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An ant problem in Houston Hall's Houston Market has recently been brought to the attention of Dining officials. [Liz Guise/The Daily Pennsylvanian

Crawling along window sills and floors, single file lines of ants are making rounds through Houston Market.

While Dining officials became aware of the ant infestation last week and are now working to eradicate the problem, some students noticed the critters several weeks earlier.

"That's really disgusting, and I think we pay enough money to have hygienic facilities," said School of Social Work graduate student Rhonda Elhosseiny, noting that she first spotted ants in the dining area two weeks ago.

Dining officials note that although they have received no student complaints, exterminators are currently tackling the problem.

"We were unaware anyone even knew," Dining Services Marketing Manager Maeve Duska said. "We were taking care of it ourselves."

The ants first came to the attention of Dining officials during a routine inspection performed last week.

Employees of Eco Lab -- an inspection company hired by Penn's food services provider Aramark to monitor all non-residential dining facilities -- will spearhead the eradication efforts, according to Duska.

Adding that Eco Lab is also employed to do preventative work, Duska said that dining officials "are not quite sure why [the ants] came."

Although ants are evident in the seating portion of Houston Market, the behind-the-scenes areas are more problematic, according to Duska.

"It's primarily coming from the dish room," Duska said, noting that the room is now being routinely disinfected with bleach.

"They caught it pretty quickly," Duska said. "The problem should hopefully be eradicated soon."

Despite the concerns of Dining officials, most students said the ants would not discourage them from eating at Houston Market.

"I try to sit in a different place now than where I first saw them," Elhosseiny said.

Many other students said they had not even noticed the ants and were not disturbed by the problem.

"I haven't seen any ants here," College freshman Pete Pantelis said, adding that the presence of ants would not concern him.

College and Engineering freshman Cara Liberatore echoed this sentiment, saying ants were "not at all" a problem.

"I don't think it's a big deal," she said.

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