Of all the bizarre natural phenomena occurring in Australia, the mouse plagues are perhaps some of the most disturbing, and potentially damaging. These tremendous swarms of house mice occur in the summer months, and usually affect Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, although Western Australia has also seen mouse plagues in the past.
What is a mouse plague, and what causes it?
Essentially, a mouse plague occurs when favourable conditions, such as high rainfall, lead to an exponential explosion in the numbers of house mice in an area. These mice are generally nocturnal and live in burrows or underground, but when the population becomes too high for local food and shelter sources to cope, these mice come above ground in swarms of thousands to search for food. As you can imagine, the damage and detritus left behind by these ravenous little herds of critters can be enormous.
The affected areas are usually rural, with discarded seed and crops from farms providing the food the mice need to reproduce. The mice do not limit their search for food to farms and barns, however; the kitchen of the average home is an enticing larder to these mice, and homeowners in affected areas can see their homes invaded with masses of rodents. Homesteads are particularly at risk if they do not dispose of food waste securely, or if they grow vegetables or other edible plants on their land.
How can you prevent a mouse plague from damaging your home?
The bad news is that if a mouse infestation has already entered your home, damage is already being done. However, the public has more information than ever before about when, where and if a mouse plague is likely to manifest. If a mouse plague is predicted in your area, or you have already noticed increased amounts of rodent activity on your property, you can take the following measures to prevent them infesting your home: