This year, termites have once again taken residence in the halls of Eleanor Roosevelt College (ERC).
Students on social media forums like Reddit have long discussed the recurring appearance of termites in ERC. Drywood termites, the most commonly found type of termite in San Diego, do not need soil for sustenance and can instead stay in wood with low-moisture content. Thus, they have burrowed into the wooden furniture inside the residential halls. Although nuisances, drywood termites—also known as winged termites—are harmless to humans.
Students have made remarks about how they can hear faint clicking sounds in the walls in certain parts of the residential halls, an indicator of termites in the walls. Although not all residential halls and apartments have been affected, students have also had to evacuate their rooms for fumigation.
Lexi Lombard, a first year in Latin America Hall, is one such student affected by the termites. It did not affect the rest of her suite, but she discovered the termites when she was moving in. She found over 50 termites, heavily concentrated in the windows. Although Housing Dining Hospitality (HDH) vacuumed the area surrounding her window, the termites came back soon after and HDH did not answer her call the second time around.
“I feel like [HDH] could have handled the situation better as [the termites] still can get into my room, either by resealing the window or by figuring out where they are coming from and resolving it that way,” Lombard told The Triton. “I don’t think that the only thing [HDH] could have done was to vacuum them up, as they have come into my room on two occasions now.”
In conversation with Jade Griffin, Associate Director of UC San Diego marketing and communications, it was explained that ERC Residence Life and Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) work in tandem to handle all incidents. Low-risk, natural repellants are provided by EH&S if a student requests. Due to their dual-intervention methods, Residence Life and EH&S have stated that they feel confident in their ability to address these concerns.
On behalf of EH&S, Griffin said: “The EH&S Pest Management team uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to determine if treatment is needed. IPM employs physical, mechanical, cultural, biological and educational methods to limit pest problems. The least toxic chemical pesticides are used only as a last resort.”
Pest control contact information is provided on both the ERC Managing Your Living Area and HDH Maintenance pages, and administration advises students to be extremely proactive with their acknowledgment of a possible pest problem. According to the HDH Housing Inspection Schedule for Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) for 2018–2019, ERC apartments and residence halls were scheduled to have been inspected in early October.
HDH did not respond to requests confirming these scheduled inspections.
Sahana Narayan is a Staff Writer for The Triton.
Update January 9, 2019: According to HDH and EH&S, all housing inspections are completed in accordance with EH&S’s published schedule, which can be found here.