Many students are learning to live with pests for the first time at the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus.
Ants and other pests are often seen by students crawling from the walking paths and green space to the residential dorms.
“When we first moved in, there were ants everywhere,” said sophomore Kyle Reynolds, a Mahoney resident and exercise physiology major. “[The ants] were all over my desk and even on the walls.”
Reynolds, a New York native, said that before coming to Miami he never had to deal with ants indoors.
“I spray my room once a week with Raid,” Reynolds said. “[My roommate and I] are careful about putting food in the trash.”
According to Orlando Aguiar, a pest control technician for the University of Miami since 1990, there are a range of different ants on campus, from sugar ants to fire ants, and most are harmless.
He said every room is sprayed for pests during summer break, which include ants, cockroaches and other small insects. Vacant rooms are sprayed over winter break as well. Aguiar said he is on call 24/7 throughout the year.
“[Pests] are year-round. The climate doesn’t change, so they don’t go underground,” Aguiar said. “Our students come from up north, and they freak. They aren’t used to seeing ants.”
Like Reynolds, sophomore Elena Young has also never had an issue with ants growing up in Washington D.C. She said Miami made her more conscious about leaving food uncontained.
“I never leave food out in my room because I live on the third floor and I always see a lot of ants on the stairs as I’m walking to my room,” Young said. “My room is close to the door and I don’t want them in there.”
Young said she has also seen other insects around campus at night and during the day.
“I’ve seen a rat run across the path while I was walking to my dorm at night,” Young said. “One time I saw one during the day in the grass. I’m not used to seeing rats during the day, so it scared me even more.”
Jordan Thomas, a sophomore motion pictures major, said he too has seen rats while on campus in the evening.
“One night when I was walking to the C-store to get food, I saw a dead rat on the ground,” Thomas said. “A week later I was walking to the C-store and saw a rat climbing a tree by the bus stops.”
Aguiar said pest control at the University of Miami implements maintenance programs that consist of keeping the lawns trimmed, setting granules, making sure trees do not touch buildings and preparing bait boxes that target rats and other small rodents.
After each visit, Aguiar leaves a door tag with his number and tips for keeping pests under control.
“A good thing is to not leave garbage over night and don’t have dirty dishes overnight,” Aguiar said. “Make sure windows are closed because, by the time you notice it, you already have a problem.”
Students can contact Orlando Aguiar at 786-299-3458 to report a pest problem or visit http://iservicedesk.facilities.miami.edu:83/home.html.