Bugs in Beecher

A dead cockroach found in Ward Beecher Hall. Photo by Shianna Gibbons / The Jambar

By Shianna Gibbons

Youngstown State University students have complained about an uptick in cockroaches and pests in classrooms and campus buildings, specifically Ward Beecher Hall. 

Sean Giblin, the assistant director of environmental and occupational health and safety, said YSU hires exterminators regularly to address any campus pest problems.

“We have a contractor who comes every two weeks and will specifically — if there’s certain nuisances or pests or something new that comes up, they will go and treat that specific area. With certain recurring issues, they attack that source every two weeks,” Giblin said.

Pest complaints are then filed in a log system in the EOHS office for the contractor. GRACE services, Inc. is the third-party contractor that will come and assess any pest sightings around campus bi-weekly. Giblin said there are typically one to two bug complaints a week.

“They use a granulated bait. It’s called Max Force Complete. It is applied to the source where they’re breeding, in the steam tunnels connected to downtown. So, the contractor that comes on site will enter those access points and apply and spread that bait on a bi-weekly basis,” Giblin said.

John Hyden, the assistant vice president of facilities maintenance, said outside influences like construction can affect pests on campus.

“If there is any demolition, we will find lots and lots of cockroaches and rats. When you disturb their homes, they’ll start running around looking for another place to go,” Hyden said. “So, if they have a major demolition downtown, we’re liable to find an uptick in our pests on campus.”

RitaMarie Torres, a senior majoring in biology, said she had seen the bugs during her classes in Ward Beecher hall. 

“Last semester for physics lab, we kind of all noticed it in the lab, and it made us really really uncomfortable,” Torres said. “There’s nowhere to put your backpacks down or anything. So we didn’t even know what to do in that situation or who to talk to about it.”

Giblin said the contractors have ensured that any cockroaches students have noticed are not a concern because of the treatment laid out.

“When you see cockroaches, they’re coming up to die. I would assume that most of those are dead or dying. I did see one over the summer, and I did report it. But [the contractors] told me male cockroaches come up to forage and are curious but that they’re likely going to die.”

Giblin also said that the cockroaches on campus are not a concern for YSU’s cleanliness but rather a common occurrence for city areas.

“The contractors said they have never seen German cockroaches on campus. Those are the ones that breed and eat filth. In that case, you would be concerned about cleanliness practices. We see American cockroaches on campus, which are very common.”

The EOHS office located in Cushwa on the second floor handles any pest complaints. Students and staff can submit sightings or problems via email, an online form on their website, or can stop in the office and write down where, when and what type of pest was seen.