Wheaton Wire, May 1993

Spring has brought pests to Wheaton. Black flies are swarming the campus by day and raccoons raid garbage cans during the night.

The raccoon problem on campus has apparently been evident for some time. Grounds and Facilities Operations Supervisor Donald Yelle said, "they were even worse last year." He advised students to "just be careful with their garbage." The most common areas for raccoon activities seems to be the area in front of Meadows East and West dorms, as well as in front of Young. Several students have seen raccoons dining on Meadows trash and climbing trees in the area.

Leslie Badham '94 and David McKinley '93 recalled their encounter with a raccoon in the Meadows area. "It was this big," said McKinley, spreading his arms wide to indicate a rather large raccoon. "Yup," agreed Badham, "we were just taking a nice romantic walk, and there it was... pretty large; just staring at us in the dark."

The black flies appeared a few days before spring weekend and have not yet left. Wheaton sports spectators constantly battle the pesky insects, and picnic dinners are invaded by flies finding their way into food and unsuspecting mouths.

Upperclassmen recall similar bug attacks and subsequent campus-wide spraying. Barbara Esty '94 said "my freshman year they just basically bombed the place in the fall... I think it was just for mosquitoes, but it got rid of the flies, too."

Yelle confirmed this, but said that the spraying was intended only for mosquitoes, and not the flies. "Basically, " said Yelle "we've just got to deal with them for 3-4 weeks and then they're gone." He agreed that the flies are "annoying as hell," but would not consider spraying as an option.

"Everyone is pretty environmentally conscious, and spraying could disrupt things. We won't do it." He advised members of the Wheaton community to "buy some repellent... I just got some for my crew."

Yelle did mention, however, that spraying for mosquitoes occurs on a yearly basis, usually during commencement. A spokesperson for the Bristol County Mosquito Control said that they would be spraying for commencement this year, but said of the black flies: "you can't get rid of them easily."

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