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bed bug information

dogstar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#1
Hi, I have been reading some information recently about pretreating clothing, boots, bags etc with something called permethrin as a preventative move against bed bugs. I would appreciate any advice on this as we begin our preparations for our camino. If this pretreatment is recommended, where in Australia would I be able to purchase this product?
Thanks.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#4
Australia may be similar to NZ, I could not find anyone selling it in a store, but was able to order it online easily. It comes in a big spray bottle. I bought several bottles as I planned two Caminos and there was 2 of us on one, and three on the next.
I chose to spray the outside of my items, not immerse them so it went a little further, although I thoroughly doused all the packs.
 

dogstar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#5
Thank you. I will look online for a product. Do you recall the name of the product?
 

MeandIan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
#11
In Australia its called Debugger and you can get it in stores like Paddy Pallin. I am one day away from Santiago and started in SJPDP. Depending on when you leave you may not need it.
I saw it and asked about it at Paddy Palin 2 weeks ago and although they said it could be used on clothing, they strongly advised against using it for our sleeping bags and/liners. It left me a bit confused
 

Aysen Mustafa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I plan on walking the Camino April 2018.
#12
I decided against buying it because of the chemicals. I haven't spoken to people on the way you used permithren. I have bought along a small bottle of tea tree oil in case I got bitten, and decided I would go to a local pharmacy for anti-histamine.
 

Terri B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
1998 St Cuthberts Way
1999 West Highland Way
2016 Camino Frances SJPDP to Santiago
#13
Anaconda stock it. Very easy to use, just mix with water dip the items and dry.
I used it before my Camino in 2016 as I am allergic to bed bugs. I treated my silk sleep sheet, pillowcase, sleeping bag and backpack. I had no bites at all but encountered people who had been bitten badly.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#15
Just a reminder that official advice from the US EPA cautions that permethrin treated articles be washed separately. This is because permethrin is only approved for outer clothing and separate washing avoids transfer to underwear or similar. I would be extremely hesitant about applying it to pillowcases and liners which receive a lot of skin contact.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#17
Just a word of advice do not use this any where near domestic cats! It is fatal if they’re exposed to this chemical.
Permethrin, once it dries, is perfectly safe around cats. You would not, of course, spray your cat with it, but neither would you spray yourself.
 

Terri B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
1998 St Cuthberts Way
1999 West Highland Way
2016 Camino Frances SJPDP to Santiago
#18
Just a reminder that official advice from the US EPA cautions that permethrin treated articles be washed separately. This is because permethrin is only approved for outer clothing and separate washing avoids transfer to underwear or similar. I would be extremely hesitant about applying it to pillowcases and liners which receive a lot of skin contact.
Hi Mikey, once dried it is safe against the skin. I used it previously to treat clothing when trekking in jungle where mozzies and malaria was the problem.
 

Aroha

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning the Camino Portugues in 2018
#19
I worked for an overland company for years and we used to treat all our mosquito nets with permethrin back in the late 80's. Now you can buy them pre-treated here in the UK. One thing - it's not a permanent once only fix. If the article you've doused in permethrin gets really wet or needs to be washed, you should re-treat.
 

YoCo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future: Aug 2018 Frances
#20
Hi, I have been reading some information recently about pretreating clothing, boots, bags etc with something called permethrin as a preventative move against bed bugs. I would appreciate any advice on this as we begin our preparations for our camino.


Here is a good podcast about bed bugs from Dr. Michael Potter, an entomologist with "great expertise in the realm of bed bugs". This is Dave Whitson's podcast. A great place to learn many things Camino.

Listen to Episode24 - Round Trip (and Bed Bugs!) by The Camino Podcast #np on #SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-939742370%2Fepisode24-round-trip-and-bed-bugs
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#25
Hi, I have been reading some information recently about pretreating clothing, boots, bags etc with something called permethrin as a preventative move against bed bugs. I would appreciate any advice on this as we begin our preparations for our camino. If this pretreatment is recommended, where in Australia would I be able to purchase this product?
Thanks.
G'day Dogstar, if you live in Sydney or Melbourne just head in to the city (Syd - Kent St / Melbourne - Elizabeth near Burke St / otherwise do a google search for one of the Aussie on line stores) and one on the outdoors shops will have what you need. I have used it couple of times - spraying backpack / sleeping bag / liner very thoroughly about a week of 10 days before departure. Let it all air dry away from direct sunlight. BUT (and this is a big but) do your diligence and check the beds and blankets and other areas before you put any of your gear down. Buen Camino!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#26
I saw it and asked about it at Paddy Palin 2 weeks ago and although they said it could be used on clothing, they strongly advised against using it for our sleeping bags and/liners. It left me a bit confused
No I have used it on two caminos - they were probably doing what the store management told them to say. Just give the sleeping bag and liner a good week/10 days to air before you go. (see post above). Cheers
 

Oravasaari

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Fistera (2015), Leon to Fistera (2016), CF, Salvadore, Primitivo (2017), CF run/walk 2018
#27
Don't overdo it. It smells pretty bad. I usually treat the inside and outside of my pack to deter stowaways coming home with me. Treat the edges/zip area if my sleeping bag too, but nothing inside or around the hood area/skin contact areas. I pay attention to any water drain holes at the base of my pack and any nooks and crannies around strap attachment points etc. Never had a bite in 3 caminos so far (famous last words...)
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#28
Treat the edges/zip area if my sleeping bag too, but nothing inside or around the hood area/skin contact areas.
Permethrin is not a repellent. Its repellent properties have been shown to be minimal in tests. It is an insecticide. It probably won't pick up a lethal dose crossing a zipper. Its primary effectiveness is killing bugs if they are in your equipment. Exposed skin is not protected. Use DEET if you want something proven to be effective.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2005 2007 Frances
2016 Leon to Santiago
#29
Permethrin treated outer gear (packs etc) should, IMO, be a requirement for Camino walkers. It is very effective in preventing the beasties from hitchhiking down the trail!! I have watched them crawl (though slowly) over a treated bedsheet, but checked all my gear the following sunny morning and had no hitchhikers. I view it more as necessary 'harm reduction' than as a full solution. I still check bedding for blood signs and move on if I find any. If I were more sensitive (I have been bitten twice in hotels in France), I would use the more effective DEET on my exposed skin.
 

Oravasaari

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Fistera (2015), Leon to Fistera (2016), CF, Salvadore, Primitivo (2017), CF run/walk 2018
#30
Permethrin is not a repellent. Its repellent properties have been shown to be minimal in tests. It is an insecticide. It probably won't pick up a lethal dose crossing a zipper. Its primary effectiveness is killing bugs if they are in your equipment. Exposed skin is not protected. Use DEET if you want something proven to be effective.
Sure. My bag gets the full treatment though so any stowaways will get zapped. Not too bothered about insect bites ( I live in Finland the mosquito paradise) just don't want any hitching a ride home with me. I also put everthing in the freezer for on my return.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2014 Camino Frances
#31
We did Camino in 2014, we definitely treated our pants, socks, boots, sleeping gear, bed liner, pillow case, backpacks and jackets with Permethrin! It’s a great product we use it a lot for other hikes (Appalachian Trail, etc) you can purchase direct from Sawyer.com, REI.com or any outdoor retailers. By the way the only bed bugs we encountered was. 4 Star Hotel in Madrid! Go figure! Enjoy your Trip! Buen Camino!
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#32
Same for me, the only time I didn't use my sleeping bag; in an expensive apartment in Finisterre I was bitten.
I make sure I do my backpack thoroughly, I do not want to bring them home with me! I also keep my stuff inside in closed ziplock bags, so hopefully that would help prevent them getting into stuff. Assuming they dont eat plastic.
 

dogstar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#33
G'day Dogstar, if you live in Sydney or Melbourne just head in to the city (Syd - Kent St / Melbourne - Elizabeth near Burke St / otherwise do a google search for one of the Aussie on line stores) and one on the outdoors shops will have what you need. I have used it couple of times - spraying backpack / sleeping bag / liner very thoroughly about a week of 10 days before departure. Let it all air dry away from direct sunlight. BUT (and this is a big but) do your diligence and check the beds and blankets and other areas before you put any of your gear down. Buen Camino!!
Thanks for the information about bed bug spray. We are intending to walk from SJPP to Pamplona then cycling from there to Ponferrada. Then walking to Santiago. I would appreciate and hints etc for cycling.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#34
Thanks for the information about bed bug spray. We are intending to walk from SJPP to Pamplona then cycling from there to Ponferrada. Then walking to Santiago. I would appreciate and hints etc for cycling.
Well if you look in the section on Cycling the Camino you will see that I did much as you are planning. Cycled from Pamplona all the way to Santiago. You will need to go back in late 2015 or early 2016.
Depending upon the bike you choose & your off-road experiences there will be sections where its better to follow the road rather than the walkers trail. In addition to your Brierley Camino Guide - there is one produced by Michelin which whilst more basic has better road (minor & major road) info. You might also search the Confraternity of St James (CSJ - UK) they produced a good paperback publication back in 2010 (I have the revised edition of 2013) its written by John Curtin - it has route info and also info about cycle shops enroute if you need repairs etc. If after you have read my posts (oh and those by newfydog) come back with more specific questions. Cheers
 
#35
Hi, I have been reading some information recently about pretreating clothing, boots, bags etc with something called permethrin as a preventative move against bed bugs. I would appreciate any advice on this as we begin our preparations for our camino. If this pretreatment is recommended, where in Australia would I be able to purchase this product?
Thanks.
I buy Yates permethrin from Bunnings and use it diluted as for fruit trees. I soak or spray my backpack and outer layers of my sleeping bag in it and let them dry. Haven’t had any problems with bedbugs on two Caminos. Hope it’s the same in July!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
#36
Hi, I have been reading some information recently about pretreating clothing, boots, bags etc with something called permethrin as a preventative move against bed bugs. I would appreciate any advice on this as we begin our preparations for our camino. If this pretreatment is recommended, where in Australia would I be able to purchase this product?
Thanks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
#37
Wow! This discussion thread has me concerned. I walked the Camino Portugues last summer with nary an encounter with bed bugs. I am planning for the Primitivo for a small group of 5-6. Have the BBs become an epidemic on the Camino? Is it maily on the Frances, or all routes? Is it only in the albergues? Can one expect them in the hotels and hostales? Sorry for the dumb questions. I don’t know enough yet of the Primitivo, whether hotels/hostales are available. Some in my party may not want to do albergues. Buen Camino.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#38
Is it maily on the Frances, or all routes? Is it only in the albergues? Can one expect them in the hotels and hostales?
They will be found on all routes. The French have posters and brochures in virtually every accommodation. Bed bugs are reported most on the Camino Frances because hundreds of thousands of pilgrims travel it each year.

I have seen more bed bugs in hoteles/hostales than in albergues, but I have only seen the ones that chose to reveal themselves to me. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2005 2007 Frances
2016 Leon to Santiago
#39
Bedbugs are on the increase internationally and the are everywhere, but I don't think to the levels of 'epidemic'. With 300,000 compostella annually, that is a big population and there is no survey to get a scientific count. The albergues are well aware of the problems and are as vigilant as they can be--far more so than many hotels. In about 350 nights in Spain and France, I have seen bedbugs twice on the Frances and been bitten twice in French hotels (and 4 times in San Francisco hotels).
Just take normal precautions (check bed area for blood meal spots) and treat your gear with permethrin to avoid the hitchhikers and put DEET on open skin if you are allergic. Then enjoy your Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Pomplano to Santiago (March 29-May 6 2018)
#40
Hi, I have been reading some information recently about pretreating clothing, boots, bags etc with something called permethrin as a preventative move against bed bugs. I would appreciate any advice on this as we begin our preparations for our camino. If this pretreatment is recommended, where in Australia would I be able to purchase this product?
Thanks.
I never had any issue with bedbugs, but I did use cedar wood oil in my wash, and sprinkled on bedding
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
#41
I have severe doubts about this stuff, I think I'd prefer to take my chances with the bed bugs than to sleep in a sleeping bag that's been doused in chemicals. Bed bugs are unpleasant, not dangerous in any way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Pomplano to Santiago (March 29-May 6 2018)
#42
I have severe doubts about this stuff, I think I'd prefer to take my chances with the bed bugs than to sleep in a sleeping bag that's been doused in chemicals. Bed bugs are unpleasant, not dangerous in any way.
Oh no chemical! organic essential oil.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Pomplano to Santiago (March 29-May 6 2018)
#43
Bedbugs are on the increase internationally and the are everywhere, but I don't think to the levels of 'epidemic'. With 300,000 compostella annually, that is a big population and there is no survey to get a scientific count. The albergues are well aware of the problems and are as vigilant as they can be--far more so than many hotels. In about 350 nights in Spain and France, I have seen bedbugs twice on the Frances and been bitten twice in French hotels (and 4 times in San Francisco hotels).
Just take normal precautions (check bed area for blood meal spots) and treat your gear with permethrin to avoid the hitchhikers and put DEET on open skin if you are allergic. Then enjoy your Camino!
Exactly... check the bed b4 u climb in.... also... never put your pack on the bed!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2005 2007 Frances
2016 Leon to Santiago
#44
Pack on the bed drops off the hitchhikers.
Pack on the floor picks up the hitchhikers.
I have a carabiner and short strap to hang my pack on one of the bedposts to avoid the floor and bed.

And I treat with permethrin to cut down on the hitchhikers. It has been widely researched and evaluated by most countries and used extensively by the military. Follow the label.
Bedbugs for me are a minor annoyance, but I also believe I have a social obligation to other pilgrims to do what I can to stop the transport and spread. The hospitaleiros are doing their part by using plastic covered mattresses and disposable sheet. And sometimes insisting on personal gear into plastic bags before entering the dorm.
 
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP (2016)
Jesus Trail (Nazareth to Capernaum) 2016
Way of St Francis (Pietralunga to Assisi) 2016
#45
I treated the outside of my pack, the outside of my sleeping bag, a lightweight mattress cover, my trousers and shirts. Here in New Zealand the ready-to-use preparations are very expensive, so I bought a half a litre of concentrate 500g/l and diluted it. I still have loads (more than enough for my next camino!). I'm happy to share some if there are any Wellington, New Zealand based pilgrims-to-be. Message me for free concentrate! I had no problems with bedbugs on the VdlP in 2016. And I don't get moths in my closets!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#46
I've just returned from a bed-bug free camino after three in succession when I was bed-bug bait. My tactic this time: permethrin treated long silk sleeping bag liner that I slept in every night and pulled right up over my head, long johns and long sleeved top, and Bushman's 80% Deet repellant applied to any skin that might get exposed (strictly in accordance with instructions on the label).
I also permethrined my pack inside and out and kept my clothes sealed inside drybags so I was not an unwitting carrier.
 

dogstar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
#47
Hi, thanks everyone for all your advice and all the information you have provided me with. I have purchased some permethrin, awaiting a dry day to spray our packs etc. Getting very excited as the departure date for our camino is closing in.
 

Keyes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF May-June 2016
Francesco June-July 2017
Francigena July-August 2017
Portuguese July 2018
#48
It's surprising that no one has mentioned dryer sheets. I'm wary of DEET and Permethrin. Bounce brand dryer sheets have been working for me for years. Mosquitos, bed bugs and other pests seem to avoid them. I carry a ziplock with a supply of them in my pack, pull one out and wipe down clothing and exposed skin, then then hang it in a pocket. Seems to repel everything except snoring.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#49
It's surprising that no one has mentioned dryer sheets. I'm wary of DEET and Permethrin. Bounce brand dryer sheets have been working for me for years. Mosquitos, bed bugs and other pests seem to avoid them. I carry a ziplock with a supply of them in my pack, pull one out and wipe down clothing and exposed skin, then then hang it in a pocket. Seems to repel everything except snoring.
Probably because it doesn't really work https://www.bedbugsbites.net/get-rid-bed-bugs-dryer-sheets/
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#52
Thank you for the link. I read it, and it says exactly what I was saying. It repels them. It doesn't kill them, but either result is fine with me.
It's not a sure fire way to repel them:

Dryer sheets have a wonderful fragrance and that is it. They do nothing to repel bugs of any kind, leave alone bed bugs. All they will do is make your bedroom smell better. This might, to an extent mask the carbon dioxide which bed bugs use to identify their hosts. However, this is not a foolproof method of keeping bed bugs from biting you.

But they don't weigh much, so I guess there's no harm in bringing them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018
#53
I saw it and asked about it at Paddy Palin 2 weeks ago and although they said it could be used on clothing, they strongly advised against using it for our sleeping bags and/liners. It left me a bit confused
The Sawyer Permethrin is designed to be sprayed on clothing, shoes, etc. I will be spraying the outside of my pack and sleeping bag and hanging them to dry, before our trip. We are also taking a bottle of permethrin with us. It will stay on fabric for weeks, and will last thru a number of washins. There are very good instructions on the bottle. We use it in Michigan for ticks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#55
Thank you for the link. I read it, and it says exactly what I was saying. It repels them. It doesn't kill them, but either result is fine with me.
Do you mean the part of the article which stated: "They do nothing to repel bugs of any kind, leave alone bed bugs."? :)

Having looked at this type of thing during my tenure with public health, it was apparent they (dryer sheets, Skin-So-Soft, etc) have no proven effect in repelling bedbugs, and limited effect on some other insects. Although there have been some anecdotal reports and experiences which have tried to link a positive correlative effect (correlation does not equal causation), many other individuals report miserable failures of these types of remedies and preventives.

Permethrins are described as a pesticide, but they are not a repellent to bedbugs. At best, they will eventually kill a bedbug, but not quickly enough to keep a bedbug away or to keep them from biting. And the ability of permethrin to kill is rapidly decreasing as they are developing resistance to the chemical.
 
Last edited:

Keyes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF May-June 2016
Francesco June-July 2017
Francigena July-August 2017
Portuguese July 2018
#57
One article. What I know is that they work for me. Maybe I'm just lucky and they are my "Dumbo's feather", but I still use them and share them.

Davebugg, I spent some time in the same place you did. I'm eternally grateful for the lifesaving service you guys provided.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#58
One article. What I know is that they work for me. Maybe I'm just lucky and they are my "Dumbo's feather", but I still use them and share them.

Davebugg, I spent some time in the same place you did. I'm eternally grateful for the lifesaving service you guys provided.
Thank you, Keyes, it was my privilege. :)
 
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