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 region 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 zoology collection manager Dr Karl Vernes who is a wildlife ecologist that specialises in mammals.
"It's a combination of food resources dropping away, an increase in the predation of the animals and the fact they have a very short lifecycle.
"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."
While it is grim out west, and an epic plague of mice decimates our cropping industry, the domestic and rural scene in and around Armidale is not pretty either.
Social media is full of mouse plague photos, and tales of mouse encounters abound - including multiple cases of people being bitten by mice while sleeping. A range of mouse eradication strategies is proffered, from mixing flour with cement to an elaborate construction made of a bottle, peanut butter, and a bucket of water.
Business is booming for professional pest controllers, and mouse control stockists are selling out fast.
Grazag's Armidale depot currently has absolutely no stock of any kind of mouse control, and it is not clear when they will be getting more.
"We don't know when supplies are coming, and all the bait stocks seem to be going out west where there is a real problem," said employee Chris Heywood.
"Two weeks ago, we got a delivery of 2kg bait buckets, and the 200 tubs sold out in about three or four days."
While manufacturers are not raising prices, the cheaper brands are selling out and are harder to get.
"Different brands are different prices, and the last lot we sold were dearer than the previous, but that's because we had to buy in a more expensive brand," Mr Heywood said.
The owner of Purkiss Rural in Armidale, Jimmy Chen, said there are three types of mouse control customer in his experience.
"Some people just want the mouse to die no matter what is used and if they don't want to touch them they'll use bait, other people want to catch them in a multi trap and drown them in water, and other people who don't want to touch them will use sticky glue traps which are very good if the situation is desperate," Mr Chen said.
"A lot of customers are having trouble with their chooks and native birds dying because the secondary poisoning is fairly strong on standard mouse baits, so we now sell a lower secondary poisoning alternative as well.
"We have a lot of stock at the moment, but as soon as we get it in, it goes out the door.
"For example, within one week, 500 sticky pad packs or 50 bait 5kg buckets will be gone.
"At the moment, it is almost impossible to get stock, and customers told me today we are probably the only store in Armidale with anything."
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