Of Mice and Blazers

March 23, 2004, midnight | By Katherine Zhang | 20 years, 2 months ago

Mice and other rodents find homes at Blair

Alfonso lives in the Foreign Language office. He is quite petite and has a fondness for hiding behind file cabinets. Alfonso first made his home in the Foreign Language office last year, and, according to Spanish teacher Dora Gonzalez, "He's been here long enough for us to give him a name." The Spanish teachers, who saw Alfonso first, named him after the current Spanish king's grandfather.

This tiny guest who commandeered a corner of the Foreign Language office and shares his name with Spanish royalty is a mouse.

Alfonso is among the many mice and rodents that have made their homes at Blair. An informal survey of 100 Blazers conducted on March 17 showed that 39 percent of students have seen a mouse at Blair this school year. According to Building Services Manager James Brown, Jr., however, the presence of mice at Blair is nothing extraordinary, and the problem of mice and rodents this year "isn't half as bad as [that of] last year."

"Tiny little gray friends"

While Alfonso has claimed the Foreign Language office, mice have appeared in other places as well. English teacher Vickie Adamson once discovered the home a mouse had made in a box of tissues on her desk. "It had shredded up all the tissues and made a nest," she remembers. Although the mouse was eventually caught, Adamson says, "To this day, I don't keep my tissue box flat."

A few weeks ago, Adamson found a dead mouse behind the water cooler in the English office after teachers began smelling "something foul." The mouse appeared to have been long dead and could have been poisoned, she speculates. "He was odor-rific," Adamson recalls.

Mice have made appearances in the SAC as well. Sophomore Chris McNair remembers seeing a white mouse with his friends on the upper-stage level of the SAC. "I saw it and then I just yelled out, 'Is that a mouse?'" McNair says. "We actually chased it about five feet to make sure it was a mouse. It was," he confirms.

Adamson describes the mice as "tiny little gray friends" and says that they are about two-and-a-half inches long. "They're so cute," she says. At the same time, she realizes that mice are "destructive creatures" and pests.

Besides mice, other rodents have found homes at or near Blair as well. Junior Sheri Lawal once saw a dead rat in the courtyard near the SAC on her way to the stadium during a fire drill. "My friend was like, 'Oh look, there's a rat.' I was appalled," she recounts.

Additionally, Brown says that a family of three foxes currently reside near the portables outside.

Unintentional invitations

The mice decide to move inside Blair for a number of reasons. Brown attributes part of the problem to "mother nature." "They [mice] come inside to get warm," he describes, saying that some of the mice may leave with the arrival of warm weather.

The trash that many students leave around worsens the problem, according to Brown. "They only stay around when they can get food," he says.

McNair agrees that the trash is contributing to the mice problem and sees trash everywhere both lunches. "I would say it's not only 5B, it's also 5A," he says. "Bottom line, this school is filthy."

Adamson similarly feels that "unless students start to care about the hygiene and cleanliness of the building, [the problem is] going to get worse."

She also believes that some of the mice may have been unintentionally brought over from old Blair, where the rodent problem was worse. "Surely when we first moved into this building, we brought some critters with us," she says.

Dealing with pests

Various methods have been used to trap the mice. Gonzalez says that the Foreign Language office uses mousetraps to try to ensnare Alfonso but so far has been unsuccessful. "We chose harmless mousetraps instead of deadly ones," she says. "Maybe that's why we haven't been able to catch him."

Brown adds that glue boards are also placed at various places around the building. The boards' peanut-butter smell attracts the mice, which become stuck to the boards as they try to find the peanut butter. In bad infestations, the poison Talon G has been used. According to Brown, exterminators have visited Blair about 20 times this year.

Overall, Brown sees nothing extraordinary in the presence of mice and other rodents in the building. "The place is so big and we have so many students, they're going to find something to eat," he states. Brown acknowledges that the mice "are a little disruptive sometimes" but says that "they are as afraid of you as most girls are afraid of them."

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Katherine Zhang. Katherine Zhang likes French baguettes, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, bookmarks, fresh boxes of rosin, Brad Meltzer novels, and of course, "JAG." In her free time, Katherine enjoys knitting, playing the violin, and reading - especially legal thrillers and books about people in faraway places and long-ago times. … More »

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