Beware of bed bugs at Honolulu airport


June 2, 2023

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People can pick up bed bugs just about anywhere, especially when they travel.

So, it should come as no surprise that Cimex lectularius were found at Hawaii’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, formerly known as Honolulu International Airport.

On May 29, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) were notified bed bugs were spotted in Terminal 2 of the airport, according to a USA Today report published on June 1. DOT staff went to the area that day where the bed bugs were found, and cleaned and removed “anything that might have attracted the bed bugs,” the USA Today report added.

The following day, May 30, a Southwest Airlines manager collected a sample of the bed bugs, and gave it to the DOT. A Hawaii News Now news report said DOT staff returned to the terminal and “began deep cleaning, pulling carpet and spraying pest control.”

Gates E5, E6 and E7 were temporarily closed, although the bed bug outbreak did not affect any flights, the USA Today report said. The DOT plans to take additional steps to thoroughly clean the area, according to the USA Today report, which may result in temporary gate closures.

If you’re a pest management professional — no matter where you live — do your customers a favor and explain how they can avoid bringing home bed bug souvenirs when traveling. Many pest control companies offer leave behinds that explain how customers should inspect their hotel rooms, mattresses and luggage. Now that travel season is ramping up, be sure to stress that their hotel room is not the only place they may encounter bed bugs.

It’s likely the bed bugs will be gone from the airport by the time the National Pest Management Association’s PestWorld 2023 takes place in Honolulu on Oct. 17. If not, there will be plenty of pest control pros on the island to offer their expert advice on bed bug management.

About the Author

Headshot: Diane Sofranec

Diane Sofranec is the senior editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at or 216-706-3793.

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