Insect infestations in freshman dorms must be addressed immediately

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GRAPHIC BY SARAH BRADY/ THE FLAT HAT

College dorms are known for their less-than-perfect living conditions. Bugs in the halls are nothing unheard of, but that does not mean that it should be acceptable.

At the College of William and Mary, certain dorms have better reputations than others when it comes to bugs. Students typically hear horror stories from students in Green and Gold Village involving ants in their beds and cockroaches in their halls.

This year, however, countless additional dorms have had problems with bugs. Dorms on old campus have ants on the lower floors. Students in various dorms have found cockroaches. Even the newly renovated Landrum Hall has baby cockroaches.

I live in Jefferson Hall, and we have struggled with ant infestations for months. The ants first entered the building when the weather changed in order to escape the cold and find food. Some dorm rooms had long trails of ants across the floor from the exterior walls to their trash cans.

Soon after, as more and more of the residents became aware of the issue and sprayed Raid around their windows, it became all too apparent that the building was already infested with ants.

The biggest and most consistent issue has been the first-floor bathrooms. There are constantly ants on the walls, floors and worst of all, the toilets. At one point, ants were all over the walls in the kitchen due to the smelly trash. Most recently, ants seem to have found their way through the interior walls and have been entering the dorm rooms through the cracks between the floors and walls, and the walls and closets.

Ants — or any bug, for that matter — may be more difficult to prevent in college dorms. There are so many students living so close together, and many of them fail to clean up after themselves as they should. But the College should be taking the necessary measures to exterminate and make sure these issues are under control.

I have heard some students excuse the issue by explaining that the College has very old buildings, including the dorms. They claim that this should be expected and simply tolerated. I understand that the College’s campus is known for being historic, but old buildings are not an excuse for poor living conditions. All of the dorms should be treated much more regularly to prevent these outbreaks of extreme insect infestations.

It is not fair to the students to make them live among a constant stream of bugs, but it also is not fair to the staff at the College. Janitors clean the bathrooms and hallways as well as take out the trash in the kitchens and bathrooms. It is not fair to them that they have to deal with these conditions, too. They are not equipped to kill that many bugs, nor is it their job to do so.

Instead of leaving the work to students and janitors, the College needs to employ the help of professional exterminators much more consistently.

I have heard that there have been a couple of calls made, but it has not been often enough, and it has not been very successful. The College needs to understand that they cannot continue to ignore this issue and simply hope that the bugs will disappear with minimal effort. A full exterminating maintenance plan should be in effect for all of the dorms at all times.

Everyone’s health and well-being are at stake.

Email Alyssa Slovin at amslovin@email.wm.edu