Whirlpool deals with bed bugs at Greenville plant

GREENVILLE – Whirlpool’s Greenville KitchenAid plant recently reported to its employees that bed bugs were found in its health center on June 9. Employees were informed on June 12.

When asked about the incident Whirlpool released a short statement, “Whirlpool Corporation addressed an isolated bed bug incident in its Greenville, Ohio health center earlier this week. Employees were notified and exterminators treated the affected area, and no other incidents have been reported within the company.”

Employees received a little more information in the Associate’s Press newsletter asking anyone that has a locker on the inside of the wall in the plant near the machine shop, which is opposite the health center, to remove their belongings from the locker. Whirlpool plans to treat the lockers in an effort to rid the plant of the bugs.

One associate expressed his concern with the bed bugs that were found, but was even more disappointed to learn the company knew about the problem at least three days before telling the employees. He said he and a few other associates would not have come to work if they would have known about the threat. They wouldn’t want to risk carrying the bugs to their home.

According to the Darke County Health Department it is not common for bed bugs to be found in the workplace, but it isn’t unlikely. “They are great little hitchhikers,” said Roberta Mangen, environmental director for the health department. She pointed out they are not going to multiply very well in a business type environment and the chances of seeing a massive outbreak is limited. The bugs need blood and carbon dioxide to live, but they can survive for a year without a blood meal.

Mangen said the presence of bed bugs isn’t the result of someone being unclean because the bugs can come from a variety of places, including furniture in hotels and the bugs can be passed from clothing or furniture. While cleanliness isn’t the cause of bed bugs, clutter can help the creatures stay around longer. Bed bugs will use clutter as a place to hide and breed.

The Darke County Health Department receives sporadic complaints on bed bugs from county residents, but most come from landlord and tenant relationships. Mangen believes some people have decided to live with the problem rather than get rid of them because the cost of treatment is expensive.

She also noted there are things people can do get rid of and prevent bed bug infestations – get rid of the clutter, make your bed an island and keep it away from walls, and regularly wash and dry your blankets and sheets. She also recommended calling an exterminator. In the statement to associates, Whirlpool pointed out there are ways to get rid of bed bugs without calling an exterminator, including Diatomaceous Earth, but it is not guaranteed. The product is 100% chemical free and all natural.

Whirlpool also issued a statement to associates that stated, “If you have bed bugs at home and need time off of work to take care of this, please see your Human Resources Generalist.”

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