Multiple Arthropod Pest Species Have Long Been An Issue For Students Living In LSU Dormitories

Not long ago, graduate students with Louisiana State University’s College Of Agriculture and Entomology armed themselves with flashlights, vials of alcohol and magnifying glasses in order to search campus dormitories for insect specimens. For more than two decades, the residence halls on the LSU campus have been overrun with a number of insect pests, including cockroaches, bed bugs, crickets, mosquitoes, ants, and spiders. Obviously, graduate students need hands-on experience in their field, so department administrators figured the entomology students would benefit from exploring the vast insect pest community within the conveniently located LSU dorms. This move saved the University money on pest control efforts in the dorms and on the costs of sending the entomology students into the field.

LSU residence halls house more than 6,000 students, many of whom experience regular arthropod pest disturbances in their rooms, and there is little that administrative officials believe can be done to eradicate the pests from the old pre-code campus buildings. In a seemingly economical, or perhaps, cheap decision among department heads, the department of entomology partnered with the LSU Residence Life organization in order to combat arthropod pests within campus dorms. According to Gregg Henderson, an urban entomologist with the LSU AgCenter, entomology graduate students report to the dorms after residents lodge insect pest complaints.

Apparently, penny pinching administrative officials are not the only ones who benefited from these free pest inspections, as one entomology student claimed that his experience in the dorms allowed him to observe the indoor behaviors of a variety of arthropod pest species that will be invaluable to his future work in urban arthropod pest control. Although this student specializes in wasps, he receives about 20 calls per week about many different types of arthropod pests, including fleas, bed bugs, cockroaches and ants. When visiting rooms that are suspected of being infested with bed bugs, the students follow a strict protocol in order to avoid spreading bed bugs beyond the infested area. One survey conducted by researchers a little more than a decade ago found that mosquitoes, cockroaches, longhorned crazy ants, gnats, bees and wasps are the most commonly reported insect pests in LSU dormitories. Today, bed bugs are reported more often in LSU dorms than in the past due to the steady growth in annual bed bug infestations in the US during the past two decades.

Has your home ever been infested by multiple arthropod pest species?


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