Remember the old adage, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite?”
For one UT student, it was more than a children’s rhyme-it was reality.
Just ask University of Tampa senior, Gina-Maria Roca.
“The chumps began biting in early December,” she said. “They must have been quite hungry because I experienced two to three new bites per day.”
“Chumps” refers to a popular Facebook game in which members can bite their friends.
The strange spots that appeared on Roca’s legs and stomach were unlike anything she’d seen or experienced.
“The bites appear to be reddish pink in nature,” she said. “Occasionally the bite will have pus in it, and from time to time are painful.”
Roca’s roommates were affected by the issue as well.
“We were both very concerned for her,” Alexandra Margraf said. “We couldn’t figure out why she was getting bit and we weren’t. No matter what she did, the bites wouldn’t stop.”
Roca’s other roommate, Alex Lay, agreed.
“I was scared that I would be attacked by the bugs,” said Lay. “Most of all, I was frustrated for her. She couldn’t find relief.”
In an attempt to fix the problem, Roca contacted Chang Ashby, Head of Facilities Management.
“My involvement is for problems such as bedbugs and large infestations or concerns,” said Ashby.
“Cheng Ashby from facilities was shocked and dismayed,” said Roca. “He asked for a description of the bites and gave me specific instructions on how to care for my room and belongings. I received a new mattress promptly and traps were set throughout my room and it was sprayed several times.”
Contrary to what most may think, UT has a very limited amount of pest control issues, Ashby said.
“The average is about four times a year,” said Ashby.
The Facilities staff does all they can to make sure the campus remains a clean and safe environment for all students and faculty, he said.
“We have a contractor handling all pest problems,” said Ashby. “They come in twice a week and do all work orders that were submitted. They are on stand by if there is any major pest problem we need corrected in an emergency. They treat every room before fall session starts. All buildings are treated around the perimeter twice a year.”
If, after on-site exterminators do their job, a pest problem still arises, students are advised to contact Facilities immediately.
“Call facilities at or contact your RA to put in a work order,” Ashby said. “Be specific with what type of insect problem you experience. Each are treated differently. If a problem still exists after treatment please call back.”
Although campus staff is dedicated to making sure everything possible is done to ensure students’ good health and safety, Ashby said it’s important for all dorm residents to be proactive and keep all living areas as clean as possible
“Please empty all food trash and old cardboard in rooms,” he says. “It helps in keeping pest problems to a minimum.”
As for Roca, after taking all the advised steps, she is no longer experiencing insect problems in her Straz Hall dorm room.
“I have been chump-free for a month and a half. Chang and Caesar the exterminator have helped me win the war against the chumps. The battle was a great success!”