Sightings of cockroaches in residence hall lead to questions of potential infestation
Wozny, a voice performance and music education major, lives in the North neighborhood of MSU’s campus. One evening, during the week of Sept. 11, Wozny went to take a shower in the communal bathrooms located on her floor. She placed her bathroom caddy on the floor of the shower stall she had entered and, as she finished washing up, went to lift the caddy and one of the most infamous members of the insect kingdom greeted her.
“I was in first-floor girls’ showers in Campbell,” Wozny said. “When I went to put my conditioner back in my caddy, a cockroach just kind of scurried out from underneath and ran into the bathroom.”
Upon seeing it, Wozny tried not to be fazed.
“I stayed pretty calm,” she explained, in reference to her initial encounter. However, her reaction a few minutes after she saw it was a different story.
“I rinsed out out my hair, I got my towel, and I walked back to the room, and I called my dad and cried,” she added.
Wozny’s experience is not the first time that pest issues at MSU have been brought to light. In 2015, the State News reported on an instance of bed bugs being discovered in Case Hall, which is home to the James Madison College in South Neighborhood. The situation in Case Hall was addressed by MSU Pest Control.
Now, with the discovery of cockroaches in Campbell Hall, MSU has to answer a serious question – how exactly did a cockroach wind up in a residence hall shower?
It’s common knowledge that household cockroaches are an extraordinary species – they’re capable of surviving extended periods of time underwater, high levels of heat exposure, body limbs being cut off and even certain levels of nuclear radiation. A member of the insect order blattodea, the roaches that invade homes, kitchens and living areas have jokingly been coined as “indestructible.”
A residence hall could be considered a perfect habitat for this sort of pest, there’s plenty of spaces to hide, livable breeding grounds, water from pipes and faucets and food which can be stolen from unsuspecting college students.
Howard Russell, an entomologist with MSU’s Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, talked about the steps that can be taken to prevent such pest infestations.
“The most important aspect in cockroach control is sanitation,” said Russell. “So if people are sloppy with food, then they keep foods out, or they don’t empty the trash often enough … that favors cockroach development, and it favors their numbers.”
Russell added that students upholding sanitary measures on campus is important, as well. Without proper sanitation, it’s difficult to prevent additional infestations, he said.
“They can follow-up with reporting infestations to campus pest control people so that they can then take actions, but without proper sanitation, it doesn’t really matter what a pest control person here on campus does. It’s facing an uphill battle, and probably one that they’ll lose.”
Wozny stated that she has not seen any more cockroaches since her initial encounter.
“I’ve heard some stories, but I haven’t seen any myself,” Wozny said.
She also commented on the way that she believes MSU should handle the situation.
“Take care of the cockroaches in Campbell, do the whole bugs-be-gone process. And then I think, tell the students how to prevent them a little bit more because it’s an old building so it’s going to come with its share of issues.”