Extermination costs and confusion issues for off-campus students due to pests

Ashley Purnell

Some students living off campus are experiencing problems with bed bugs.

Policies on getting rid of insects, bedbugs and other unwanted pests are included in most housing leases. However, these policies have become the cause of some contention.

“My roommates and I found some bugs in our apartment, so naturally our first instinct was to just call up an exterminator,” said Emily Vulpio, a junior managerial marketing major who lived in Whitehall Terrace Apartments last year. “Turns out, our apartment had to go through a specific exterminator and we didn’t know that, so we ended up paying $250 out of pocket.” 

Vulpio said there were multiple instances where her and her roommates experienced a small bug problem. While these problems didn’t end with them calling an exterminator, they felt frustrated bugs were present after the first exterminator visit. 

Cynthia Stokes, a sophomore public health major, took over Vulpio’s lease aware of the bug problem. However, since there was an exterminator who came in and fixed the problem, she said she thought nothing of it.

Earlier this semester, Stokes and her roommates had to call an exterminator to eliminate more unwanted pests.

“I knew Emily when I moved into her old place, so I know of the bug problem,” Stokes said. “I can’t believe that it happened again though because our place is nice and we keep it clean.”

Stokes and her roommates found multiple bugs in different places around the apartment, such as their bedrooms and kitchen. After the confusion Vulpio experienced by not going through the complex’s designated exterminator, Stokes made sure to follow the proper protocol.

By going through this specific exterminator, their bug problem was fixed free of charge.

“We had to move all of our furniture the night before he came, which was a lot of work,” Stokes said. “Then after he did his thing, we had to wait a day for it to settle in, then move everything back again.”

Other off-campus housing complexes have had reports of bug infestations, such as University Oaks, Campus Pointe and Holly Park Apartments.

“Nine out of ten times when we go on site to inspect pests, it is usually ants,” said Kriss Westover, the operations manager and an exterminator for Epcon Lane Pest Control. “Lately we have seen an increase in roaches and of course, bed bugs.”

Kathryn Weber, a Kent State alumna, said she had to deal with stink bugs when she lived in Holly Park a few years ago.

“My neighbors also had to get an exterminator for bed bugs so I was always worried I would get them so I washed my sheets at least once a week, maybe even more,” Weber said.

Weber said every year she was in school, she always had friends that got bed bugs or other kind of bug problems. She said it was always important to her to read through her lease before signing because some places have confusing exterminator policies.

“If you have a bug problem, just make sure you tell management about it and don’t take no for an answer,” Weber said. “Because they will just end up fixing it for you if you are persistent about it.”

There are ways to decrease your chances of having pests where you live.

“Keep your place clean and wipe stuff down,” Westover said. “Also make sure you put food away in containers and don’t let crumbs get on the ground. Be cautious of where you go and where you shop, because roaches and bed bugs can follow you from place to place.”

KentWired reached out to Whitehall Terrace, Holly Park and Campus Pointe apartments for comment, but they were unable to share information in student leases regarding exterminator policies.

Ashley Purnell is the commuters and apartment life reporter. Contact her at [email protected]