Residents of the Mary Morse West Wing say that the second floor showers are not fit for use even after the larvae found in a stall were exterminated.
Students found maggots from the moth fly, a.k.a. the Drain Fly, in the first shower stall as early as the third week of September, according to sophomore Genevieve Evans.
During the second week of October, the larvae spread into the second stall, so blue electrical tape with a sign that directed students to use the first floor bathrooms barricaded the bathroom door.
By Oct. 16, all larvae were exterminated and washed down the drain, yet some students say that they are still wary of using the bathroom again.
As of print, six residents report feeling the need to use the downstairs bathroom even after the second floor bathroom was cleared, and three said that they will only use the bathtub.
Evans, who said that she showered with the insects for a week before realizing that what she thought were “particles of dirt” were moving, continues to shower downstairs so that she will not repeat the experience.
Sophomore Brittany Taylor-Vernon, who lives directly in front of the second floor bathroom, said that she stopped using it for sanitary reasons before the larvae incident occurred.
“I’ve been in every bathroom in the dorm and we are, by far, the worst,” Taylor-Vernon said.
She said that the bathroom smelled, girls left hair and unidentifiable liquids in the stalls and that residents generally do not clean up after themselves to the point of creating a health hazard.
“It’s got to be a hazard for something to create [larvae] in the shower where you clean yourself,” Taylor-Vernon said. “It should be a clean area.”
She suspects that the larvae infestation might be the result of women rinsing out their dishes in the stalls, a suspicion junior Paula Tejeda agrees with.
“Some of the girls maybe washed their dishes and left food residuals there,” Tejeda said, adding that the larva could eat the food in the drain and thrive.
Despite their suspicions, neither could identify a specific person who washes their dishes in the bathroom.
Sophomore Emilie Nachtigall, who bathes in the bathtub, said that she was not “freaked out” by the infestation, but she said that the Mills staff did not solve the problem quickly enough.
Administrative assistant Ruth Sears said that housekeeping did all they could, and it was not their fault that the larvae returned.
“The cleaning staff poured bleach down the drain, but they didn’t go away,” she said.
According to Paul Richards, the director of facilities, staff carried out the work order as quickly as possible. He sent engineers to pour Clorox down the drain on Monday, Oct. 9. When the infestation returned, he had EcoLab, the company that exterminates pests for Mills, identify the larva on Wednesday, and by Saturday he had the drains scraped and the proper chemical treatment administered.
While he does not know how the larvae entered Mary Morse, Richards said that cleaning out the drain should prevent further infestation.
“These aren’t bugs that harm people. They don’t bite. They are not a threat beyond the fact that they are unsightly,” Richards said.
Some residents on the second floor of the west wing said that people are overreacting to the bugs and that the bathrooms should not have been taped off.
“They were little black worms, and yes, they were in the shower, but that could have been solved by rinsing them down the drain,” sophomore Kyran McCann said. “I cannot believe they made people crawl underneath tape to go to the bathroom when there was nothing wrong with the toilets.”
Sophomore Cayce Begin said that she agreed that women should not stop using the toilets and bathtub in the second floor bathroom, and said that she saw nothing wrong with using the first floor’s showers.
“The west wing is one hall with two floors and one RA, so technically, it’s everyone’s bathroom,” she said.
Richards said that he was not aware that women were afraid of the bathrooms.
“If we get an online work order, we don’t understand that people are upset,” he said.
He recommended that Mills women call in their work orders to Mills extension 3333 if they are upset so that the staff can hear the feelings in the student’s voice.