The third-floor residents of Gardner Hall are victims of a beetle invasion – and not the British kind. Little black beetles began crawling into Gardner about two weeks ago, requiring Residence Life, Physical Resources and WFF Facility Services to band together to eliminate the infestation.
John Delony, director of Residence Life, said reports had been made of beetle influxes in buildings across Abilene, but, so far, Gardner Hall has been the only residence hall affected.
After initial complaints, an exterminator was called to address the bug problem, Delony said; however, the problem remained.
“I acknowledge that while nobody likes bugs in residence halls, ACU did the best job responding to the situation,” he said.
Shannon Buchanan, resident director of Gardner Hall, said two initial bug complaints were submitted and sent to Physical Resources the same day. An exterminator came twice that week, but the spray was not effective enough to keep the bugs out, she said.
Physical Resources then conducted room-by-room assessments of all rooms that submitted maintenance requests regarding bugs to determine any structural damage to the residence hall.
After conducting the evaluations, Physical Resources concluded the beetles were eating the old caulk in the windows of each room, and they recaulked the windows of affected rooms. The caulk had a poison in it to keep beetles away from the windows. WFF, the company contracted by ACU for custodial services, stepped in to clean out the remaining bugs sealed into the residence hall by the new caulk.
Fluctuating temperatures for the past several weeks exacerbated the problem, Delony said. Rain drives the bugs out of the ground, but historically, the troubles diminish as the weather becomes cooler, he said.
Cold weather cannot come fast enough for some of the residents, including Kelcie Broom, freshman youth and family ministry major from Richardson.
“Thankfully, my room wasn’t that bad,” Broom said. “However, my neighbors had around 20 to 30 dead beetles in the corner of their room.”
Broom said many residents from the third floor moved in with friends on the second floor temporarily to evade the bugs.
The bugs were at their worst the weekend of Freshman Follies, Buchanan said. She visited all of the affected rooms Sept. 20 to take pictures of the problem and talk to the residents involved.
“Our priority in Residence Life is to provide a safe and comfortable home for the residents,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan said it seems most of the bugs are gone now, and maintenance requests have decreased significantly. But with next winter just around the corner, the women of Gardner may be looking forward to moving out.