Thursday, December 1, 2011

Silverfish creep, crawl through Harstad Hall

By Dianne McGinness, A&E Reporter

Harstad Hall houses more than just Pacific Lutheran students. Small insects called silverfish have also made the building their home.

Measuring about a half-inch in diameter, silverfish are named for their covering of tiny silver scales, according to the sixth edition of the Columbia Encyclopedia. They also have three tail bristles and two long antennae.

Senior Katie Wehmann has lived in the same room in Harstad Hall for three years and said each year she has seen silverfish around the building and in her own room.

“I was cool with it until this year when I found one in my bed,” Wehmann said. “The fifth floor was recently remodeled so I thought the problem had been taken care of, but I have killed seven already.”

Though silverfish are harmless to humans, they like to eat the bindings of books, wallpaper and sometimes clothing. Silverfish prefer mild-temperatures and dark environments.

Senior Stephanie Hatch said when she lived in Harstad she would occasionally see silverfish in the shower and sometimes in her room.

“They were pretty noticeable because the tiling used to be a funky brown color, so a silver thing was pretty noticeable,” Hatch said. “Normally they hide under your stuff. I play the violin and I usually keep my instrument on the ground so sometimes I would find a few there.”

Harstad residents were told not to crush the insects because doing so attracts more to the area. When dealing with silverfish, PLU Facilities Management workers typically use an environmentally-friendly insect repellent.

“I constantly have to vacuum and I take my trash out all the time,” Wehmann said. “My water bottle even has a seal on it.”

Director of Facilities Management David Koehler said that there is protocol for dealing with insects on campus, including silverfish.

“We accept anyone’s call. We don’t decide not to do anything,” Koehler said. “We are going to look at the area. We have to find out what the cause is, food, moisture, etc. We always do something.”