The OSU’s lingering mouse problem has been sneaking up on students for decades – The Daily Barometer


Oregon State University is treating mice on campus with similar measures as it has in the past, but some students are only now becoming aware of the problem.

Steve Clark, vice president of university relations and marketing, said there have been mice on campus for a long time.

“Simply put, mice and other rodents have been in human society since ancient times and cannot be completely eliminated, but their presence and impact can be carefully and deliberately minimized, like what we do on campus,” said Clark.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the term rodents actually refers to many species including squirrels, chipmunks, beavers, and prairie dogs, as well as rats and mice.

During the fall months, Clark said rodents could become more active as the cold weather encourages them to look for drier and warmer places to live.

“Rodent presence on OSU’s Corvallis campus this year is about average or less than typical,” said Clark.

The staff at the OSU facilities are addressing the problem, just as they have in previous years.

“The crews at OSU facilities have paid close attention to measures to keep rodents out of campus buildings for the past decade,” said Clark.

According to Clark, rodent exclusion measures are being taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of members of the OSU community, but also to protect research being carried out on campus and ensure high standards of hygiene in the hospitality sector.

Helena Duke, a freshman horticultural student at OSU, said her previous knowledge of the rodent problem would not have influenced her decision to attend OSU.

“I had no idea there were mice on campus,” said Duke. “[But], because of my experience with animals, I am unimpressed by mice. “

However, Duke admitted that the mice could be a worrying factor for other students who chose OSU.

“I feel like OSU should be more open to issues that affect students on campus,” said Duke. “When it comes to pest problems, they should be more open.”

Pests like mice and other rodents can transmit diseases like salmonella, hantaviruses, and more.

Clark said rodents are usually found near buildings where people gather or where food is usually prepared.

“That includes university and college campuses, including the OSU,” said Clark. “Rodents are usually found near, and sometimes in, buildings that have food sources and in those buildings that have limited or very small access points to dry and warm places where a rodent might want to live.”

According to Clark, the OSU has four priority steps to follow when controlling the presence of rodents on campus.

Step one is to determine where a rodent can enter. Step two is to mitigate the food sources that might attract mice.

“In this case, we encourage students and staff not to leave groceries in their offices, work and study areas, or dorm rooms, but to store groceries in an upstairs kitchen,” said Clark.

Step three is to eliminate habitats that allow mice to thrive. Clark said, for example, that OSU is eliminating vegetation like ivy and St. John’s wort, a flowering plant on campus.

Step four is to use traps that are currently in and around many OSU buildings. Step five is to use bait stations or boxes specifically designed to allow rodents to enter and eat treated bait. Bait treatment is typically a method used to entice rodents to ingest venom and later die.

Gina Kesecker, office manager at Good Earth Pest Company in Corvallis, has professional knowledge of what it takes to get rid of mice properly.

Kesecker manages the day-to-day business of all Good Earth employees. Good Earth currently has 22 field technicians going out and performing pest control services.

“Ten of them work in our rodent department,” says Kesecker.

Good Earth is focused on protecting and sealing structures that mice can enter and has seen a sharp increase in rodent labor throughout the Willamette Valley.

Kesecker said this could be because people were more at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it allowed them to see and hear things that they normally wouldn’t experience.

“We have succeeded very well in getting mice and rats out of households and companies,” said Kesecker.

Clark said a dozen buildings on campus are a priority for rodent pest control measures.

“That includes dining centers and research buildings,” said Clark. “The number of traps at any given time will vary depending on whether there are rodents or not.”

The campus traps are serviced weekly and serviced more frequently when a problem is reported.

“We believe the university will respond prudently and effectively to the presence of rodents,” said Clark.

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