Editor's Note: Some of the pictures in the story may be distressing.
"I woke up to a mouse running over me as I slept."
The Mudgee region is experiencing its worst mouse plague in over a decade.
Improved crop-growing conditions have delivered mice an ideal environment for eating and breeding which has led to a mouse population spike across the Central West.
Mark Warren from Mudgee Pest Service said, "Because we have been getting regular rain since February last year, obviously, lots of insects have bred up and lots of plants have bred up, and harvests for mice and rats, that's just logic, you're going to have some, you're going to see plenty more of them".
In other news:
Farmers and towns people across the Mudgee region have been working around the clock to keep the mice at bay.
Carina Thompson lives at a farm at Bylong and started spotting more mice around her property from October last year, but her mouse problem became "really bad" in January.
"I don't know if the mice are getting worse, but I don't see how we can get in front of them when the paddocks are just crawling with them," said Carina.
Carina was catching up to one hundred mice a night in traps just around the perimeter of her home.
"It turned into a game to see how many I could catch each night; however, the novelty soon wore off," said Carina.
Carina has used bait, snap traps and sticky mats to catch the mice, but has had the most success using live catch traps.
Mel Riain from Gulgong has caught one hundred and sixteen mice since December last year.
"I don't believe hygiene is the issue, however it can help as I am very house proud and have found myself having to spring clean almost daily," said Mel.
The mice in Mel's house have destroyed her new lounges, shoes and wiring.
"They're in the house, the roof and outside, it's bad," said Mel.
"There's only so much you can do," said Mark.
Mark recommends washing used mouse traps before using the trap again.
People say traps work once and then they stop working. What happens from time to time is that you will trap an alpha male who will pee all over the trap before he takes the bait, but that means that no other mouse will go near that station from his family," said Mark.
Mudgee Pest Service uses bait in the form of a wax block to avoid the secondary poisoning of children and family pets.
"The block will stay locked in a bait station, therefore the mouse and rat has to run in and eat a small amount, but the bait will stay there, and when they run out looking for a moisture source they won't die with a full stomach, so there will be no secondary poisoning," Mark said.
Is the end in sight?
Mouse populations are expected to peak just before winter.
"You might get a lot more rats and mice trying to get into the house on the onset of the cold weather," said Mark, "What they will be doing is if you have any paper of cardboard or rubbish lying around, you'll often see it shredded, and what they are doing is using it to make warm nesting material and a lot of the time, they will be making the nest in your roof," he added.
It is not expected to be as extreme as rodent plagues in the past. "I don't think it will get that bad because a lot of places they were living in the past have been burnt from the fires," Mark said.
Most plagues end in July when food is becoming scarce and cold winter conditions stress the population. When populations crash, they do so rapidly, over a period of two days to two weeks.