Woman finds herself on bed bug's menu at restaurant

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

HONOLULU - An email came KHNL in Honolulu from a viewer named Christi. She didn't want to share her last name but she did share her story.

She said she was eating in a Waikiki restaurant on April 7 when she claims she became the main course.

Photographs she sent the television station show a battlefield of bites on Christi's abdomen, arms and back.

She said she was attacked by bed bugs at Lulu's Waikiki, an eatery on Kalakaua Avenue.

"You're panicking on the inside thinking, what is all over me? How did they get all over me? And how do I get them off?" she told KHNL by phone.

Christi said she was sitting in a booth when the bugs started biting.

"A friend and I went into the bathroom. And I had her try to pick them off of me, my shirt, off of my clothing, and off of my skin," she said.

Lulu's general manager said the critters have been an on-and-off problem that comes with the territory.

"Because it is a well traveled area, Waikiki, it's something that you really can't escape no matter how much you do pest control. No matter what methods you take," Nick Prioletti said.

State vector control inspectors went to Lulu's last week.

They couldn't find bed bugs and they are confident the restaurant is doing the right thing.

"It's not Lulu's fault. People bring it into them. It's not that something they're doing is causing the bed bug infestation," Peter Oshiro, the Department of Health's Environmental Health Program Manager, said.

Oshiro said Lulu's isn't the first restaurant to have bed bug sightings and it won't be the last.

Still, Lulu's is taking Christi's complaint seriously. And it wants to reassure its patrons the eatery is sprayed for insects two to three times a month.

"We're doing our best with it. We always have," Prioletti said. "We have a clean restaurant. We've never gotten violated on any level for any sort of health inspection."

Christi said she has nothing against Lulu's but the experience has made her wary.

"It makes you almost more worried now wherever you go, thinking this chair that I sit on, this cab that I ride in. You're almost over-sensitized," she said.

In her case, it's for good reason.