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Mouse 'plague' ravages Australia's New South Wales

March 19, 2021

Local farmers captured skin-crawling clips, showing thousands of mice scurrying around their land and buildings.

mice inside a load of bread
A plague of mice is infesting grain harvests across New South Wales in AustraliaImage: WILDLIFE/picture alliance

Rural communities in the Australian state of New South Wales are battling a"plague" of mice that has struck the region.

Thousands of mice are invading grain silos, barns and homes and infesting the farmers' bumper grain harvest.

Mice numbers boomed after unusually heavy summer rains fell across eastern Australia after years of drought, experts explained.

Farmers share mice 'plague' impact on social media

Videos captured on the Moeris family farm in Gilgandra — a five-hour drive northwest of Sydney — show thousands of mice scurrying from under pipes, through storage columns and over machinery.

"Winter crop sowing is at risk and there is a human health impact," the NSW Young Farmers association warned in a tweet, alongside a video showing mice running through hay bales.

"Mice are still causing nightmares for farmers and rural communities," the NSW Farmers association tweeted.

"At night... the ground is just moving with thousands and thousands of mice just running around" farmer Ron Mckay told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The impact of the mice plague

Australia's ABC reported three hospital patients in regional New South Wales have been bitten by mice.

There was one report of a rare mouse-related illness known as lymphocytic choriomeningitis [LCM] in the region, ABC reported, quoting the region's Western Local Health District.

Farmers are also concerned the mice will destroy this year's harvest.

Australia struggles to sell its barley crop

How farmers plan to combat the mice

Farmers in New South Wales (NSW) have asked the government for help to combat the "drastic increase" in mice.

The NSW Farmers Association wants emergency permission to lay down the pesticide zinc phosphide to treat their grain.

"This mice situation is only getting worse," said NSW Farmers president James Jackson said.

kmm/rt (AFP, Reuters)