Bedbugs invade Hawaii’s Honolulu airport, prompt gate closures

Bedbugs invade Hawaii's Honolulu airport, prompt gate closures


On May 29, the Hawaii Department of Transportation received reports of unidentified bugs in Terminal 2, a spokesperson told SFGATE in a statement. HDOT sent staff to clean the area and “remove items they thought had attracted the bugs.”

The next day, a Southwest Airlines manager spotted more of the bugs, collected a sample and contacted HDOT. The department identified them as bedbugs. HDOT staff deep-cleaned the area again, including a high-temperature cleaning of the carpets and application of a nontoxic spray, and closed gates E5, E6 and E7. It will continue to close them intermittently over the next three weeks to do additional cleaning that should keep the bugs from returning.

“Following best practices, we are closing the three affected gates tonight and a pest control company will apply preventative control measures,” HDOT told SFGATE.

Bedbugs are a pest known for leaving red welts all over the body, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Although the species is predominantly nocturnal, they can be out during the day — if they are hungry. These bugs commonly hide in mattresses and other materials with crevices, and people have found them in hotelsAirbnbs and even schools

“Experts believe the recent increase in bed bugs in the United States may be due to more travel, lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices,” the EPA’s website says.

HNL is a high-traffic airport that sees 73,000 passengers arriving daily from many locations around the world, the HDOT statement said.

To prevent bedbug bites when staying in hotel rooms, experts suggest checking mattresses, sheets, luggage racks and other surfaces made of fabric for the bugs before sitting on or sleeping in them. They also recommend keeping your luggage off the floor while traveling and placing clothes in the dryer at a high temperature immediately after returning home. 


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