Cockroaches and bed bugs used to be uncommon in Sweden. But these days they are on the rise, also in Lund and in student accommodations.
In Sweden, bed bugs and cockroaches were extinguished until roughly a decade ago. With increasing rate of traveling and global commerce, Sweden is starting to see a rise in bed bugs and cockroaches. The pest extermination company Anticimex’s spokesperson in Lund, Emil Öberg, says: “I started about 12 years ago. Back then, as a technician who goes door to door, I had around two or three cases of bed bugs per year. These days we can have three to ten cases each day in Lund. That includes normal residences and student accommodations.”
According to Emil Öberg, bed bugs are more common in student housing areas, especially corridors, for logical reasons. Students live in rooms right next to each other, borrow things from each other, change apartments often and travel more. Emil Öberg says: “For example, if a student who has bed bugs in the bed leaves a book by the bed, if their friend then borrows the book, the friend will have bed bugs too.”
The rise of cockroaches goes along with similar lines of reasons. There is always a chance that your online purchase package will come with unwanted content. Emil Öberg says: “And if a student is unlucky, there is a chance that a cockroach could be in the package.”
One of the international students whom have had problems with pests is Stacy, who wants to be anonymous. She was living in Spoletorp South, a part of the LU Accommodation (LUACC) for international students. Between January and March 2018, she first saw cockroaches in the bathrooms. “It was becoming a big topic in my corridor, people reported seeing cockroaches in their rooms and in the kitchen.”
After discovering cockroaches, Stacy and her flatmates stopped leaving food outside the fridge. They tried to email LUACC for help. “They ended up just putting trap stickers in our kitchen area. After that we still saw cockroaches. We kept talking about reporting to LUACC again, but in the end the problem sort of went away on its own” says Stacy.
Nikolas Theofanous, Head of LUACC, comments in an e-mail to Lundagård that if they receive reports from tenants who suspect that there are bed bugs or cockroaches in their home, LUACC will make sure that a caretaker goes and inspect the same day. If the caretaker decides that there are indeed pest issues, they will contact an extermination company. Nikolas Theofanous further explains that the amount of bed bugs cases at LUACC is low. Therefore they have not kept any statistics about pest reports for the past years.
Emil Öberg stressed that students shouldn’t be afraid of cockroaches. “Students either get unlucky and get cockroaches, or get lucky and don’t get them”. He adds: “We are here to help you with it. If you see one, call for assistance immediately.” The house owner’s insurance pays for the pest cleaning, therefore students won’t have to worry about paying.
To prevent bed bugs, students are recommended to keep travel bags away from the bed. Bed bugs come out to feed on you, and once they are done feeding, they go and hide in the bed. So to prevent them from going into your bags, the best way is to keep the bag away from the bed.
As for the situation in Spoletrop South, Stacy said: “I moved out of Spoletorp South in June 2018, so I’m not sure what the condition is over there anymore. But it was quite a special experience to see cockroaches in Sweden.”