Mice Seek Shelter in Adams House
In an e-mail to residents on Saturday, Adams House Masters Sean and Judith Palfrey said they are “distressed” that students have had to deal with the infestation and offered the reassurance that it “will all be over soon.”
The mice began to infest Adams House about a month ago, when the weather turned cold and snowy, but complaints of mice have intensified substantially since winter break, according to Sean Palfrey.
At least 20 complaints of mice have been made over Adams Schmooze, the House’s open e-mail list, said Emily C. Adkins ’02-’03, who lives in Adams A-21.
“I really don’t know anyone in Adams A or B who hasn’t seen a mouse,” added A-entryway resident Kimberly J. Ravener ’03.
For some students, the infestation has proved to be an exciting, if unwanted break from the monotony of reading period.
“I was working somewhat intently on my thesis when the thing ran across my desk. I totally screamed and freaked out,” Adkins said.
Like many students, Adkins used Schmooze not only to complain, but to find out how to get rid of the uninvited guest.
“I wanted to see if anyone had any interesting ideas that would not result in me finding a dead rodent in my room sometime down the line,” she said.
Suggestions ranged from using spring traps to using steel wool and duct tape to cover any holes around radiator pipes that may serve as entryway points for the mice.
Otto F. Coontz, assistant to the Adams senior tutor, offered the use of his dog Pip to scare the mice back into their holes just long enough for students to cover the entrance points.
Coontz also had an alternative to the somewhat gruesome mousetraps: the “Mouse Motel,” a small cardboard box with super glue on the inside. Once the mouse enters, it cannot come back out.
According to Palfrey, professional help is on the way.
“We’ve hired Harvard’s equivalent of the pied piper of Hamlen to work his way through the steam tunnels,” Palfrey wrote in an e-mail.
Adams has a high priority on the list of Houses, according to the Palfreys, who wrote in their e-mail to students that they are “grateful for your graciousness and food humor in enduring this adversity.”
But for now, students in Adams will have to wait patiently until the pied piper, more formally known as Harvard’s Environmental Health and Safety Department, gets around to the Houses with reported mouse infestations. Cabot and Lowell have also complained about mouse sightings recently.
Though most students remained light-hearted when describing the problem, they said they are also ready for the mouse epidemic to end.
“It’s just unsanitary and disgusting and it really shouldn’t be the students’ responsibility to get rid of the mice,” Ravener said.
Roommates Abby C. Lackman ’03 and Natalie S. Ignacio ’03 are reconciling themselves to the furry visitors until help is sent.
They have spotted the same mouse many times in their room and have learned to live with it.
“He hops in the hallway and sometimes under my bed,” Lackman said. “Thankfully, he doesn’t leave poop anywhere.”
“He’s really cute,” added Ignacio.
—Staff writer Ebonie D. Hazle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.