With all the recent coverage of the NSW Mouse Plague, you might think an apocalyptic battle between mice and mankind was about to be waged in homes and businesses all across Sydney. Luckily, the truth is less certain (and probably less severe) than alarmists would have you believe.
Mouse plagues happen fairly regularly in Australia if you can call every decade or so “regular”. And, while we don’t expect to see the same numbers of mice here as have been seen in rural NSW, we may experience noticeable increases in mouse activity across urban areas. The best protection is preparation, so consider assessing your property for infestation risks and make a few simple changes to reduce your home or business’s overall accessibility and attraction to rodents.
The real impact of a rodent infestation
Mice and other rodents are prolific disease carriers and can pose serious health concerns to your family, friends, or customers. They make themselves at home in hard-to-reach places like walls, ceilings, and sub-floors where they cause costly damage and wreak havoc on properties gnawing through electrical wires, chewing through plasterboard, and contaminating surfaces (or food!) with their hair, droppings, and urine. Gross fact: mice and rats are incontinent and leave droppings and urine wherever they go, which as you’d expect can leave a nasty odour!
Assessing your property for infestation risk
Properties more ‘at risk’ of increased mouse activity include those near commercial food handling premises, older buildings, properties adjoining parks, reserves, or bushland, and homes that already have an uncontrolled rodent issue.
Tips to ‘plague proof’ your home before increased mouse activity
All animals need food and water to survive, so make sure you’re not providing it by:
- Collecting pet bowls, potted plants, play equipment, toys, and other backyard clutter that could collect water
- Examining external taps and stopping leaks
- Clearing blocked gutters or drains and diverting water away from your property
- Ensuring external garbage bins are intact and not overflowing
- Storing food in airtight containers
Next, think access and look for ways that mice or rodents can gain entry to your property:
- Cut back overhanging trees or vegetation that could allow rodents access to your roof
- Install door sweeps where necessary and repair damaged door screens
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home, for example where utilities and pipes enter the building
- Keep roof voids/attics and sub-floors clear of clutter, well-ventilated and dry
- Inspect all items including groceries, packages, and boxes brought into your home