Bedbugs force residence fumigation

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By Jonathan Bjerg Moller

If your friends from Wycik have missed some class, it’s probably because they were cleaning their rooms or doing laundry.

Neill-Wycik Co-Operative College, home to about 400 Ryerson students, is undergoing a mandatory building-wide fumigation to rid the place of bedbugs.

“It’s a major pain in the ass,” said Scott MacDonald, a three-year Wycik resident.

Residents were told to move bedroom furniture away from walls so the exterminators, PCO Services Inc., can reach the cracks and crevices. All clothing must be laundered or drycleaned.

Students must leave their rooms for four to five hours after they are sprayed. The fumigations began Tuesday and will end Thursday night.

During the day, bedbugs usually hide in bed frames or mattresses. At night, the quarter-inch parasites emerge to feed on blood. The bites can be painless but some people suffer allergic reactions, such as itching and welts.

General manager Michelle Walker says the long-term benefit of killing the bedbugs far outweighs the short-term inconvenience faced by the residents.

The parasites have been found in only one unit so far, but they’re suspected in at least six other units.

“We want to be 100 per cent sure no one else will be affected by this,” Walker told a group of residents at an information meeting Sept. 30.

But many students at the meeting expressed anger at the disruption.

Joelene Vince, a third-year interior design student, said she had assignments due and might not get them done if she has to rearrange her room and do all her laundry. “I’m a girl,” she said. “I have a lot of stuff.”

Wycik has provided free laundry facilities for all residents. But some say they shouldn’t be forced to participate.

“I like the fact the building is doing it [fumigation],” MacDonald said. “But I think there should be provisions for someone who doesn’t want them to come in. I don’t think they should force us.”

Second-year RTA student Breya Skinner lives in the infested unit. The bedbugs appeared one week after she moved in, she said, and despite three separate fumigations, they have spread through the five-room unit.

“I’m tired,” Skinner said. “It’s been a long few weeks. My roommates are at wits’ end.” She said she appreciates the management’s efforts.

“I don’t want to deal with it any more,” she said.

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