Metal and plastic are on campus life’s must-have list this year, but not because it’s stylish.

Pacific’s on-going battle with bed bugs left a great deal of furniture out in the cold as Housing and Residence Life enacted a ban on wood and fabric furnishings. On Aug. 3, Director of Housing Lisa Geraci sent an email to warn students before returning to campus, but for many, that information didn’t come early enough.

Without a doubt, a number of storage units were rented last-minute. Friends living off-campus probably found themselves with more furniture than they thought they would have. Certainly several dumpsters got acquainted with a chair or two. Even the gazebo behind Bates House found itself the owner of a fuchsia sofa.

Information regarding policy enforcement has been scarce.

Sure, the pieces make home-away-from-home more homely, but they’re also a breeding ground for the little buggers. Only bring furniture if you want to surrender an arm and a leg to have it cleaned.

You might think something is fine because you just bought it. Wrong. A quick Google search found reports about several big-name manufacturers shutting their doors to exterminate the pests. If it deals with textiles, its warehouses have had infestations at some point. From IKEA to Victoria’s Secret, and that’s just considering something new. Used pieces from the Goodwill and garage sales are by no means clean, either.

The larger the object, the more difficult and expensive it is to clean. As of February, Pacific has spent $43,000 more than its allotted pest control budget exterminating and keeping rooms bug-free.

But there’s no need to make a mountain out of a molehill, either. I’ll leave fear-mongering to the year’s big, scary disease (Swine flu, anyone?). Know the risk is there. Keep an eye out for critters. If there’s an issue, don’t wait for it to breed.

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