Students aren’t the only ones living in APU’s living areas, it seems.
Pests like bugs and fleas have taken up residence, with many APU residents reporting numerous bites and itches.
“APU is currently experiencing an above-average number of fleas in the Shire housing area,” Facilities Management Associate Vice President Tom Hunt said.
The problem mostly stems from raccoons carrying fleas and their eggs wherever they go, and although a pest controller has treated the area repeatedly, the fleas continue to thrive in the unusually warm weather.
“We’ve got fleas, roaches and spiders,” said Kelly Tannar, sophomore liberal studies major and resident of E Court in the Shire Mods.
Tannar added that the problem started when she and her roommates moved in around late August and early September.
“[Our RA] told us to stay off the grass, because the raccoons and the squirrels and all that have fleas,” Tannar said. “And they said to contact Facilities because they have an exterminator that will come in and bomb that. We haven’t done it yet, but we need to.”
It’s quite a different story for sophomore nursing major Vivian Arpa of B Court, who had to seek medical advice from a doctor and two of her nursing professors to alleviate her itch.
“We started experiencing these flea problems at the end of September,” Arpa said. “We had flea and bug bites all over our bodies. We reported this to our RA, and she said to put in a work order to have our mod fumigated.”
According to Arpa, it was better after she and her roommates had their mod fumigated twice.
“However, just last Friday, I got 10 new flea bites,” Arpa said. “So, we are planning to get our mod fumigated again soon. I am just so fed up with the Mods. I am paying over $2,000 to get bit by fleas. It sucks.”
Sophomore religious studies and humanities major Timothy Salyards of F Court first heard about the bug infestation from speculation that it was caused by raccoons.
The flea problem started around mid-September and early October. At first, Salyards and his roommates thought it would only be a passing problem and paid little attention to it.
“We started getting flea bites from probably mid-shin down and dots on our legs and whatnot,” Salyards said.
One of his roommates had to go to the medical center for his itching problem, where they recommended an itching cream.
However, despite fumigation of his Mod, the fleas returned, and Salyards decided to take a proactive approach.
“We actually just made a flea trap of our own,” Salyards said. “We took an old Frisbee, filled it with dish soap and water, put a lamp on it and fleas jumped in there and died in it. That basically cured the problem we had, and we haven’t really had any problem since.”
Noe Sotelo, a sophomore journalism major who lives in A Court, has another bug problem in addition to fleas.
“We didn’t really expect it, but two weeks into [the semester], we had an ant infestation in our Mod,” Sotelo said.
He attributes the problem to the surrounding foliage and the fact that they weren’t aware the crawl space was open. Sotelo said it took about a month to get rid of the ants.
“Shortly after that, the flea problem came in, and it was like that in the grass all over the Mods,” Sotelo said.
According to Facilities Management, there are numerous traps already placed around the Mods. Hunt said that even if the raccoons are entering these traps, the pest controller has found that students are releasing the raccoons before he arrives.
Hunt wants students to be aware that none of the raccoons are harmed. They are relocated and released at a nonresidential area off campus.
“If we are able to relocate these raccoons and continue treating the Shire housing area, the flea population will be eliminated very quickly,” Hunt said.
Unfortunately, the sophomore living areas aren’t the only ones affected; University Village (UV) is also experiencing a pest problem.
Matt Chou, a junior allied health major who lives in N Court, has noticed a steadily growing bug problem for quite some time but can’t determine the source.
“It might be my bed, because that’s where I usually find them in the morning,” Chou said. “I’ll just find a bite or two, but it hasn’t been like that recently. I’ve talked to many of my friends and they’ve also gotten bit, so it’s not just me.”
Junior psychology major Ariana von Zboray of F Court has been getting bites as well.
“[The bites are] mainly my legs or random ones,” von Zboray said. “I have one behind my ear, but it doesn’t itch, so I don’t know what it is.”
Zboray’s roommate, junior math major Emily McBeth, thought that the bugs were coming from the outside because they have left their door open at night due to hot weather.
“I feel like it’s been at least three weeks, and I get them on my foot, on my knee and I think I have it on my arm,” McBeth said. “I’ve heard other people in UV have been getting them too, and their doors have been closed.”
Students experiencing infestation problems in on-campus housing areas should contact Facilities Management and/or put in a work order online.