Cricket infestation bugs Devine residents
There are many things students can expect to see in their room when they return from class or a meal. Three hundred crickets probably isn't one of them.
On Jan. 29, an estimated 200 to 300 crickets, which were supposed to be food for a pet bearded dragon, found a way out of their box and spread out over the entire second floor and parts of the first floor of Devine Hall. The owner's friend, who lives in Devine and asked to remain anonymous, was watching the lizard when it happened.
According to the student, his friend stopped by his room with the bearded dragon and a box full of 1,100 to 1,200 crickets. Both the lizard and crickets were purchased at the New England Reptile Expo in Manchester. The expo sells crickets in wholesale quantities.
"I didn't think much of it until I asked how many crickets were in the box," the student said. "Did I mention that I really didn't like crickets, bordering on phobia? But he said it would be fine and nothing would happen."
Unfortunately, something did happen.
The crickets presumably pushed through a poorly-taped air vent while the student was away from his room.
"So then chaos ensued," he said.
Kellen Story, hall director of the Upper Quad, received complaints from residents about finding crickets in their rooms. When he went to investigate, he found a trail of white crickets leading to hundreds of insects on the second floor.
"They came out and they just went everywhere," Story said. "Walking up there, it was kind of surreal."
The student was out of his dorm when the crickets escaped, and he rushed back to Devine when he received a text message from his friend saying that Story (mistaken to be the police) was in his room.
The student's reaction was very similar to Story's.
"Getting back to the dorm was surreal. Most of the doors near my room had towels or shirts blocking them," he said. "Mine had a whole pile to itself."
The student voluntarily spent roughly six hours going around the floor catching and disposing of all the crickets he could find. According to Story, some students are still finding dead crickets lying around, but the situation was taken care of for the most part on the same day everything happened.
The student said that he has been hearing about "crickets in the upper quad" fairly often since the whole event happened. While no one has directly confronted him about it, he has heard that people were initially upset about the whole fiasco.
"I was told everyone was complaining about it on Facebook and the like," he said. "Nobody seems angry, but they aren't rushing out to ask what happened or why either."
The UNH Department of Housing has strict rules about keeping pets in the dorm room. According to its website, "Pets or animals of any kind, except non-dangerous fish, are prohibited in University Housing. One ten-gallon tank containing fish is allowed per room."
Since the crickets did not damage anything in Devine, the student is not being charged. But he did violate the university policy for pets, so he is responsible for creating a floor bulletin board on why having pets in the dorm rooms is bad idea for both the animals and the residents. The bulletin board will be up by the end of the month.
"I had no intention of letting this happen, and I ended up breaking a rule for a less than worthwhile reason," the student said. "But no, I really didn't do this on purpose."
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