Mouse activity on rise

The West Australian

Mice are on the move again, and WA grain growers are reminded to use the new interactive MouseAlert website to help map mouse hotspots and to predict any future plagues.

Information already entered into MouseAlert, including during a Mouse Census Week in April, shows there are areas of low to high mouse activity in WA's south-eastern and northern grain growing areas.

MouseAlert allows growers to record and view mouse activity in their local area in real time.

It is funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) in collaboration with Landcare Research New Zealand, CSIRO and NSW Department of Primary Industries through the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IACRC).

CSIRO research officer Steve Henry encouraged growers to enter data into MouseAlert, regardless of whether mouse numbers were high, low or non-existent on their farms, to help establish a good dataset which could be used to develop better plague prediction models.

MouseAlert also enables other growers to get a picture of mouse activity in their local area.

"Even discovering where there are no mice is extremely important," Mr Henry said. "It's always a good time to enter data into MouseAlert - mice are not only active when there's a census."

Mr Henry said growers who noticed significant increases in mouse activity on their farms should act quickly to manage the problem.

One option is to apply baits according to label instructions.

"If mice are at higher than normal numbers at sowing time, significant damage can occur within the first few nights after sowing unless these mice are controlled swiftly," he said.

Farmers can get MouseAlert at the website or download the FeralScan app which features MouseAlert (available in the iTunes store).

Progress can be followed on Twitter @MouseAlert.

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