Forget the weather - these days, our go-to topic of conversation is how many mice you caught last night and by what means.
The mouse plague afflicting the Armidale region and beyond shows no signs of abating, and the experts say we will not get relief anytime soon - but we will eventually.
"I wish I could say when exactly, but these things do end pretty abruptly - you just can't predict precisely when," said University of New England Natural History Museum collection manager Dr Karl Vernes who is a wildlife ecologist that specialises in mammals.
"The end of the problem will be pretty dramatic because what the mice are currently doing is increasing their population very quickly while there is a lot of food around, but what will happen is the mice will overshoot the natural carrying capacity of the environment to support them.
"At that point, there is a lot of starving mice, and the population will just crash to a level well below what the environment can sustain, and you'll feel like the mice have gone.
"They're still there, of course, but back at the level they were before the plague."
Dr Vernes said the problem would end as quickly as it arrived, and he predicts that will be by the end of winter.
"In terms of food sources like grasses with seed heads, there won't be more produced this growing season, and we'll go into winter when plants are not producing seed heads," he said.
"Every day all those mice are eating those seeds, so eventually, they have to run out of food.
"They have adapted to this boom and bust lifestyle. Throughout Australia, there are frequently mouse plagues happening somewhere.
"This will not last forever."
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