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Bed bug advice along Camino Primitivo and Norte

hikingpal

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013, 2016, Aug. 2020), Del Norte (2018), Primitivo (2018), Nakahechi (Apr. 2020)
Hi, everyone! I am walking the Camino del Norte in March and meeting my husband early April in Oviedo to walk the Camino Primitivo to Santiago. We walked the Camino Frances in 2015 and got bed bugs in Sarria. We'd like to avoid them if at all possible this time.

I ordered a travel-sized bed bug killer spray called EcoRaider I plan to spray our backpacks with. Besides that, I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on preventing bed bugs, or if there are any specific accommodations along the Primitivo we should avoid?

Any info is appreciated. Thanks!
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
At night put your backpack and everything you can, into a large airtight bag (either plastic garbage bag or a roll top dry bag). Then (and this is important!) in the morning, put all of your night things that were exposed into another airtight bag inside your pack. If bites appear during the day, you will know that you must look for a dryer, but at least the decontamination will be simpler.

Keep up that isolation technique, and I think you will reduce the chances of carrying bedbugs, and if you encounter them, it will be easier to manage.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
C clearly’s advice is pretty good! She has a good system for limiting contamination. The problem is that bites may not appear for up to two weeks after you are bitten. Still protecting your pack and keeping your sleeping kit isolated would probably help.

The only for sure way to deal with bedbugs is heat or cold and heat works faster. Permethrin spray will work but it’s not a total cure and it’s not nice stuff. And don’t panic. Getting bedbugs on the Camino is unpleasant but not like getting them in your house. You are a self-contained unit. It’s possible to decontaminate everything you have in an afternoon. And as common as they are, they are not that common. I’ve never gotten bedbugs during my 3 Camino-type walks. I’ve worked as a hospitalero twice. The first time we had no bugs. The second time, we had to help lots of folks decontaminate.

Liz
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
The problem is that bites may not appear for up to two weeks after you are bitten.
Yes, that's true, but this method can help reduce the risk. Whenever bites show up, the heat treatment will be easier if the isolation technique has been maintained. I'm pretty sure my bites show up within 24 hours, now that I've been bitten a few times.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
I have never met bedbugs but the last years I have been treating most of my gear with permethrin before leaving home, bring a bedbugsheetbag, 2 sheets sewn together to a bag, and a treated silk linen as well. I treat my backpack before going as well. I do so on any other trip I do, so may be I am a freak on this matter. My fear is not getting a bit on the camino, I live in heavy mosquitoarea in the north of Norway, my fear is bringing them into my home when I come back.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
At night put your backpack and everything you can, into a large airtight bag (either plastic garbage bag or a roll top dry bag).
Excellent advice as usual @C clearly but I think the airtight aspect could be relaxed. Plastic bags could rip easily and the dry bag may be unneeded expense. I don't see how bed bugs can get through a tightly woven nylon cloth. I would use a large nylon bag in a bright safety color and closed tightly at the top. The draw strings could even be used in some cases to hang the bag. The reason for the color? -- I would also have reflective tape sewn onto the bag and then it can be draped over the pack for safety if walking in the dark.
 

BoH

Never more than 7-8 kg on the back!
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2011, -13, Norte -15 and again sept -18.
Hi, everyone! I am walking the Camino del Norte in March and meeting my husband early April in Oviedo to walk the Camino Primitivo to Santiago. We walked the Camino Frances in 2015 and got bed bugs in Sarria. We'd like to avoid them if at all possible this time.

I ordered a travel-sized bed bug killer spray called EcoRaider I plan to spray our backpacks with. Besides that, I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on preventing bed bugs, or if there are any specific accommodations along the Primitivo we should avoid?

Any info is appreciated. Thanks!
You could use silk linen, or just a few drops of Lavendel oil ....
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
You could use silk linen, or just a few drops of Lavendel oil ....
What would you do with them, that is known to be effective against bed bugs?

but I think the airtight aspect could be relaxed
I agree (and sometimes use a fabric bag to hold damp things at night). But the problem is that fabric seams and the closing structure/drawstring need to be carefully checked for all places a bug could enter and HIDE. Even adding the reflective tape creates nooks and crannies. It just gets harder to manage. That's why I simplify and have dedicated dry bags.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, that's true, but this method can help reduce the risk. Whenever bites show up, the heat treatment will be easier if the isolation technique has been maintained. I'm pretty sure my bites show up within 24 hours, now that I've been bitten a few times.
So I suppose we should sleep outside for a couple of weeks when we get home. Just joking, obviously, but it does give us one more little nagging worry that we may bring bedbugs into our homes and now know it till they are well-installed. But I suppose that's also true if you get bit on a plane or anywhere else, so the best thing is probably not to worry. Or do you have some tricks to help with that C_clearly?
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I have "read" that one can pick up bedbugs on a bus, train, plane, etc., or even our luggage can be compromised in the holding areas.:oops:
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I have "read" that one can pick up bedbugs on a bus, train, plane, etc., or even our luggage can be compromised in the holding areas.:oops:
Yes, I have no doubt they can be found many places. I simply try to minimize my risk in a place where they are quite common (i.e. the Camino) by using some easy safe techniques. I occasionally check hotel beds elsewhere. I am certainly NOT ready to stop taking buses or borrowing books from the library, because bedbugs have been found there upon occasion.
 

Anthony18

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
At night put your backpack and everything you can, into a large airtight bag (either plastic garbage bag or a roll top dry bag). Then (and this is important!) in the morning, put all of your night things that were exposed into another airtight bag inside your pack. If bites appear during the day, you will know that you must look for a dryer, but at least the decontamination will be simpler.

Keep up that isolation technique, and I think you will reduce the chances of carrying bedbugs, and if you encounter them, it will be easier to manage.
I'm going to take your advice. Thanks for sharing. :)
 
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Deleted member 73892

Guest
Holla! The dreaded BB's - found on trains, planes and automobiles, and in fossilised amber from prehistoric times - yes, they feasted on dinosaurs and have been around longer than us, like most things. I've always checked and checked and double checked - I still managed to miss one or two but get the little blighters once I get home. I don't lose sleep over it. Little tips that may help - and the advice so far is brill, although I detest chemicals - lavender oil I will try on my next Camino: I hang my sleeping bag as much as possible in direct sunlight as often as possible - they really don't like the heat and drop off the fabric. Its not a cure but can help. A good Camomile cream with antiseptic, I find, cleans the bites just great (helps blisters heal and other nasty bites, and used evey day they clear up quickly. My bites show pretty quickly; for other it can take two weeks. COLD; this will kill them - when home I clear a space in my deep freeze, put the gear in an air-tight bag and freeze the little buggers to death (-18 C). It can take two weeks.
Buen Camino, friends
Love, Light & Nature (even BB's) Keith
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Interesting. So much emphasis on decontaminating and protecting backpacks and contents. I've been bitten by bed bugs in two separate albergues on two different caminos on the VdlP, when it was very hot and I was not inside a sleep bag. No one else in the room was bitten. Not generally such a widespread problem as on the Frances but once is bad enough. I always choose the lower bunk because I'm chicken about falling out etc and it seems easier but the little bugs also like the cosy, stuffiness of the lower bunk and are often in just one bed... unless of course it's a long term widespread infestation. The bites come out (on me) during the following day, hours after leaving that albergue. However it is important to try and let the hospitalero or key person know about the infestation and the specific bed.

I don't do anything special to protect my gear and I often unpack onto the top bunk if its free,!! leaving the pack on the floor or a chair. I've always presumed the bugs are bed specific, possibly victim specific??, and NOT in my pack, and have never had evidence otherwise. I may be wrong...
Now I check out the mattresses in an albergue for signs of bed bugs and try to choose a clean one. I know this is not always possible. I don't use chemical treatments but I always have lavender . Perhaps I need to choose a top bunk in future.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Yes indeed @CaroleH you may be wrong, especially if you have not done anything to protect your gear.

I inspect my belongings very carefully and have also never seen any signs of a bedbug. I also use permethrin. Regardless of that, whenever I am bitten as a responsible pilgrim I decontaminate all my gear by putting it (dry) through a hot air dryer. I find an autoservicio with a machine big enough to handle my sleeping bag.

If I do not want my gear to become the means by which ze leetle bugs travel from albergue to albergue. The only way bedbugs get into an albergue is through someone's gear. They are not capable of spontaneous generation!

Lavender is nice smelling but quite useless at preventing gear from being a haven for bedbugs.
 

Judy Rubin

Valentina
Year of past OR future Camino
Summer of 2012 - Astorga -Finisterre
Summer of 2014 SJPP - Sarria
Summer of 2017 Primitivo-Muxia
I did not run into bedbugs on any of my caminos. I did the Primitivo last year, no problems for me or any other pilgrims I walked with or met. I would definitely make sure, though, that you DO stay at David's in Bodenaya....NOT to be missed! Buen camino!
 

Dennis Tam

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino France 2012, 2014. Camino Portugues 2014, Via Francigena, 2013. Camino Norte 2016
My method of preventing bring BB back to my home after Camino: Before I leave to my Camino trip, I put a set of clean clothings in my garden shed. After I come home from my Camino trip, I dont bring anything into my house. I go straight to the garden shed (it is a stand alone structure) and change into the fresh set of clothings that I left there. I put my Camino pack into a sealed garbage bag and leave it in the shed. The only thing that come back to the house is my house key, left over Euros and my passport. I usually take my Camino pack to a big laundry place, wash & dry items in high heat. I hope this helps.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
Oh dear, sorry Kanga, I didn't explain myself too well. Of course, when I was bitten, I decontaminated and made sure I was not carrying bed bugs. However,I don't wish to sleep in a pesticiide, chemically treated sleeping bag and clothes. I hope that's not irresponsible. I don't believe it's obligatory... If it is, then I will rethink...

My point in my previous comment, which I obviously didn't explain well enough, is that when a case of bed bug bites occurs, the first responsibility, I believe, is the reporting and the treatment/decontamination of the bed(s) so the BBs can be eliminated at source. From research.. bed bugs attracted by body heat, and hungry, come out of their hidey holes, fill up 10-20 mins, then withdraw to their 'safe place'. So, no matter how safe we keep our gear, the problem will remain unless the beds are decontaminated ...

Sorry 'mey1099', back to your original question re the Camino del Norte and the Primitivo. .
 

Anthony18

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
My method of preventing bring BB back to my home after Camino: Before I leave to my Camino trip, I put a set of clean clothings in my garden shed. After I come home from my Camino trip, I dont bring anything into my house. I go straight to the garden shed (it is a stand alone structure) and change into the fresh set of clothings that I left there. I put my Camino pack into a sealed garbage bag and leave it in the shed. The only thing that come back to the house is my house key, left over Euros and my passport. I usually take my Camino pack to a big laundry place, wash & dry items in high heat. I hope this helps.
Great idea! I’m doing this! Many thanks!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Norte, Jul 2021
I have never met bedbugs but the last years I have been treating most of my gear with permethrin before leaving home, bring a bedbugsheetbag, 2 sheets sewn together to a bag, and a treated silk linen as well. I treat my backpack before going as well. I do so on any other trip I do, so may be I am a freak on this matter. My fear is not getting a bit on the camino, I live in heavy mosquitoarea in the north of Norway, my fear is bringing them into my home when I come back.
What do you use the bedbugsheetbag for? Do you sleep in it?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@lisaflora this is an old thread, the post you quoted is from 2018. @ranthr may be dealing with bed bugs differently now.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015

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