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Issue 1846 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

Would you like mice with that?

Cockroaches in Union dishwashers, mice in Library Café, pests are having a grand time at Imperial.

Flx Imperial Pests


in Issue 1846

Pests are regular visitors to eateries, bars, and other facilities on Imperial’s South Kensington Campus, according to students and staff at the College.

Videos show mice scurrying around Library Café at nighttime, and Felix has received reports of similar sightings in Kokoro, the popular Korean-Japanese food outlet on Level 0 of the Sherfield Building.

Last Saturday, staff reported seeing two dead cockroaches in a dishwasher at Metric, the nightclub run by Imperial College Union (ICU).

“We were preparing for the afterparty of East Meets West [a student show run by Imperial Indian Society] when we saw them,” a Union worker present on the night said. “We opened the dishwasher and saw two dead cockroaches.”

ICU runs its bars independently, but a spokesperson for the student union said that it collaborates with the university on pest control adding: ‘Partnering with the College and the Pest control provider Rentokil, we conduct fortnightly inspections throughout the premises. This ensures a proactive approach to managing any potential pest concerns.’

‘We want to emphasise that no sightings have been reported in the kitchen or food areas, and we remain vigilant in maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene throughout our premises.’

Students say they have seen mice in labs and lecture theatres across campus. One Computing student said that a mouse clambered onto her in the Huxley building during a robotics lab session.

A couple of us were sat on the floor checking where the robot was going,’ she said, in messages sent to Felix. ‘As I’m moving the robot back to the start position, I suddenly feel something warm on my hand and then my leg, but I thought nothing of it, put the robot down and sat back. Then I feel something fluffy between my knees, I look down, and it’s a mouse right there!’

‘I jump and yell, my friends start yelling, meanwhile the mouse runs away, jumps into my friend’s coat… and then vanishes into thin air.’

Other mouse sightings have been reported in the Abdus Salam Library, Senior Common Room, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, and Imperial College Business School. Rodents have also been seen in College-run student residences, including Beit and Wilson Halls.

Flx Library Mouse
A mouse in the library cafe

‘To be honest, I don’t fully blame the College for this one,’ said one EEE student, speaking specifically in relation to the Library Café, which he said turned into ‘a complete pigsty’ at night.

‘The café space is open 24 hours, and after the staff go home, that place can become a disgraceful mess in a few hours. Dirty tables, food, and scraps on the floor, just an incredible display of people completely disregarding the basic courtesy of cleaning up after themselves.’

He alleged that students ‘throw rubbish on the floor’ rather than in bins.

‘I’ve seen mice chewing through bags of delivery orders left on the floor… it’s almost no surprise the place is full of mice if people keep making it such a great place to live.’

Between 2017/18 and 2021/22, the College spent £848,160 on pest control services, according to its response to a Freedom of Information request.

The spokesperson for ICU said: ‘At the Union, we take the well-being and safety of our spaces and venues seriously, and that includes addressing any concerns regarding pest control promptly and effectively

'We understand recent reports of rodent sightings have raised concerns, and we want to assure our community that proactive measures are in place to address any reported issues comprehensively.’

Imperial did not respond to requests for comment, but Felix understands that the Estates team is aware of and working to resolve the ongoing pest problems.

Additional reporting by Jamie John.

For more mouse pics and videos, follow us on Instagram (@felix_imperial). Go on, we know you want to.

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