Finding a student home in Sweden, particularly Stockholm, is a challenge at the best of times. Some studious foreigners and Swedes alike are forced to wait years in line for even the tiniest of apartments in the capital.
As a result, many turn to life in “student corridors” – a private bedroom and usually a bathroom along a corridor with shared cooking, dining, and living room facilities.
Often, students pile into the rooms with several living in each tiny corridor space. The living arrangement and constant changes spark ideal conditions for lice.
“When students move around to each other’s houses and are forced to couch surf, the lice spread easily, and we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg,” explained Chris Österlund to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. Österberg works for the Stiftelsen Stockholms Studentbostäder – SSSB, the student housing foundation that owns many of the student apartments in the Stockholm area.
The bugs are also spread through second-hand furniture, with many students snapping up a couch or mattress they find in the garbage rooms – a breeding hot spot for all kinds of insects.
“There is a lack of thousands of student homes in Stockholm and we can see the consumption of water and electricity means that students are cramming in at colossal levels,” Österlund added.
The SSSB spent 2.5 million kronor ($380,000) on decontamination fees last year alone, and has one full-time employee who deals solely with lice extermination.