Cooperative Extension video gains unexpected attention

A video posted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office in 2010 has recently gained widespread attention after being picked up by the blog Lifehacker.

The video, an installment of their series “Experts on Demand,” is a presentation by Cooperative Extension’s Pest Management Specialist Jim Dill on how to check for bedbugs in hotel rooms.

The video had roughly 100,000 views over the past five years but has since been viewed over 2 million times after being shared by first Lifehacker, then Yahoo Travel and Fox News.

Dill, the star of the video, works for cooperative extension as their resident expert on pest management. Dill works with everything from insect infestation to plant diseases, and has starred in other videos for the Expert on Demand Series including “How to get rid of Japanese Beetles” among others.

Working in cooperative extension Dill has dealt with everything from spiders to ticks and he has helped with bedbug issues off campus in the Orono area. According to Dill, the university has luckily avoided any large scale insect infestations.

However, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of one. Dill mentioned that the rise of the Zika virus in South America and the constant threat of Lyme Disease in New England it is a good idea to be conscious of insect related pest issues.

“Bed bugs became an issue about four or five years ago, but they’re still a problem,” Dill said.

Since the bedbug video became popular Dill has been approached by people from England to California seeking his input on bedbug problems.

“Over 2 million people have now seen me and know what I sound like,” Dill said. “I’ve done outreach and presentations before but it’s mind boggling in a way.”

Since the video has gained popularity the UMaine YouTube has doubled in subscribers, gaining over 7,000. While Dill is happy for the attention the video has brought to UMaine and the work of Cooperative Extension office, he acknowledges how strange it is to be viewed by so many people.

“Maybe my sweet New England accent had a part in it,” he joked.

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