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September 21, 2016

Cockroaches infest Villanova University residence halls

Student-run newspaper says insects are part of wider campus pest problem

Universities Insects
092116_Cockroach Source/AP

Cockroach on a cupboard.

Villanova University is battling a cockroach infestation in its residence halls, part of a wider pest problem also afflicting the campus' dining facilities, according to a report published Wednesday in the school's student-run newspaper.

Over the past several weeks, sporadic sightings of cockroaches have been reported by students living in Sheehan, Corr, St. Mary’s and Dougherty Halls, The Villanovan reports.

The infestation appears to be caused by damp and untidy conditions that attract the insects from the sewer system.

Vikram Iyengar, an entomologist at Villanova, told the paper that the cockroaches will be difficult for the university to eradicate due to their proverbial resilience over millennia.

"Cockroaches are pretty good in terms of pesticide resistance and in terms of hiding away in spaces where pesticides may not be able to reach," Iyengar said. "Many cockroaches can even eat wood.”

Though disturbing, Iyengar said the bugs pose little threat to the health of the students in the affected dorms.

The Villanovan also reports that dining halls on campus are combating a persistent rodent problem that has largely been shielded from students on campus.

A university health and environmental specialist said the administration is working hard to contain the problem, opting to use traps and preventive maintenance over pesticides to protect the safety of students. Dining hall workers are required to report mouse sightings and RA's are provided with work order forms to complete when an outbreak is brought to their attention.

The Department of Residence Life has urged students to keep food properly stored in sealed containers well above floor level.