Simpson campus crawling with little creatures

by Katie Eicrhelberger, Special to The Simpsonian

There’s a new meaning of “hopping in the shower” on the Simpson College campus due to crickets and other insects invading residence halls and athletic facilities.

Barker resident Zoe Seiler finds crickets nearly every time she takes a shower.

“Sometimes I don’t really pay attention to it, but the crickets in the shower creep me out,” Seiler said.

Junior Virginia Atwell and her six housemates have it worse than Seiler. Carpenter ants have taken over their performing arts theme house.

“Usually I’m not afraid of bugs, but it’s really nerve wracking because I don’t want ants in my bed,” Atwell said, while her roommate, Molly Monk, found them in hers.

“My foot started itching and I found that it was covered in ants,” Monk said. “Then there were ants all over my bed.”

There have been roughly seven cases throughout the residence halls on campus thus far and were taken care of as of Sept. 10, according to dean of students Luke Behaunek.

“We have a handful of situations that pop up every year depending on the year and type of insect or bug that is presenting itself,” Behaunek said.

Not all residential areas have been affected. Junior Jordan Beem resides in Clinton and has not seen a bug problem.

There is, however, a problem on the practice field and outdoor athletic facilities as well.

Crickets and moths swarm the field, especially during rainfall, nighttime practices and games.

Seiler is a goalie for the women’s soccer team and finds them a nuisance during practice.

“Sometimes it’s really distracting when a bug flies in your face, like right before a shot,” Seiler said.

Jeff Wagner, manager for grounds, transportation and special events, said the amount of rain that Iowa has gotten over the past couple months has been the cause of this invasion. Roughly 27 inches of precipitation has fallen across Iowa since Jan. 1.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve never seen it this bad, but it’s been a tough year,” Wagner said.

According to Wagner, no one could have predicted the number of insects set to populate the area and Simpson has taken all preventive measures.

“If we let Mother Nature take care of them, their populations will decrease exponentially when we have our first frost,” Wagner said.

Wagner said nothing can be done to the outdoor facilities without use of major chemicals that would affect all sports teams that use the practice areas.

Behaunek said the problems in residential areas have been resolved and says if future problems arise to contact someone right away. 

“I’m thankful we have a facilities crew that will take the students concerns seriously,” Behaunek said. “They respond as they can.”