Pest reporting primary approach in preventing potential pest problems

With the colder weather of fall comes a nuisance for students other than lugging around large coats and mittens — insects. Many of these pests move into warmer areas, like dorms, as the temperature drops.

University Housing residents are encouraged to report pests among other measures to prevent pest problems in residence halls.

Cockroaches may be spotted outside and in dorms, and pirate bugs, the tiny, black insects swarming campus, are prone to biting, which can leave small, red bite marks.

“Our residence halls are exceptionally clean and that has to do with the integrated pest management that we pursue, the monitoring that we do and also very quick response time to any issue,” said Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of housing for marketing.

Integrated pest management is a comprehensive approach to controlling insects, weeds and plant pathogens with environmentally and economically sound practices, as stated on the University’s integrated pest management website. Any resident who has an issue or sees a pest should report it on the Housing website under request maintenance, Ruby said, adding that Facilities and Services responds to every request received.

Marni Levin, freshman in DGS, had a broken screen in her Hopkins Hall dorm room in early August. She said it took three days for the screen to be fixed, resulting in many bugs getting into the room.

Levin said she has also seen cockroaches around the Six-Pack, usually seeing them at night in areas that aren’t well lit. However, she has also seen one in Hopkins.

“There definitely are beetles that you can see around and silverfish occasionally (outside), but it’s not like we live in squalor. It’s not like it’s infested, either,” she said. “It’s just they happen to be there and we happen to be there.”

Depending on the nature and time of the report, the 24/7 response team may come out at any time to fix an issue or will wait until the following morning, Ruby said. If a special service has to be called in, the response time may also vary.

Facilities and Services has not seen an increase in the amount of pest control reports, and its staff puts a lot of effort into regularly treating spaces and monitoring pests, Ruby said.

Students are encouraged to report anything that needs fixing in their room or residence hall as part of a preventive measure. Because many pests, such as ants, cockroaches and rodents, are drawn to food, students should keep their food in sealed containers, clean up after themselves and refrain from using trash cans in their rooms for food waste.

Instead, use of the central trash location on each floor is recommended so that pests will be drawn to one area, Ruby said.

Students should keep windows closed when possible and point fans out of rooms rather than in, according to The Housing Insider, a monthly email sent to students who live in public housing. Pests can also live in and consume cardboard boxes and the glue used to seal them, so residents should be conscious of storing boxes in their rooms.

Latrice Tynes, junior in ACES, is a resident advisor for the fourth floor of Hopkins Hall. While no one directly complained to her, roach traps have been set up on one end of the floor due to a student complaint.

“If (bugs are on) the first floor then it’s understandable, but when you have bugs on the fourth floor, it’s like — are the students shuffling the bugs in or are there bugs in the building?” Tynes said. “But (University) Housing handles the situation, (they do) a good job of handling their reports in a timely manner.”

Brittney can be reached at [email protected]