Bed bugs invade Honolulu International Airport, shutting gates
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Bed bugs invade Honolulu International Airport, shutting gates

May 02, 2023

Hawaii's largest airport, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, had some uninvited guests earlier this week that caused gate closures and deep cleaning: bed bugs.

On Monday, the Department of Transportation received reports of pests in the E Gates of Terminal 2, the agency told USA TODAY in a statement. DOT staff went in to clean the area and remove anything that might have attracted the bugs that day.

The next day, a Southwest Airlines manager gave DOT a sample of the bugs, which were confirmed as bed bugs. DOT staff returned for a deep cleaning, including carpet extraction and applying non-toxic pest control spray.

DOT has not stated where the bed bugs came from.

Three gates were shut down by the incident and remained closed through Wednesday night for additional cleaning by a pest control company.

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The agency said more cleaning measures will take place over the next three weeks, so travelers may encounter intermittent gate closures.

No flights were impacted from the incident.

Southwest Airlines's daily operations includes programmatic cleaning of its leased spaces and equipment, according to Southwest. The airline doesn't anticipate the additional cleaning to cause any future disruptions for its flights.

There have been previous incidents where airports have had bed bug infestations. In 2018, bed bugs were found in upholstered chairs in a sitting area at the Kansas City International Airport.

Bed bugs are hard to spot and can travel for long periods of time in the seams of luggage, bedding, and clothing.

Over 73,000 passengers arrive at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport each day, the agency said.

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at [email protected]

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