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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Pests infest dorms, to students’ ire

Published: February 17, 2012
Section: Features

In many residence halls across the campus, students have found themselves at odds with all manner of pests. They include but are by no means limited to spiders, flies, mice, beetles, cockroaches and the “East Bug.”

East Bugs, otherwise known as house centipedes (scutigera coleoptrata), can most often be found on the first through fourth floors of the buildings in East Quad, and have been described by a Community Advisor from East as “truly terrifying.” They do, however, feed on other insects, so they contribute something to keeping East Quad from becoming even more infested with pests.

Despite their efforts, East Bugs are not the only pests in the quad. The same CA recollected how after being one of the first residents to move back, they “awoke one morning to find that I had placed my stuff across the path of an ant colony foraging for food.”

Many of these incidents, however, are not reported to Facilities. According to Peter Shields, Facilities Administrator, there have only been 11 pest control work orders for the residence halls in East Quad, all of which were from the Hassenfeld. Shields also stated, “Both of those buildings have routine preventative maintenance scheduled throughout the year.”

There have also been pest issues in halls on the other side of campus, including Renfield Hall. Sarah Copel ’15 told The Hoot how, after a friend left food on her carpet, her room (located on the ground-level floor) was “swarming with ants.” After contacting Facilities, Copel was told “the best way to get rid of them would be to remove the food and wait.”

Ants also occupied other rooms on Copel’s floor during early November, and many residents were similarly told to “keep food in a closed container” and to “wait it out” to remove the ants. In both Copel’s room and others on the floor, the ants did leave once there was no open food present in the rooms.

The same CA from East Quad commented that Brandeis ”does have an exterminator … who’s available twice a week,” Tuesdays and Thursdays, according to the Facilities Web page, and has eradicated the infestations he is informed about. Both the CA and Shields agree that Facilities’ measures against pests are adequate, and that while they can be minimized, pest-related incidents are a part of life on campus.

Overall, it seems clear that this is just one more way Brandeis helps it students to grow—by teaching them both valuable self-defense skills against pests and patience, because students simply shouldn’t let issues bug them.