Courtesy of Nicole Dashiell
AU’s pest contractor started treating rooms in Hughes Hall Nov. 17 to deal with the building’s ongoing mouse problem.
This is a potential solution to a rodent issue that started out small and reached a point where traps and other steps were not effective, Assistant Director of Housing and Dining Sophia Benedicktus said.
Over 20 2-FIX requests have been placed regarding mice in student rooms since the beginning of the semester, according to Stephanie Destefano, Facilities Management ground operations coordinator. Destefano has been in charge of handling the mice situation.
“We live in a city, and when you put students in residence halls, they’re open to mice and other pests,” Benedicktus said. “However, we’ve never had a situation to this degree as far as I know.”
Facilities Management originally responded to 2-FIX requests in the normal way by placing traps. They started using poison in late October, but this method did not solve the problem.
Hughes students were informed by notices in the dorms and a post on Blackboard that AU’s contractor, Innovative Pest Management, would be treating rooms Nov. 17 and 18 as well as Nov. 28 through Dec. 30, Destefano said.
The mice have allegedly been entering the room through holes in HVAC units.
The pest contractor will be entering students’ rooms, taking the covers off the units and filling all holes with copper mesh and foam, according to Destefano. They will also continue to do trappings.
“It’s more common to have a mouse in your room than not, and some students have even named them,” said Sagatom Saha, president of the Hughes Hall Council and a freshman in the School of International Service.
Emma Lydon, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and the third-floor representative to the Hughes Hall Council, says there are six rooms on her floor with mice problems.
“The situation really blew up last week,” Emma said Nov. 16. “My friend Chris pulled his towel off his shower caddy and saw a mouse in it.”
Students are very relieved that something is being done about the problem, Lydon said.
“There’s also been a communication problem,” Lydon said. “I’ve been working closely with Jason [Autry], our [Resident Director], about the situation and the [Resident Assistants] have been really receptive, but Facilities hasn’t been as responsive. We didn’t know anything was really being done, and no one came to us with a plan.”
In the beginning of November, some students jokingly created a Facebook event called “Occupy Housing and Dining” to make sure progress was made in addressing the problem. The idea has since been abandoned.
Destefano said she was not worried about the situation until parents began to call about it. However, when Destefano checked to see if one of the parent’s children had put in a 2-FIX request, she found they had not.
“There’s been a lot of reporting problems,” Destefano said. “Students need to report each and every case as soon as they can.”
Mice sightings likely under-reported
There have been a total of 21 2-FIX requests for mice sightings in student rooms since the beginning of the semester, according to Destefano.
However, Benedicktus believes this number is low because students have not been reporting every sighting.
When entering rooms with pest control on Nov. 17, some students informed Destefano that they were afraid to report sightings since they didn’t want mice to be killed.
However, Destefano said live trapping is not an option in institutions such as AU and doesn’t think it would be an appropriate means of control.
Lydon and Saha also expressed concerns that the process took far too long and should have been taken care of earlier.
“We have been very aware of the situation and have moved as quickly as possible,” Benedicktus said. “However, we must make sure we follow the process, do everything we can to exhaust the process and do whatever we need to do. The process isn’t quick enough, but it’s all we can do.”