If you are noticing an unusual number of mice in your home or office this month, you are not alone.
Rodent activity is on the rise, which apparently means winter is on its way.
Countless North West Star readers have reported mice, rats, and the droppings of both in their homes and workplaces over the last few weeks.
Bait and traps have been flying off the shelves and pest control businesses are in demand.
When we asked readers about their rodent situations, The North West Star inbox was inundated with horror stories.
Soldiers Hill has been a popular breeding ground it seems, with several residents experiencing mice and rat infestations.
Dianne Stuart said she had to replace the grey water hoses on her dishwasher and washing machine after they chewed through the plastic.
"It’s the first time in our 11 years living in Mount Isa that we have ever had to do this. Luckily for us our cat is a good hunter,” Ms Stuart said.
Also from Soldiers Hill, Tom Cook said “definitely had a few dozen rodents this year out of nowhere. Had to get rid of our toaster as housemate accidentally fried one hiding in there.”
The creative women at Arts on Alma trialed three different types of traps before ending up with a more humane live catch trap.
A first attempt involved an ineffectual glue trap followed by a brick to put the mouse out of its misery.
“One lady in Toowoomba told me they had a plague of mice, and she live trapped them before drowning them, because that’s more humane,” said Michele Savoye, artist and animal lover.
Another reader, Samantha Kelley, has seen mice “Literally everywhere! Our bait is working but clearly not well enough! Our whole house is baited and we had one tiny baby die today, so they’re clearly still breeding,” she said.
Exterminator Bradley White from Flick Anticimex Pest Control confirmed rodents are in fact seasonal.
“We’ve had an exceptional wet season in the north west, so there’s been a lot more growth which means plenty of food for mice and rats.”
“More food means better conditions for breeding and population goes up,” White said.
Ngaire from Outback Pest Control had also seen an increase in business with plenty of new customers.
“We don’t usually get this busy in the autumn, we’ve done a few businesses that we’ve never done before. It’s been pretty strange,” Ngaire said.
“Even in the mines and some places we used to do every three months, now they’re calling us up,” she said.
Bait stations and live catches are popular pest control methods for rodents.
“Instant kill” bait means picking up a lot of dead mice, said Ngaire.
Traps and bait have both been popular at Mount Isa Produce Store, said manager William McCulloch.
“We have had to put a lot more bait out here in the shop ourselves,” Mr McCulloch said.
“Even the supplier rang me and said “you must have a real problem with mice and rats, man, you’ve been going through some baits and traps”,” he said.
CSIRO research officer Steve Henry said an “exceptional” cropping season and a good spring last year had seen mice begin to breed early, and continue breeding throughout summer and autumn.
The high yields of the crops had left plenty of stubble too, providing shelter for the rodents.
The CSIRO’s latest mouse monitoring report from March said mouse abundance was increasing across the state.
Mr Henry said mouse numbers had been higher than expected, but were “patchy”, with numbers high in some areas and low in others.
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