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Cockroaches on campus

The Weal ― NewsSAIT students on the fourth floor of the East Hall residence were shocked to learn they had a few unexpected roommates living with them this past month.

First-year journalism student Jennifer Wendt, living in residence for the first time, lives in one of the four suites where cockroaches have been found.

“It was disgusting to learn that there were cockroaches in our dorm,” said Wendt. “I thought all of the rooms were cleaned before anyone moved in, but our room can’t have been that clean if cockroaches were living here.”

Wendt said exterminators set up traps behind her fridge and stove, and she was given Tupperware containers to put her dry food into to protect it from bugs.

“There are also people who come into our dorm twice a week, while we’re in class, to check our rooms and replace the traps. They’ve never fumigated, though,” said Wendt.

SAIT public relations specialist Melanie Simmons said that as soon as the residence manager, Brian Sellen, was notified about the cockroaches at the beginning of September, he took action.

“Expert exterminators were called in and preventative measures were put into place,” said Simmons. “The cockroaches were only seen in four of the suites on the fourth floor of East Hall. To the people living in those suites we gave plastic containers to put their food into, and pamphlets telling them how to keep their rooms clean and prevent the pests from coming back. We also do routine checks every 60 days for every room in residence to ensure that everyone is keeping their room clean.”

In the past years there have been other reported cases of pests on campus, such as mice in certain food venues and bed bugs in some of the apartments. However, all reported cases have been dealt with effectively.

“Pests are rarely seen on campus, but when they are, they are dealt with quickly,” said Simmons.

According to the SAIT resident handbook on the SAIT website, if you discover any pests, in residence or anywhere on campus, you must complete a work order request at the front desk of the Tower residence. The website states that, “SAIT has an agreement with a local pest control company to respond to any pest issues that may arise.”

Cockroaches are nocturnal; they usually do their scavenging for food at night, and they tend to run and hide when the lights are turned on.
According to local exterminator Brent Gage, “Cockroaches can live just about anywhere, and in just about all conditions. They are an incredibly hardy type of bug, which makes them incredibly difficult to kill.”

“The insects can survive without food for a month, and can live without air for 45 minutes. Setting a few traps around your house isn’t usually enough to get rid of them. The best way to get rid of them for good is to fumigate in small concentrated areas like cracks in the walls and small humid places,” said Gage.

However, the managers of East Hall believe that it is unnecessary to fumigate anywhere in the building. “The pest control company is confident the issue is isolated and that we will not need to fumigate,” said Simmons.

“Cockroaches can be dangerous,” says Gage. “They can contaminate food and spread diseases such as Salmonella, cholera, dysentery, and hepatitis by walking over, and excreting on, food or food preparation areas after travelling through garbage and/or sewers. They also like to lay eggs in your food and around your home.”

“Scientists have tested and confirmed that some people can have allergic reactions caused by cockroaches,” said Dr. Morton M. Teich, an immunologist and allergy specialist in New York in Mar 26, 2012 ABC news article. “Cockroach allergy was first reported and confirmed about 50 years ago. It is real and can be very dangerous. I have patients whom we’ve tested for cockroach allergy who have had severe reactions.”

Teich said cockroach allergens are the excrement and debris from decomposing cockroach bodies that become airborne and are breathed in. Sensitivity to this dust triggers the bronchial allergic reaction known as asthma.

Many students in the East Hall Residence had no idea that there were even bugs in their building.

First-year dental assistant student, Danya Kova, whose suite is on the fourth floor, was one of them.

“I had no idea there were cockroaches in my building, let alone on my floor. Why wouldn’t they tell everyone in the building about them so that we could prevent them from getting into our rooms too?” said Kova. “They should have at least told everyone on the fourth floor.”
Kevin Huei, a second-year business administration student living on the third floor, had a similar reaction.

“If I’m paying this much to live in res, I don’t want to be living with cockroaches and who knows what else. At the very least I should be told what’s going on in the building,” said Huei.

According to Health Canada there are several steps you can take to prevent cockroaches from invading your home:

•Clean up spills immediately. Do not leave any water or food out for 24 hours.

•Keep food in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers, rather than in paper or cardboard, which roaches can chew through and lay eggs in.

•Regularly clean dark and humid areas close to a food source, such as behind and beneath appliances, grease behind the stove and refrigerator.

•Store garbage in sealed plastic containers and dispose of them daily.

•Do not allow dirty dishes to accumulate, especially overnight. If you cannot wash them immediately, leave them to soak in detergent and water.

•Vacuum regularly to help remove food particles and insect egg masses.

•Wrap or insulate pipes that may have excess condensation, repair leaky faucets and pipes, ventilate bathrooms and dehumidify moist areas to reduce sources of water.

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