Bedbugs, Mice Reported in the Thompson Library


Santiago Ochoa

Caution tape warns students to stay away from seats on the third hall of the Thompson Library

Bedbugs and mice have been reported in the Thompson Library.

“I found a bug on me, and flicked it off assuming it was a tick. I then realized it was a bedbug, I recognized it from a viral Facebook post,” Senior Selena Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said she started experiencing bumps later in the week. The incident took place on the third floor of the library at the desks facing the windows, overlooking the atrium. Since then, caution tape with a sign reading, “area closed for cleaning” has been placed over the desks.

Bob Houbeck, the library’s director, confirmed there were some issues with bedbugs and mice, but said that the best course of action was being taken.

“Last spring term we had a bad run in with mice and rats, but we have worked extensively to clear the building of them,” Houbeck said.

He also addressed the report of bedbugs.

“A library employee inspected the area the day the incident was reported, but could not find any. We contacted faculty and the next day one of their employees came out to inspect the desks,” Houbeck said. “After inspecting the area, a bedbug was found and a casing was found in the chair, which might mean an incident with an infestation.”

The chair was immediately thrown out, he said, and the library contacted Rose Pest Solutions. Beagle sniffer dogs are scheduled to seek out any further bedbugs Monday at 6 a.m. Another issue with bedbugs was reported last April, but sniffer dogs were unable to find any.

Houbeck said the library will continue to remain open.

“We consulted the experts on if we should close down the building, but they said it was unnecessary. We just don’t want to inconvenience our students, and we have no other evidence that other parts of the building are infested.”

Amber Fuhr, an employee at All-N-One Pest Control, an extermination company in Flint, said bedbugs can be transferred, “extremely easily. … They cling to cloths, which makes it easy for them to be transferred. They also can hide very easily. In book binds, purses, pants, shoes, you name it.”

Bedbug extermination is the one service that All-N-One Pest Control cannot guarantee, she said, since bedbugs are so small. They can also lie dormant for 12-18 months, as they only need to eat once a year, she said.

“It’s not hard to kill them, but it’s hard to find them. We do two rounds of extermination, one as a spray and one as a powder. Its best to identify where the source is as soon as you can,” said Fuhr.

Bed bugs can be a nuisance because of time and the cost it takes to get rid of them. While not extremely harmful, those bitten are susceptible to get a secondary bacteria through open wound scratching, according to Fuhr.

How to tell if you’ve been bitten? Along with being itchy, Fuhr says the bite marks appear in a line on the skin with roughly two to three bites in a row. What they eat? Your blood. Furthermore, if the bugs are not isolated, the only way to get rid of them is by cleaning the whole area. The cleaning process is usually comprised of two parts, involving both a spray and a cleanse powder, said Fuhr.

Students have reported seeing bedbugs in other places on campus, as well, such as the Loft in the University Center, the Student Success Center, and Riverfront building. However, this remains unconfirmed.

“Bedbugs are hitchhikers, they probably came in on a student’s boot or shoe,” Houbeck said. “You can clean the whole building but sadly they could be back in the next day.”

In addition to bedbugs being found, Sophomore Andrea LaRocque said she has seen mice several times while studying in the library.

“Since I’ve been in the library I’ve seen rats or mice on at least three occasions,” LaRocque said. “Two of the times I saw them running along the floor before they disappeared into a book shelf. One time, I saw one actually fall from the upper floors onto a table I was sitting next to on the first floor.”

LaRocque, who works for the school’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), has seen the library try to address this issue. “They put out traps, but they hide them in strategic spots. They often place the traps under book carts that have signs that say “do not move” and they have attempted to solve the problem by only allowing people to eat on the third floor.”

Upon investigation, staff members of The Michigan Times were able to find a variety of mousetraps hidden throughout the library behind objects, such as trash cans and a tree on the stairwell between the second and first floor.

Sophomore Allyson Erickson, a biochemistry major, said she’s seen mouse traps under the desks, “which seems dangerous to me.”

Houbeck praised the response time of both Facilities and the Department of Environmental Safety. “We care about our students, and want to tackle these issues right away. When we say we put our students above everything, we really mean it.”

However, some students, including Sophomore Megann Mozden, are concerned about spending time in the library now.

“We shouldn’t have to risk our health and well-being to get some quality study hours in,” said Mozden.