Bugs: coming to a room near you

Bugs: coming to a room near you

by Kate Paulman

While October may be the month for scares and creepy-crawlies, some Simpson College students say they are shocked to find them in their rooms.

Some bugs are more sneaky than others, leaving behind only mysterious traces of their presence.

Roommates Nicki Runisack and Kristen Erickson, both juniors, say they have had problems with centipedes and mysterious bug bites in their Hamilton apartment.

Freshman Amanda Vander Hart was startled by a large spider in her Kresge Hall dormitory room.

Senior Brant Chambers said he hasn’t noticed a bug problem in his room, but a painfully infected mark on his leg was a sign that there were unwelcomed visitors in the Colonial Apartment.

“The doctor guessed that it was a bite from a brown recluse spider, and I was prescribed antibiotics to treat it,” Chambers said.

Experts say the brown recluse spider is a threat to humans and animals because the rare arachnid injects venom into the victim that attacks the surrounding body tissue.

However, the bugs on campus are no worse than in previous years, according to Campus Services Director Bart Lane.

“You’ve got to keep in mind that there are several factors that indicate the amount of pests there will be,” Lane said. “Weather really dictates with pests. As it gets colder there tends to be more of them coming indoors.

“Cleanliness is also a factor,” he said.

In August 2001, students made complaints of ants, bees and crickets. When they moved in this past August, Simpson students’ common complaints were ants, bees, spiders and cockroaches.

In September 2001, there were complaints of bees, ants and spiders made to Campus Services. These were similar to complaints made in September 2002. The same pest control was used for those four months.

“In general,” Lane said, “those [pests] are all fairly common to the Midwest.”

The housing units were given a general pest service/check on Aug. 19. Hamilton apartments 2 and 4 were treated for spiders, beetles and bed bugs on Sept. 20 this year.

Runisack acknowledges that the problem does get worse depending on the weather.

“When it gets colder you get more bugs trying to get inside,” Runisack said.

Despite the cold weather, Erickson said she was still surprised by the bug found in a closet in the apartment.

“I was petrified,” Erickson said.”My apartment is full enough without having to share it with these bugs.”

For Rusinack, dressing can be an adventure with spiders in her apartment.

“It wasn’t hurting anything, but you don’t want to get dressed and have a centipede on the shoulder of your shirt,” Rusinack said.

Erickson agreed that the visiting bugs present cosmetic concerns.

“I think the discovery of bugs reflects the upkeep issues with these older campus apartments,” Erickson said.

The roommates also had mysterious little bites on their legs that could possibly be attributed to bugs.

Vander Hart had to deal with a large spider in her room but does not really see a problem.

“I’m just surprised that there haven’t been more of them,” Vander Hart said.

“I haven’t seen much of any other bug problem.”

Lane attributes the lack of bugs in Kresge to its recent renovation.

“Three years ago there used to be a roach infestation,” Lane said.

“But after renovation, that all but went away.”

Overall, the bug problem on campus seems to mainly involve a few isolated cases of student-pest interaction.

“I don’t know if it’s a problem yet or not,” Lane said. “If you look at the size of our campus, 800,000 square feet, and we get six complaints in a month, that, percentage wise, is not very much. The key is responding to those complaints. We do take those very seriously.”

The problem in Chambers’ apartment was taken seriously. The college brought in a pest control company to fumigate the apartment and lay down sticky traps. They’ve caught two more spiders already, according to Chambers.