Students: ladybugs, roaches present in residence halls

Ladybugs cover Online Editor Emily Kazungu’s desk in her room. Many students living in the residence halls experienced an “infestation” of the crawling critters this schoolyear. These bugs typically swarm campus when the weather becomes colder, said Director of Environmental Services and Housing Facilities ManagementAudrey Mitchell.

by News Editor Anna Beahm

Mention ladybugs on campus and residents might fly off the handle.

Cool weather this fall sparked the migration of ladybugs throughout the Shoals and into some of the older residence halls on campus.

“At the beginning of the fall semester, around September, they were literally spawning all over campus,” said Director of Environmental Services and Housing Facilities Management Audrey Mitchell. “It’s typical when the weather starts turning cold.”

Pest control services spray insect repellents in the residence halls regularly, Mitchell said, but the ladybugs are still in some rooms.

She said she even experienced the ladybugs inside her home, too. This problem is not unique to the residence halls. However, many students found an invasion of the bugs in their rooms.

“Ladybugs don’t bother me, but there were so many, like it was an infestation,” said junior Mai Curott. “I got really stressed out about it and didn’t sleep in (my room) the first night. I slept in my old room because I didn’t want to sleep in here with all the bugs because I was afraid they were going to get in my bed and get in my clothes.”

Curott said she put Scotch tape over the cracks in her walls and around her window to keep any more ladybugs from entering her room.

The next day, she said she submitted a work request, and pest control came to spray her room and maintenance filled the cracks in the wall and around the window.

She said this helped reduce the number of bugs in her room, but she and her roommate still see them.

“On my end, I probably see like five or six a week now,” Curott said.“Every once in a while it’ll be one or two a day.”

Residents find ladybugs in unexpected places, said senior Miranda McAfee.

“I wasn’t looking at it when I took a sip of (my water), and there was a ladybug in the straw of it,” McAfee said. “And it’s the worst taste you can imagine. It’s like acidic and dirty. It’s really bad and really intense.”

The ladybugs’ presence in her room became “normal” to her, she said.

“They were constant,” she said. “I would be sitting there doing homework, and I could hear them because there were so many. I could hear them flying around the window or flying around the light.”

McAfee said she never submitted a maintenance request for her room.

It is important for students to submit a work request if they have problems with bugs in their rooms, Mitchell said. She said she found 12 work requests for Rice and Rivers halls concerning bugs since Aug. 1, she said.

“We encourage the students, and we try to make it as convenient as possible for them to be able to put the (work orders) in because we’re only as good as the information we receive,” she said. “I want their experience to be the best possible.”

While pest control and maintenance helped fix the problem for Curott, some students had difficulties fixing the problem.

“Last semester, I killed about 10 to 12 ladybugs a day in my room,” said freshman Alex Harris, who lives in Rice Hall. “I’ve killed about seven to eight so far this semester.”

Harris said she told her area coordinator Jermaine Ferguson and submitted a maintenance request, but never saw any maintenance personnel come to her room.

Aside from filling the cracks around windows and walls, Mitchell said there are other ways to keep the bugs out of the rooms. She said a pest control technician told her ladybugs do not like lemon-scented sprays.

“I had some lemon-scented pledge at home, so I put it on my window sills and my door frame, and (they) stopped (coming in),” she said. “When the scent wears off, they will come back. It’s not a one fix kind of thing.”

She said she recommends students try this method as well.

“When I spray the cleaner I use in my room, they usually go away,” said junior Menden Hall. “So, they aren’t much of a problem for me.”

Other students have trouble with more than just ladybugs. Some students reported roaches and spiders in the residence halls.

“I find it really nasty how anytime I’m eating in the (Rice Hall) kitchen I see roaches,” said junior Davorius James. “It’s just worse because I have food with me.”

Mitchell said the only two complaints she has heard about roaches occurred during August.