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‘These Are Smart Mice’: Some Harvard Quincy Residents Plagued by Rodents and Excrement Since Fall

Some rooms in the New Quincy residence hall of Quincy House have seen a rodent infestation going back to at least November 2022.
Some rooms in the New Quincy residence hall of Quincy House have seen a rodent infestation going back to at least November 2022. By Sami E. Turner
By Ella L. Jones and John N. Peña, Crimson Staff Writers

When Harvard Quincy House resident Mia A. Colman ’23-’24 returned to campus for the spring semester, she was surprised to find her bedding in a plastic bag.

Next to the bag was a letter from Quincy Building Manager Dick Nerden, which stated that a pest control service had found mouse droppings on the bed and proceeded to vacuum the excrement and place traps in the room.

Shortly after reading the note, Colman said she had a surprise encounter with one of the trespassers.

“There was a mouse who was half-alive stuck in one of the glue traps that had been put in,” she said. “It was actually kind of sad.”

“It was kind of cute, but it definitely had been through it,” she added.

A number of rooms in the New Quincy residence hall of Quincy have been plagued by a rodent infestation going back to at least last November, prompting surprise and disgust from several residents who reported mice and droppings in their living spaces.

Cole H. Petersen ’23, who has also been dealing with mice since last semester, said there were four dead mice in one of the rooms of his suite when he returned from winter break.

“There was one living in a food container that was closed that jumped out at us,” he said. “You hear them in the radiators at night — which is not great.”

Petersen also said there was a mouse living in his roommate’s room, which left droppings in his sheets and “all over his room.”

“The mice are in the dining hall at night — you can see them very openly, out in the open — just running 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 issues.

Nerden also advised residents to be “extremely diligent” about avoiding leaving food and trash in their suites and asked affected dorms to report sightings through the house’s work request system.

Harvard spokesperson Aaron M. Goldman wrote in an emailed statement that the residential facilities team is working to address 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 issue, including the assignment of pest control and custodial crews making regular visits and treating points of entry.”

Quincy resident Chloe S. Wilson ’24 said she and her suitemates have implemented additional rodent countermeasures, including draft protectors to prevent movement between rooms and devices that repel mice with high sound frequencies.

Still, Wilson said her efforts have been largely ineffective.

“One time we literally saw one of the mice jump over the trap,” she said. “These are smart mice.”

Annika S. Huprikar ’24 said the mice have led her suite to make late-night calls to pest control and devise homemade traps.

“We even tried making one of our own traps with peanut butter from the dining hall,” Huprikar said.

Quincy resident Nabin Poudel ’24 wrote in an email that he originally thought the house was “rodent-resistant” after sightings were confined to the courtyard, but he later spotted a mouse in his third-floor common room in the fall.

“Over winter break, I spotted two more rodents, which were smaller, and probably rats,” Poudel wrote. “I haven’t noticed any damage so far, except the occasional surprise that we get.”

Poudel added that he has not seen any rats since the start of the semester.

Huprikar said Quincy has been proactive in entering suites to address a problem that has become “widespread” in some parts of the house.

“They’ve been entering all the suites this entire week to just sort of assess what is going on and where the problem could be,” she said.

Though Petersen said “the house has been pretty good” about attempting to deter the mice from entering residents’ dorms, he said the problem has “definitely gotten worse” since November.

“It’s just not great to be sharing a living space with them,” Petersen said.

—Staff writer Ella L. Jones can be reached at ella.jones@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @ejones8100.

—Staff writer John N. Peña can be reached at john.pena@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @john_pena7.

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