Students Take Arms Against Stinky Pests

By Grace Arenas

Elm Staff Writer

In numbers usually reserved for horror movies and reality shows like “Fear Factor,” stink bugs have invaded campus this year. Native to Asia, the stink bug only came to America in the last decade or so, the first official record dating back to 1998. Since their arrival, the bugs have proved to be a nuisance wherever they go, and Washington College is no exception.

Head of Buildings and Grounds, Reid Raudenbush, said that stink bugs this year have posed a bigger problem than in the past.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen them like this, and I’ve been here 21 years,” he said. He reported that most of the major issues with stink bugs are in rooms with window-unit air conditioning, where the windows may not be able to be as tightly sealed. Newer buildings, like Chester and Sassafras, have not encountered big problems with the bugs.

Kent House resident freshman Kathryn Gilley has had many stink bug experiences this year. One particular extermination was especially memorable.

“Our room was swarmed,” said Gilley. “And we couldn’t kill them in the room, because it attracts more.”

She enlisted her neighbors’ help to catch the bugs. Gilley sprayed 409 outside of her window by climbing on top of a bed in hopes of stunning the pests.

“It stunned them so they couldn’t fly, but they still came crawling out,” she said.

“It was pretty epic,” said freshman Obella Obbo, who helped with the episode. “We didn’t want to kill them, but it was nasty.”

Though unable to get them all, the brave students captured 31 total stink bugs and released them outside.

Though Raudenbush pointed out that stink bugs do not pose a health threat, he did say they are “absolutely a nuisance.”

The exteriors of some buildings have been sprayed, and many students have taped up their windows to prevent the bugs from getting in. Minta Martin resident sophomore Molly Nader used both techniques.

“At first, it was just one or two [bugs], then it got progressively worse,” said Nader. “I would get five bugs coming in at a time and I would just randomly find them in my room. We could never find where they were coming in.”

Nader ultimately had to move out of her room to escape the stink bugs.

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