Since the start of the school year, CMC has been seemingly overrun with ants. From Marks Hall to Bauer Center, these creatures have become an almost unavoidable fact of daily life. Incidents have been small and insignificant as much as they have been relatively extreme.
Two weeks ago, a sink in a Marks Hall bathroom was reported to have had been so covered in these creatures that it was actually black. Freshman Caroline Bowman also experienced ant problems in her room. “I got back to my dorm one day, and there was a steady stream of ants along the wall. It was mildly disturbing, especially when they all started showing up on our desks,” she said.
When asked if Story House had received an increase in extermination requests, Associate Director of Facilities and Campus Services Jose Huezo responded affirmatively, stating, “We have been receiving calls from students, staff, teachers… just about everyone… We try our best, but it is nearly impossible to exterminate them completely.” It is widely speculated that the construction in North Mall is to blame, a theory supported by the fact that Kravis Center has seen a disproportionate number of insect related incidents.
This is due to the movement of earth, which shakes up their colonies and drives them to the surface. The same problem presented itself during the construction of Claremont Hall. Mr. Huezo also speculated that the weather played a part, explaining that the heat forced ants inside in search of water, driving them towards sinks and bathrooms.
While ants have been reported everywhere from bathroom sinks to students’ desks, the number of reported incidents has gone down over the course of the past several weeks, in part due to the decrease in temperature. The number of incidents is expected to increase again in the winter as the insects migrate inside in search of warmth.
In order to avoid infestation, students should not leave perishable items out in the open in their dorms and should make an effort to keep their floors reasonably clean and free of crumbs. Food waste is also best disposed of in garbage cans outside of the rooms.
Chemicals used by housekeeping to treat the ant problem have minimal residue, and, while this decreases the potential harm to students, it also makes it easier for pests to return. Should bug spray be unavailable, hot water and soap can also act as efficient exterminants.
While the complexity of this problem almost guarantees that there will never be a permanent solution, a bit of common sense and cleanliness can go a long way in minimizing your own chances of waking up with ants on your pillow.