June 5, 2023 | 2:09 p.m.
The bed bugs were cleared to land in Hawaii last week.
SFGate reported that Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport had to close and disinfect three gates after a swarm of bedbugs was detected inside Terminal 2, where airlines including Delta, United, American and Southwest serve.
Shortly after the initial report on May 29, the Hawaii Department of Transportation directed staff to “remove items they believe may have attracted the insects.”
A Southwest Airlines manager spotted more bugs, and even caught one, the next day, prompting another terminal cleanup.
This time, doors E5 through E7 were closed, carpets were cleaned at high temperatures, and a non-toxic spray was used to put bed bugs to sleep.
Sections of carpet were also torn from the floor, WITN reported.
HDOT will continue to close the gates, they are currently reopened, from time to time over the next few weeks to check for possible infestations, according to the outlet.
“Bed bugs are spread from one place to another when people travel,” according to the Hawaii Division of Disease Outbreak Control.
“They can be in the seams and folds of luggage, travel bags, folded clothing, bedding, furniture, or anywhere else they find a place to hide.”
The Environmental Protection Agency is also warning that a post-COVID-19 surge in travel may be causing more frequent waves of bed bugs across the country, such as the Oahu airport that sees 73,000 passengers a day, SFGate reported.
“Experts believe that 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,” according to the EPA.