Spider sightings, bites concern Rider residents
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A resident of Rider Hall has reported that she had to visit the hospital after being bitten by a venomous spider. This comes alongside other Rider Hall residents reporting several sightings of spiders.
Maddy Clausen, freshman, said she was bitten by a venomous spider in her dorm room in September and still has been finding spiders in her room.
“My family had to pay thousands of dollars on hospital expenses after this one bite, and nothing has been done for me by the university,” Clausen said.
Clausen thinks the spider was a brown recluse.
According to a report on Iowa State University’s Horticulture News website, the brown recluse is a small spider with long spindly legs and a “violin-shaped marking” on its back. The website reports that the brown recluse spider is rare in Iowa and less than one specimen per year is submitted to Iowa Insect Diagnostic Clinic.
Mesa Engelhardt, freshman, athletic training major, has been living in Rider Hall since this past fall.
“This is the first [time] I found a spider in my room but the girl down the hall got bit by one and found one recently,” said Engelhardt. “I plan to file a report soon to get my room sprayed.” Engelhardt said she is worried about being bitten after the spider bite had scarred her neighbor’s arm.
Clausen told the Northern Iowan (NI) that she has found spiders on numerous occasions in her room since then and also filed reports but has not yet received a satisfactory resolution to her problem.
“I’ve submitted alive spiders to them for identification and got them back dead,” Clausen said. “They sent someone to spray my room and they literally sprayed two spots and were out in less than five minutes. My mom had to come and deep clean my room and brought her own spray.”
Clausen said the Department of Residence (DOR) hasn’t revisited her room since then.
Alison Howard, Clausen’s mother told the NI that she plans to move her daughter to an off-campus housing next year.
“I felt they (Department of Residence) were too busy worrying about themselves,” Howard said. “They were trying to cover themselves instead of caring for their students. I don’t feel changing halls is going to take care of the problem, they haven’t done anything about the problem. Why should my daughter be inconvenienced and move for them?”
The Resident Assistant (RA) and the Residence Life Coordinator (RLC) at Rider declined to comment on this issue and directed the NI to Director of Facilities at UNI, Dave Peerman.
According to Peerman, all of the UNI buildings are treated for pests on a quarterly basis.
“We will also respond to individual room issues when requested,” Peerman said. “When we identify a recurring issue, we increase total building service frequency until it is resolved. If a student wishes to move to a different room or a different facility while the matter is being resolved the DOR will accommodate this request.”
Peerman added that issues are immediately acted upon when reported on the (DOR) website.
“A student only needs to submit a ‘request for maintenance’ on the Department of Residence website if a student has a problem with pests in their room. This will get the facilities staff involved and we will work with the student to get the issue treated,” Peerman said.
Peerman went on to say that students who have concerns about damaged window screens allowing pests to enter rooms should also submit an electronic request for maintenance.
“We ask that students submit a request online knowing that some students are very sensitive to the use of pesticides in their room,” Peerman said.
Peerman said he received these requests to treat spiders at Rider Hall. He said three requests have been filed this year to treat rooms in Rider Hall for spiders.
“In each of these situations, a contracted pest control vendor responded,” Peerman said. “On two occasions a spider was provided to identify. One of the spiders could not be identified due to the condition it was in when received. The other was identified as a harmless type of spider no different from what is found in many homes across the Cedar Valley.”
“The Department of Residence strives to provide housing for students that is safe and secure, and has empathy for any individual who may have been bitten by a spider,” Peerman added. “Students who have imminent safety concerns relative to spiders should contact the Department of Residence during regular business hours or a Resident Assistant during evening, weekend and holiday hours.”