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University housing residents experience bedbug, ant infestations upon move-in

Weyburn Commons is pictured. Students reported cleanliness issues with the building and other university apartments and dorms. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Emily Rusting

Oct. 5, 2023 5:25 p.m.

This post was updated Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Students encountered bedbugs, ants and other cleanliness issues when they moved into university housing this year.

Some residents in Hedrick Summit, Weyburn Terrace and Levering Heights have reported bedbugs, with students in Levering Terrace also discovering ant problems. The claims come after UCLA Housing was repeatedly criticized last year for issues relating to cleanliness and maintenance at the Westwood Chateau university apartment building.

[Related: ‘Straight-up dangerous’: Students in Westwood Chateau allege unsafe conditions]

Andre Salcido, a third-year political science student living in Levering Terrace, said he and his roommates noticed their apartment had an ant problem a few days after moving in. The ants bit his roommates while they were relaxing in their living space, Salcido said.

He added that the infestation made him feel anxious, especially because he and his roommates had not discovered the source of the ants.

“We don’t know exactly where they’re coming from. That’s a little uneasy,” Salcido said.

Joline Siu, a first-year biochemistry student living in Hedrick Summit, said she discovered her dorm room had bedbugs when she found swollen, red bites all over her neck and legs a few mornings after move-in.

Siu added that finding the bedbugs made her worried there may be other potential infestations or cleanliness issues in her dorm room.

Vacant apartments are cleaned on a rotating schedule over the summer, while occupied university apartments are cleaned prior to move-in, UCLA Housing said in an emailed statement. The statement also said the pest problem could be caused by the move-in process.

“As with any apartment or housing unit, pests may at times get into the unit,” Housing said in the emailed statement. “Especially during times like move-in, when doors may be left open for extended periods of time, or luggage is being brought into units, there may be an increase of pests.”

Housing also said it was possible that housekeeping accidentally missed a room or unit because of the relatively short transition period between summer and fall residents.

Housing added that there is a comprehensive protocol for managing bedbug infestations, which includes a pest control inspection within two business days, treatment within the following three business days and temporary housing for residents during the process.

Siu said she contacted her dorm’s front desk after she realized her room had bedbugs but was not provided with temporary housing until the following day. She added that Housing was generally communicative throughout the treatment process, but the front desk staff seemed initially confused about how to handle the situation.

“I personally think that they (Housing) were very organized,” she said. “The only complication that we had was that some of the front desk employees didn’t really understand how to process the bedbug situation.”

Salcido said he and his roommates had not yet contacted Housing about the ant infestation in their apartment at the time of his interview.

Salcido also said he expected his unit to have been cleaned more thoroughly before move-in with special attention to pest prevention procedures.

“Prior to students moving in on the first day, they probably should have sprayed for bugs or done whatever procedures they have in place for making sure pests don’t get into the building,” he said. “I would just prefer there be more initiative taken in getting rid of certain bugs.”

Siu also said she expected more attention to cleanliness given the cost of university housing. Plaza triple dorms such as Siu’s can cost up to $17,784 per academic year, while two-bedroom university apartments such as Salcido’s cost up to $9,784 per year at Levering Terrace.

“I was … very frustrated because we do have to pay a lot for housing,” Siu said. “I wish that they (Housing) had cleaned the rooms and the bedbugs before we moved in so we didn’t have to face this problem.”

She added that her experience moving back and forth between her dorm and temporary housing was stressful and confusing because it was unclear what she was allowed to bring to the temporary room, and she didn’t receive help with the move.

Siu said the bedbug infestation in her dorm room also left her with anxiety about future pest problems.

“After the bedbug situation, I was worried about what other problems could arise in the future,” she said. “If I get bedbugs or carpet bugs again during an exam time, how am I going to deal with that?”

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Emily Rusting
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