Butler University’s campus—along with the rest of the Midwest—is being invaded by bugs.
Stink bugs, boxelder bug and ants are the main problems on campus, said Dick Hamm, director of building services. The bug problem was brought to Building Services’ attention more than four weeks ago, Hamm said.
“We have been seeing an increase in insect activity that is outside of the norm at this time of year,” Hamm said. “It’s been the temperatures that have been really driving the issue, I believe.”
Lizzie Terrell, a freshman who lives on the second floor of Schwitzer Hall, has bugs in her room.
“One day, we vacuumed up 11 stink bugs,” Terrell said. “That wasn’t the end of it. They kept coming in.”
Terrell said she has a variety of bugs in her room, including ants. She said a problem began approximately a month ago.
After talking to her resident assistant, Terrell said a pest control company was brought in to spray the windows.
“It keeps the bugs from staying alive,” Terrell said. “But they still get in the room. That was the best solution there was they said.”
Terrell said she believes she was bitten by one of the bugs in her room.
“I saw a bump one night,” Terrell said.
She described the bump as “big, round, and red” and “about the size of a golf ball.”
Hamm said the bug issue is not seen in just one building on campus, but the entire Midwest region.
Arnetta Shade, an RA in Ross Hall, said at least eight rooms in her unit have had stink bugs inside.
Shade said the problem gradually worsened after Labor Day. By the second week of September, she was e-mailing her 34 residents about the problem.
“I was noticing them, and they were coming in two or three at a time,” Shade said.
Shade would look at the rooms that had complained about bugs.
“We would go in their room, and their curtains were lined with them and more were crawling out of vents,” she said.
The rooms on the outside of the building near trees were affected more than rooms with windows facing the courtyard, Shade said.
“When (the exterminator) came in, he basically said to keep the windows shut because there was nothing he could do,” Shade said. “There’s no extermination technique for them. A lot of my residents, including myself, have been taping their windows shut.”
Shade said she realizes the bugs are coming in to get away from the cold, but number of bugs coming in is the problem.
“The infestation of them was really rapid,” Shade said. “It just came about because none of us know what they are or what to do (about them).”
Butler has a pest control contract that calls for a pest controller to be on campus at least once a week, Hamm said. These visits from Arab Pest Control, Butler’s company, have increased to two to three times a week to follow up on the issue, Hamm said.
The pest control company will visit if a work order is a “life emergency,” such as a large case concerning rodents. Hamm said one or two instances of bugs in a room do not warrant a follow up. He said these types of bugs are not deemed a life emergency by the pest control company.
“We consider that a part of the living, learning experience is to be able to understand it’s not just students (being affected),” Hamm said. “It’s not just Butler. It’s not just faculty and staff. It’s an area issue and a weather issue.”
Hamm said the bugs will go in their dormant stage after the first frost and when temperatures fall below freezing. That is when he said campus will see a drop in the number of insects.
Building Services gets work orders from resident coordinators or RAs, which they give to Arab Pest Control.
The company has provided Butler with insect identification and monitoring boxes, which are small boxes with glue used for faster identification of the type of insect. The pest control company can then provide the correct treatment.
Hamm gives simple tips to students looking to keep bugs out of their room.
“The number one thing this time of year is that these insects are looking to hole up for the winter,” Hamm said. “Any crack or crevice they are going to come through. Once they have access, they can get into any room that leaves their door open.”
Hamm said students should keep windows shut, take the trash out every day, and keep the number under control to prevent the bugs from multiplying.