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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Pest Control Costs $19,500 Annually at UMB


Photo Illustration.

Mouse-sightings in the Campus Center since the beginning of this semester have some students concerned.

Isaac Weekes, a sophomore sociology major and member of the Black Student Center (BSC), has recently seen the pests around campus. In fact, he and other BSC members have become so accustomed to seeing them that they named one mouse “Tyrone.”

Weekes explained his discomfort with the presence of mice: “If this goes on, it might become a health concern, especially for people allergic to fur. Also, it’s an awkward situation when people are doing their work and mice are running around their feet.”

The Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) has also been affected by the presence of pests on campus. Hamza Abdelgany, the MSA’s vice president, reported that the association suspects mice invaded their snack inventory. “We saw holes in every single one of our bags and we were unable to sell any of those affected snacks,” Abdelgany reported.

The university deals with pests using a program called “Integrated Pest Management,” according to Dorothy Renaghan, assistant vice chancellor for Facilities Management. “This means that we and the pest control vendor [Waltham Services, Inc.], with whom we contract, use information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment to manage pests economically and with the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment.”

The university spends $19,500 from its Facilities Department budget on pest control-related issues annually.

Renaghan reported that the pests requiring regular management are rodents, insects (such as cockroaches, ants and wasps), and the occasional raccoon or squirrel. She explained that areas like food service and the loading docks, where food-waste-compactors and trash attract rodents, are baited and checked weekly or monthly (depending on the area). The contractor also places rodent traps in strategic locations in the Campus Center and offices.

Waltham Services also provides on-call services to areas that have unusual pest control needs, as in 2007 when a bee hive was discovered in a campus building.

Students, too, can help prevent rodent infestations on campus, and circumvent the potential health issues, according to the campus Health Services Department. They advise following the Center for Disease Control’s suggestions found at www.cdc.gov. According to the website, good sanitary practices, like covering food containers and practicing general cleanliness, are essential to keep pests and rodents away.