Rivian tries to squash bedbug drawback at Illinois plant

Rivian tries to squash bedbug problem at Illinois plant

Rivian is dealing with an outbreak at its Illinois assembly plant — not of COVID-19, but of bed bugs.

The electric vehicle maker has called in a pest control company and quarantined forklifts in a remote area of ​​the plant where bed bugs were seen.

“These affected teams have been notified,” said Zach Dietmeier, Rivian’s senior manager of plant communication and policy, in an email to The Pantagraph of Bloomington, Illinois. “We investigate each report and take appropriate action in accordance with our pest control company.”

The county health department said it doesn’t investigate bed bug sightings but instead refers such complaints to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which told the newspaper it was aware of the issue. Bedbugs are wingless, blood-sucking insects that cause itchy bites and can be difficult to eradicate.

The Pantagrapher said he has been contacted by several people working for Rivian at the former Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal who are concerned about the bed bug sightings. They said the seat of several forklifts was covered in plastic and had a sign reading “Bugs, Do Not Use.”

“No one really wants to bring bed bugs home,” a worker who asked to remain anonymous told the newspaper. “I don’t know what would happen if someone actually brought bed bugs home with them… I doubt Rivian would pay to fumigate personal property.”

Another worker said bugs on forklifts had been reported months earlier.