QUOTE – (fill in whatever title you like)

When the mouse laughs at the cat, there’s a hole nearby.
Nigerian Proverb

Despite being told there was a mouse plague in Melbourne, I liked the whole idea of field mice living under my Rosemary potted plant, but after disposing of the 3rd dead mouse from my apartment balcony tiled floor in as many weeks, I had to take action.

I let the potted herb dry out to make it lighter in weight and then wheeled it down in the lift in my shopping trolley, though the ground floor car park and out the back ‘gate’.

THE CAR PARK ENTRANCE IN MY BUILDING IS JUST BEHIND THE MAGNOLIA BUSH ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THIS PHOTO. THERE IS A LARGE FIELD BETWEEN THE BUILDING AND FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE IN THE CENTRE OF THE IMAGE.

The field behind the building seemed to be the ideal place to empty the Rosemary pot.

I’d pulled the plant out the previous week so knew there was a ‘spiral staircase’ from the bottom of the plastic pot’s largest drainage hole right up to under the soil level where the Rosemary’s roots splay out to catch any moisture or nutrition.

The ‘spiral staircase’ starts in the lower left of the image above and rises (unseen) around the back of the soil and ending up near the base of the plant.

I gave the plant a good shake to dispose of any loose soil clinging to the root system and out popped another dead mouse.

I felt more than a little sad at destroying the tiny critter’s home.  But decided the mice just had to be removed from my 1st floor apartment balcony before any more residents on the ground and (my) first floor apartments, which are built into the steep hillside, are baited by the maintenance team who look after the housing estate’s 5-6 buildings.

Sigh!

After I removed the pot, I caught a glimpse of a Spotted Turtle-dove on the balcony fence rail and wondered if it approved.

I haven’t got any fresh bags of potting soil at the moment, so some old dried up soil remaining in another pot will have to do for re-potting.

Hopefully, I can find that old tiny bit of netting to line the Rosemary pot’s base before refilling it with soil and the Rosemary bush (to ensure no more mice make homes there).

I’ve disposed of dead birds who’ve crashed into my floor-to-ceiling lounge windows 3-4 times but this is the first time (I remember) disposing of little critters.

BIRTH.  DEATH.   IT’S THE LITTLE EVENTS THAT COME IN BETWEEN THAT OCCUPY MY DAYS.

Melbourne, we have a problem.

The city is currently in the grip of a mouse plague.

This issue has left Melbourne residents and businesses struggling to cope with this widespread rodent infestation, the likes of which have not been seen since Western Australia’s similar mouse scare in 2010. Recent reports regarding Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), an extremely dangerous disease commonly carried by rodents, has led to escalated health & safety concerns statewide.

A perfect storm involving weather, food and timing has provided the ideal conditions for a mouse population explosion.

Earlier in the year, the CSIRO issued an advanced warning to farmers, since the mice could potentially have calamitous effects on their newly sown seed. This pre-emptive action allowed farmers to take preventative measures and avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by a similar plague in 1993.

Let’s have a look at the reasons behind the current plague and discuss ways to prevent or minimise its impact on homes and businesses.

Ideal Conditions

The opening rains of the season saw the mouse population burst into action. A bumper harvest this spring exacerbated the issue, escalating the problem to another level, for obvious reasons.

Initially reaching plague numbers in country Victoria, they have since fast tracked their way down south to Melbourne. These mice can now be found in booming numbers throughout the CBD. Worse still, unusually low temperatures across the state have resulted in mice seeking shelter indoors, with inner-suburban householders and businesses regularly being overrun with these pesky pests.