The Grim Mathematics of Mice! By Brian Simpson

For all those farmers fighting the rat/mouse plague, here is the real reason why there are so many of the blitters. It is simply exponential growth in breeding rates. Rats and mice are known in genetics as having a “k” evolutionary selection strategy, where there is not much investment in one individual, but multitudes are produced. As detailed below, the breeding capabilities of rats and mice are …frightening! With enough food, there can be a plague from merely a few breeding pairs, or just one male and a couple of females. Even a basic male and female combination, with unlimited food will lead to the problems we now have. I say, poison away, and if cuddy creatures bite the dust, too bad! Our rural industry must not be allowed to be further eaten by vermin. We have enough in our governments already!

“The shocking mathematics behind the lifecycle of mice is one of the main reasons the mouse plague inundating Australia's eastern states is so terrifying. 

In the space of weeks, just two mice can spawn a colony of hundreds of thousands - and possibly even blow out to millions within a year.

The common mouse can live for up to two or three years - but female mice can start reproducing at just six weeks of age. 

Three weeks later they can give birth to ten youngsters, while the mother can get pregnant again the very next day.

Half of every litter will be female - and six weeks later they too will be mature enough to reproduce.

In just three months, those two original mice could have sparked a colony of almost 400 - and then the exponential growth really takes off. 

A few weeks later, there will be tens of thousands - and then potentially hundreds of thousands before the numbers get truly mind-blowing.

Unchecked, they could hit one million within 264 days  - and mathematicians estimate that a rampant colony could even grow to five million within a year, according to Preventative Pest Control.

The only thing stopping the plague would be a lack of food and predators - but the recent perfect Australian farming weather has meant there's no shortage of food.

And predators have so far been unable to keep pace with the mouse population boom, but coming cold wet winter weather could at least slow down the onslaught. 

NSW Government is now preparing to use a previously banned chemical, dubbed 'napalm for mice', in a bid to wipe out the mouse menace.

Under increasing pressure over the plague that has tormented regional communities for eight months, the state government has secured 5,000 litres of the super deadly rodent poison bromadiolone.

Currently banned for agricultural use in Australia, the state has offered to provide it for free if the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority approves it.

When announcing the measure, part of a $50million government package to deal with the outbreak, Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the poison would be 'the equivalent of napalming mice' across the affected regions.

Research conducted at the university found high levels of the poison in owls and snakes across Perth, where bromadiolone is approved for use in residential settings.

'That sort of raised alarm bells,' Dr Davis said. 'This is potentially spreading through the whole food chain when we use these products.'

If the poison is used, he says it could set up even more favourable conditions for the next mouse plague.

'You could be seeing agriculture landscapes without owls, kites, snakes and goannas for a long time to come.

'We could lose all our natural pest control.'

NSW Farmers is calling for primary producers to get a 50 per cent rebate on zinc phosphide, an alternative poison, instead.

Dr Davis agrees it is the 'better of the two evils'.

'There would be no other country in the western world that would approve this use of bromadiolone.'

If approved by the APVMA, it will be the first time bromadiolone is permitted for this use in Australia since 2016.

Farmers fear the out-of-control mouse plague could last for up to two years if urgent drastic action is not taken.

Xavier Martin, the vice president of NSW Farmers, said growers are now abandoning paddocks to the mouse hoard, fearing that crops sown there over the winter will be devoured before they can be harvested.

'Without a concerted baiting effort in the next few weeks, this could easily turn into a two-year plague event,' Mr Martin warned.”



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Sunday, 21 July 2024

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