With students soon to make their way back to Hub campuses, the city is concerned with the rodents and bed bugs that it says crawl out of their clutter.

John Meaney, Boston’s director of Environmental Services said students who don’t dispose of trash properly, or fail to clean their apartments, attract rats and mice by the barrel full.

“We have the biggest turnover rate of students returning to college in the country,” he said, adding the influx of students causes a spike in trash and leftover foods, which brings out the dirty rodents.

One of the worst cases Meaney has seen came from a Fenway apartment where weeks-old stacks of pizza boxes brought an onslaught of rat residents he described as “an infestation.”

Another apartment in Boston that Meaney and his crew had to sterilize, where 12 students lived, was littered with mice feces.


“The animals were all over the place,” he said.

Meaney said the city takes apartment overcrowding and ignorance of trash rules very seriously, issuing hundreds of $50 citations and warnings to landlords and students each year.

But furry critters aren’t the only complication when class is in session — bed bugs living in abandoned curbside sofas are breeding grounds for the pests.

“They spread from college students bringing in secondhand furniture to fill a dorm or house,” said Missy Henriksen, VP of public affairs at the National Pest Management Association.

She said bed bugs are known for feeding on human flesh at night.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.

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