Classroom closes due to stinging pests

Nate Billings

For five days last week, Hearnes Hall Room 311 was closed due to an infestation of wasps.

The wasps were making their way into the room enough to close the room because of concerns for those allergic to the insects.

The physical plant was contacted to resolve the problem.

“We checked the flashing on the roof and took the lift up there,” said Bob Harrington, director of the physical plant.

However, the lift was not tall enough to check the flashing on the side of Hearnes, so All Seasons Signs was contacted to help find the nest.

The nest was located, and holes were repaired along side the building and flashings.

Also, the intake pipes on the top of the building were covered with a finer mesh.

“We seemed to have stopped the problem,” Harrington said.

The wasps caused a shifting of classes because of the lack of one room.

“It was difficult to shuffle things around,” said Charline Lewis, English and philosophy secretary.

Lewis said, however, the classroom shifting worked out because of the willingness of the instructors to move their classes if they needed to.

She said the phenomenon was unusual.

“I’ve been here 20 years, and this is the first time it’s happened,” Lewis said.

She said she appreciated the physical plant for its efforts in controlling the problem.

“They did the best they could,” Lewis said.

Wasps are not the only pests, which could occur on campus.

Skunks, bats, moles and groundhogs also make their homes on the grounds at Missouri Southern.

“We’ve trapped 12 skunks since November,” Harrington said.

When an animal becomes a problem on campus, Josh Jones, president of A All Animal Control.

Jones is a certified wildlife professional. He said his job involves knowing about the habits animals, which can cause problems.

“It does take a knowledge of the animal,” he said. “It takes more experience than anything.”

He said the problem with certain wild animals is they have learned to live among humans.

When the animals are trapped, Jones takes the animals at least 10 miles away from where they were trapped.

“There’s a 25 percent chance of survival,” he said. “But, 25 percent is still better than nothing.”

He does not put animals down unless he thinks they are sick or too weak to survive. He said this is to prevent sick animals from contaminating other environments.

Along with the occasional skunk problem there is also the occasional bat problem.

Bats have been found in the spaces between concrete slabs and under the overhangs in the Fred Hughes Stadium.

Bird netting and fillers have been placed around the higher areas to keep birds and bats from nesting in these places and to keep them from fans during games.

Bats are the most common carrier of rabies, but there have been no cases of rabies found on campus.

When Jones needs to trap an animal on campus, he takes the precaution of hiding the trap from people.

He said people sometimes like to play with the animals.

“Give wild animals the respect they deserve,” he said. “Don’t feed them. Once you start feeding them, and then you stop, they will expect you to keep feeding them.”