
According to a local media report, just one pair of mice can produce an average of 500 offspring in a season.
Intensive baiting programs have not had much success so far. Locals are hoping for heavy rain to drown the mice in their burrows.