A gnat infestation at the University Center is causing widespread complaints among students. The bug problem has persisted for over a week, causing several students to avoid the University Center altogether.
“The UC used to be a place you could study and hang out, but now it’s just really hard to spend more than five minutes in here,” said Keridah Bouadou ‘25. “You can’t really do work in here, just grab your food and go, so it kind of takes away the option of a study spot here on campus.”
Raven West, an employee at Panda Express in the University Center food court, said the gnats have been a significant problem while preparing food.
“They keep going in the food or going in our faces, and when we are trying to make the food they’re everywhere,” West said.
According to Michael Junod, director of the University Center, the gnats are coming from the dirt beneath the new trees that were replaced this year.
“We haven't had the issue previously in the other, you know, 20 years we've been in operation, it's a new thing for us,” Junod said. “They're really not in the trees, they’re in the dirt that supports their life cycle.”
Junod said the university is working to contain the gnat problem. Yellow sticky traps were placed in the bottom of each tree that are changed regularly, and several hundred more were ordered this week. A contractor sprayed the building on Sept. 20, and again last Sunday night.
“I work over eight hours a day here, and they’re not pleasant for anyone,” Junod said. “We’re trying to get the job done for everyone so that their experience here is a positive one.”
Junod said there has already been a marked improvement in the number of gnats found on the traps. A contractor is scheduled to spray again later this week.
Eliza Moore ‘24 is an English and Journalism student at Mercer University. She is now in her second year working as The Cluster’s News Editor after a semester abroad. She is currently producing work for Macon Magazine and Georgia Public Broadcasting in addition to her work with The Cluster. She loves breakfasts, the ocean, and all things related to writing.