Why is Australia experiencing its worst rodent outbreak in years?
WarningThis note contains information and images that may beVery p Unpleasant to some readers.
Farmers in southeast Australia are living a nightmare.
a plague from Million mice It has spread in recent weeks, causing massive damage to crops and putting the mental health of many people in crisis.
“Living with mice every day makes you feel dirty,” says Melanie Morris, who lives in New South Wales County (NGS).
“Mice move the earth,” says Brody Thomas Roche. “There is simply no way to escape from it.”
Experts and residents consider it The worst plague That they encountered in Many years In the region that came after a prolonged drought has already hit the local economy.
Also read: Locust plague with “biblical dimensions” threatens Africa
But this is precisely because the drought is over and there has been a rapid recovery of the farmer that mice It began to multiply on a large scale, Until you breed an invasion.
Gilgandra farmer Norman Morris says his barn was destroyed by mice, and they left him Losses exceeding $ 40,000.
“Cars, tractors, whatever they can get in, they’ll go in and chew. Wherever they go, they’ll go,” Moeris says.
The perfect moment
After several years of drought in southwestern Australia, Conditions are perfect now For mice to thrive.
There is a lot of food, moisture and less predators.
“We got out of a drought and things quickly got pretty good,” explains Martin Murray, an agronomist from DeLongra, New York. “And species that reproduce early, like mice, are really able to take advantage of this situation.”
Also read: Agriculture prevented 30 pests from entering Mexico in 2019
“It will take some time for the rest of the ecosystem to catch up and strike a balance,” he adds.
Mice can generate a file Sixth layer a Ten puppies In a few weeks. In the full breeding season, A female may have given birth to as many as 500 rodents.
“In Australia, most areas only have one harvest per year,” Murray explains. “An insect infestation in a good year could be a real setback.”
Moeris says this hit got them to the same point they were in the middle of a drought: “I lost a lot of money,” he says.
“They are running on the pillow.”
Lisa Minogue, a farmer from Parmidman, says that There is no way to catch thousands of mice on your property.
“We have traps at home, and we have bait outside,” he explains. “But that only catches a portion of the mice that are going around.”
Also read: Bacarana, a rodent that was “bathing”
“You can be in bed at night and you can hear them running around the bedroom. Sounds are heard running down the pillow“.
This is It affects people’s sleep and causes a nervous breakdownsBecause rodents invade homes. They eat food off the kitchen shelves, with litter everywhere.
Traps can kill hundreds of mice, but then they get affected They have to deal with the smell.
“There is the smell of live mice, but also the smell of rotting dead. It’s horrific, horrific.”
Martin Murray agrees: “This is the kind of thing that bothers you the most.”
An uncertain future
The New South Wales government set aside a fund of about $ 40 million to support farmers who had to spend thousands of dollars on traps.
But There is no help to recoup the losses On farms and in the local economy.
It is expected that with the arrival of the southern winter and the increase in the number of predators, the plague will eventually decrease. But there are no guarantees.
Mice are good at doing this Resistant burrows Inside pastures, barns, or other agricultural structures.
“You have worked hard throughout your life, trying to keep everything going, feed everyone, and take care of the earth They finish everythingRoche regrets.
You can now receive push notifications from BBC Mundo. Download the new version of our app and activate it so that you don’t miss our best content.
“Travel enthusiast. Alcohol lover. Friendly entrepreneur. Coffeeaholic. Award-winning writer.”