Anxious Angus writes with New Year's greetings, mentioning that
the Tragic Kingdom, near my home town, has some unwelcome neighbors.
Dee Sincavage, owner of one of the many ornamental plant nurseries for which Apopka is known, is hard pressed to pick her worst mouse experience since the infestation began last summer by chasing kids out of Camp Wewa.
Was it the morning she walked into her nursery and felt the squish-crunch of fresh mouse carcasses underfoot? The night mice chewed through plumbing, flooding her office and soaking her business records? Or just the daily ordeal of drowning and disposing of dozens of live mice caught in traps overnight?
"Gosh, they are all over the place," Sincavage said. "The stench is bad and the gnats around here are terrible from all the dead carcasses. It's just disgusting."
Counter-measures by health authorities, who have established a special rodent command center, so far have been only partly successful. Besides dispensing traps and bait, authorities launched an air assault by releasing 17 barn and screech owls expected to feast on dozens of mice a day. News of the buffet apparently traveled far, luring many more birds of prey to the area.
"We have more raptors than we've ever seen before," Overfield said. "They just line up along the telephone wires and dive down and pick stuff off."
So far, Overfield said, the infestation has not sickened anyone, although the smell of all the rotting carcasses trapped in the walls of many homes and businesses is certainly nauseating.
Oh, my. That's a lot of mice.