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CONDITIONS RIGHT FOR A MOUSE PLAGUE

Andy Knox of Bell Laboratories advises pest managers to be well prepared in the event of a mouse plague this season.

CSIRO is now warning that another mouse plague is possible for South Australia and Victoria after a wet spring, mild summer, and bumper harvest. Populations are set to grow on the back of these excellent conditions, particularly in the lead up to autumn crop sowing.

As well as potentially transmitting disease, mice can cause significant damage to fixtures and equipment by gnawing at wiring and other electricals. They are also likely to ruin stored foodstuffs with urine and faeces.

Mouse plagues do not really travel as such, populations rapidly increase in a given location when several favourable factors come in to play – moisture, temperature and available food are the most significant of these. It is likely that when these favourable conditions occur, it will be over a reasonably wide area rather than just in an isolated location.

There are a variety of measures that can be taken to minimise damage and limit the likelihood of population explosion. Control methods are best implemented early in the build-up to plague densities.

Overgrown fence lines and untended garden areas are often a major source of infestation, if they are allowed to grow unchecked, they offer perfect harbourage and ample foodstuff in a good year. Long grass and weeds should be removed and these areas cleaned. Rampage rodenticide from Bell Laboratories is one of the only products registered for fence line use on mice in Australia. It must be secured in a lockable bait station.

For in and around homes, factories and commercial buildings, Bell offers both Contrac and Ditrac. Both are second generation anticoagulant (single feed) baits, but Ditrac is five times stronger than Contrac. If used safely and with care, Ditrac is a great option, but if secondary toxicity is a concern, then Bell recommend the use of Contrac.

The Bell range also includes snap traps and glue boards which are a great option in food production areas or if pets, working dogs or children are a concern. Sales are already showing a significant increase and we at Bell recommend that, with conditions such as they are, pest managers should be prepared.

Andy Knox, Australasian Business Manager, Bell Laboratories