Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Pesky pests: students struggle to navigate roach, cricket spikes around the University, West Campus

Kenzie Azbill

When David Chiles first moved into 21 Rio, he did not expect to room with six-legged critters as well. 

Government junior Chiles has struggled with roaches since he moved into his apartment in August.

“I have to be really good (at) getting my dishes washed, putting them away and making sure there’s no food out … and (that) everything is wrapped up really good or else roaches are going to come out,” Chiles said. 

However, Chiles is not the only West Campus resident who is experiencing pest problems. Precious Oyeka, informatics sophomore and American Campus Communities resident, has also been experiencing problems at her complex, The Block on Pearl South.

“I feel like whenever I go out, I literally see crickets everywhere,” Oyeka said. “I like to go skate on our rooftop. I went at nighttime, and I didn’t think anything of that. But as it turned (to) night, I saw 30 (crickets), and they were flying around. It was kind of scary.”

Not only were they on her rooftop, but Oyeka had problems with crickets inside her apartment.

“It literally sounded like crickets from my vent,” Oyeka said. “(The chirping) didn’t stop; it was all day.”

Chiles and Oyeka said they reported the issue through their respective apartment’s online portals. However, American Campus Communities said they “have not seen increased reports of pests.”

“It is important for residents to communicate any issues so we can address them in a timely manner,” American Campus Communities said in a statement. “We are committed to providing everyone a comfortable living experience close to campus that supports their personal and academic success.”

21 Rio did not respond to requests for comment. 

West Campus is not the only place these six-legged critters have made rounds to. The University is no stranger to cricket or roach infestations.

Laura Dang, a psychology freshman and Jester East resident, said she’s witnessed crickets along Speedway, the Perry-Castañeda Library and even inside her residence hall.

“Walking into Jester, there (are) always crickets inside,” Dang said. “I’m sure it has (to do with) environmental issues, but it makes me scared to study in the library at night because I am really scared of bugs like crickets (and) cockroaches. (I also don’t) really want to go back to my dorm at night.” 

Mark Shepherd, Austin Community College department chair of Earth and environmental sciences, said in a forum that changes in weather and climate patterns could be at fault.

Crickets and roaches, among other pests, have been around since the summer, and factors such as soil temperature and heavy rains could either be an indicator or cause of the cricket crisis, according to the forum. Due to recent rainfall and shorter daylight hours, insects are emerging in massive numbers because of the increase in food, water and shelter, Shepherd said.

“When you’re a student, you want to be comfortable in this space that you’re in,” Chiles said. “Rent on West Campus is notoriously expensive, so when you’re paying so much rent for these issues (to still happen), it’s frustrating and uncomfortable knowing that if you leave a dirty dish in the sink overnight that there’s going to be bugs in the morning, regardless of if your apartment is clean.”

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