When Mia A. Colman, 23-24, Harvard Quincy House resident, returned to campus for the spring semester, she was surprised to find her linens in a plastic bag.
Beside the bag was a letter from Dick Nerden, the manager of the Quincy building, saying that a pest control service had found mouse droppings on the bed and vacuumed up the excrement and set traps in the room.
Shortly after reading the note, Colman said she had a surprise encounter with one of the intruders.
“One of the built-in sticky traps had a half-alive mouse stuck in it,” she said. “Actually, it was kind of sad.”
“It was kind of cute, but it was definitely done,” she added.
A number of rooms in the New Quincy dorm in Quincy have been infested with a rodent infestation since at least last November, leading to surprise and disgust from several residents who reported mice and feces in their living quarters.
Cole H. Petersen ’23, who has also been involved with mice since last semester, said when he returned from winter break there were four dead mice in one of the rooms in his suite.
“One lived in a locked food container that jumped out at us,” he said. “You hear them in the radiators at night – which isn’t great.”
Petersen also said a mouse lived in his roommate’s room, leaving feces on his sheets and “all over his room.”
“The mice are in the dining room at night – you can see them out in the open quite openly – they just walk around,” he added.
In a Jan. 26 email to residents, Nerden said Quincy is working with a pest control company and Harvard’s Environmental Health and Safety Team to address the ongoing problems.
Nerden also advised residents to be “extremely diligent” in not leaving food and trash in their suites, and asked affected dormitories to report sightings through the home’s work request system.
Harvard spokesman Aaron M. Goldman wrote in an emailed statement that the housing facilities team is working to address the concerns in Quincy “quickly and thoroughly.”
“Ensuring a clean and healthy living space for all students is always a priority,” he wrote. “Several steps are being taken to mitigate the problem, including the assignment of pest control and security crews to make regular visits and handle points of entry.”
Quincy resident Chloe S. Wilson ’24 said she and her roommates took additional anti-rodent countermeasures, including draft screens to prevent movement between rooms and equipment that repels mice with high sound frequencies.
Despite this, Wilson said their efforts were largely ineffective.
“One time we literally saw one of the mice jump over the trap,” she said. “These are clever mice.”
Annika S. Huprikar ’24 said the mice tricked her suite into making late-night calls to pest control and creating homemade traps.
“We even tried to make one of our own traps using peanut butter from the dining room,” Huprikar said.
Quincy resident Nabin Poudel ’24 wrote in an email that he initially thought the home was “rodent resistant” after sightings were limited to the courtyard, but later spotted a mouse in his common room in the fall that fall third floor.
“During the winter break, I spotted two other rodents that were smaller, and probably rats,” Poudel wrote. “So far I haven’t noticed any damage other than the occasional surprise we get.”
Poudel added that he hasn’t seen any rats since the semester started.
Huprikar said Quincy has been proactive with entering suites to address an issue that was “widespread” in some parts of the home.
“They’ve been entering all the suites this week just to assess what’s going on and what the problem might be,” she said.
Although Petersen said that “the house has been pretty good” at trying to keep mice from entering residents’ dormitories, he said the problem has “definitely gotten worse” since November.
“It’s just not great to share a living space with them,” said Petersen.
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