by Marina Gendi
Their carcasses litter the school hallways, numbering the many fallen. Black and red, they surround us; especially if you have the honour of being in an older part of Concordia University of Edmonton. They fly around, haunting us with their spasming bodies. You might be wondering what they are: Box Elder Bugs! To me, however, they are just flying cockroaches, and Concordia is infested with them. Even worse, they linger in the cafeteria. This morning, one looked like it wanted to take a morning swim in the Beef Barley Vegetable Soup. The norm around here is to just flick them away. It really makes me wonder how sanitary it would be to eat the Box Elder Vegetable soup. How harmful are these bugs, anyway? I’ll tell you the harm! They are traumatizing. One always feels attacked by these creepy crawlies. They could be on your neck crawling or just behind your ear, hiding within your hair. They are a distraction to the learning environment. One just does not feel safe knowing that three flying cockroaches are camped right beside you on the window of your French class. They lurk beneath your locker and leave stains on all the furniture. Who needs Halloween when your school is something out of a year-round nightmare? Imagine this: it is 7:30 PM on a regular school night. Not a person can be seen on your walk to your locker, when suddenly, a scene from a horror movie occurs. They start to swarm the walls and the lights. Their bodies seem to spasm when they fly. Suddenly, that two-minute walk is never going to end and you have to avoid stepping on them. The lights flicker, the panic increases, and the anxiety flourishes. Post-secondary school life is not at all what it was promised to be. These creatures love trees and usually show up because they have found a tree in which to make their home. If we’re being real, they don’t actually cause significant damage: “[t]he feeding action of the boxelder bug on the leaves causes speckling and distortion of leaf growth.” It is safe to say that these creepy crawlies are nothing more than just “a household nuisance.” This issue is not as uncommon as you might think. There have been sightings of these pesky bugs all over Canada, but they love the Prairies the most. An employee at a pest control company says “throughout [his] long career, [he’s] never seen this many boxelder bugs.” An epidemic has occurred. Why has this infestation been allowed to grow at Concordia University? I’m as baffled as you, but now you know what they are, and it is up to you to ignite the fires of change.