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Bed Bug question

crhutch

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2010) March/April SJPP to Santiago and hence to Finisterre
(2016) Hospitalero Grañón 15-31 March
(2016) April Logroño to Santiago
(2017) Hospitalero Zamora 15-31 March
(2017) Hospilatero Emaus, Burgos 1-14 April
When I do the Camino next year I plan on spraying all my gear with Permethrin as well as carrying some in a spray bottle. I also plan to do the cursory bed checks. My question is this, I am thinking about carrying a sheet of plastic to wrap the mattress. My thought is if there are some critters in the bed by wrapping the mattress they won't be able to bite me. The plastic is very light weight so that should not be an issue. I'd welcome your comments on my bizarre idea!! :idea:
 
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KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
crhutch.... it depends a bit which month you are walking how worried you need to be about taking bedbug precautions. They are mainly an issue when the summer heat really arrives. People who walk in the cooler temps before that largely seem to avoid them.
Margaret
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Bed bugs do not limit their residence to mattresses but also those frames made of wood. However, for metal framed beds, your proposal would work.

Some will use common mosquito spray on the frame itself, wait 5 to 10 minutes and then inspect to see if it has roused any bugs out. If so, they move on. If not, then all will be well. Permethrin should not be used unless it is sprayed outside and the sprayed items have time to dry completely.

Also agree with the previous post. Walk earlier April - June and there will be fewer problems. July on will see more problems.

Make sure that prior to leaving the home you spray your backpack and sleeping bag (outside). Unless you encounter a lot of rain, this initial spray will last the whole Camino for your backpack. Your bag should be good regardless.

Michael
 

tohams

Member
I leave in < 2 weeks to do Camino Frances. I plan on bringing a tyvek sheet sprayed with permethrin to cover my mattress. Unfortunately, I'll be on bottom bunks as I've been known to fall out of bed in the middle of the night. That means I risk bugs falling from the top bunk as people move (if anyone is above me). Tyvek is light, waterproof (i.e. bugs can't crawl through it), and extremely durable (they make fedex envelopes with it because it's so hard to tear). My pack and sleeping bag will also be sprayed with permethrin.
 

Pacharan

Member
I am starting from SJPDP on Friday and have just spent today treating my silk liner with permethrin, enough to last up to 6 weeks I hope. I was advised to treat the liner rather than the sleeping bag itself as I am told the slippery smooth quality of sleeping bags makes the permethrin fall off quicker (apparently sheds itself over time as crystals). I considered spraying the rucksack inside and out too but decided against as carrying food in it. I also have a permethrin-impregnated undersheet. Let's see if the little horrors like it... :twisted: ...although I just hope I'm not allergic to permethrin :shock:
 
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Just a quick point here. Permethrin is poison, right? I'm a bit concerned that sleeping in poisoned bedding for several weeks may not be the best idea. I'm from Texas and we use bug repellent with deet. Is that as bad as sleeping in poisoned sheets? I'm a bit concerned ...
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I would not recommend spraying the interior of your sleeping bag; however, permethrin is used to spray the exterior of a sleeping bag or backpack. It is even recommended to be used on clothing such as pants and shirts. The sheet being talked about would be to cover the mattress and I suspect that those pilgrims will sleep in the bag on top of the sheet.

I am not qualified to compare these two chemicals or state which is more poison to humans. What I can say is the both are sold over the counter for the purposes we have discussed.

Some people are very concerned about chemicals and others are sensitive to a wide variety of them. Test it out and see if you have a negative reaction before you go. If you have concerns, don't use them. I am not aware of alternatives that work quickly, but I have to believe there must be something. Others may have heard of or used different products to rid them of these little devils.

As for me, I will use permethrin spray sold at REI on my bag and backpack. Given that we wash our clothes daily I will not use it on them. I also don't ever plan on being on Camino during the months of July and August when the bugs seem to be at their worst. BUT that is just me. You will find many pilgrims that have no problems with bedbugs during those same months. Bedbugs exist in four and five star hotels and you will also find them on Camino. It seems to be part of life and it is not something to fear or become overly concerned. Prepare as much as you can and be wise in your choice of sleeping quarters and you will be fine.

Bon Chemin,

Michael
 

Pacharan

Member
Permethrin is a general purpose insecticide which is also very toxic to cats and fish. Its effect on other mammals seems negligible but I have no idea how thoroughly it has been researched. It is recommended by UK authorities to be sprayed on clothing prior to visiting malarial areas and I believe is used to treat bedding all around the world to deal with bed bugs.
DEET is more powerful and should not be used on synthetic materials as it will disintegrate them. As far as I know a lot of insect repellents for skin application contain DEET (it melts nylon but apparently fine for humans :shock: )
I am not keen on using any chemicals but less keen on having a big allergic reaction to bites (which I have had massive problems with in the past).
Interestingly there is article on UK news today saying how much bed bug infestation has increased here. A timely reminder that the pests are all over the world and not a special Camino feature...
 
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Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I purchased a spray bottle of mosquito spray in the Farmacia here in Spàin.

I spray the bed BEFORE I lay my sleeping bag on it.
Then I wait about 10 minutes.
Once or twice, the bedbugs have come up to escape the spray... then I LEAVE the alburgue!

Otherwise, I have not been bitten using this technique which the Pharmacist advised.
The spray is cheap and is a pump spray.
I just give the bed a light spray, top and bottom.
I met another pilgrim doing the same and she also had no problem.
If you do this as soon as you check in, the smell is gone by the time you sleep.

Safe.. well I don´t know ... but the bedbug bites look horrific, in my opinion!
 

crhutch

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2010) March/April SJPP to Santiago and hence to Finisterre
(2016) Hospitalero Grañón 15-31 March
(2016) April Logroño to Santiago
(2017) Hospitalero Zamora 15-31 March
(2017) Hospilatero Emaus, Burgos 1-14 April
Lots of good advice which I truly appreciate. Is Permethrin available is Spain?
 

tohams

Member
Permethrin needs to be sprayed and dried completely. You shouldn't touch it when wet. I would use it on things you're bringing and not there.
 

crhutch

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2010) March/April SJPP to Santiago and hence to Finisterre
(2016) Hospitalero Grañón 15-31 March
(2016) April Logroño to Santiago
(2017) Hospitalero Zamora 15-31 March
(2017) Hospilatero Emaus, Burgos 1-14 April
MichaelB10398 mentioned that some people spray Permethrin the frame itself, wait 5 to 10 minutes and then inspect to see if it has roused any bugs out and if so, they move on. That is why I ask if permrthrin is available in Spain. I don't really want to carry a large container of it from the States. Thanks
 
MichaelB10398 said:
Some people are very concerned about chemicals and others are sensitive to a wide variety of them. Test it out and see if you have a negative reaction before you go. If you have concerns, don't use them.

Thanks for the sound advice Michael.

Nicole
 
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tohams

Member
Anniesantiago said:
I purchased a spray bottle of mosquito spray in the Farmacia here in Spàin.

I spray the bed BEFORE I lay my sleeping bag on it.
Then I wait about 10 minutes.
Once or twice, the bedbugs have come up to escape the spray... then I LEAVE the alburgue!
Mosquito spray and Permethrin are not the same thing, though in areas where malaria is a problem, it's advised to use a Permenthrin coated mosquito net over your bedding. I think (at least Annie) is talking about DEET or some other insect repellent. If you spray Permethrin, the bedbug is more likely to die where it is rather than crawl out. Whereas repellent will drive them nuts and just get them moving. If they do crawl out because of the Permethrin, plain water would do the same thing. It's just the liquid driving them out.
 

caminara

New Member
My daughter and I were on the Camino last October. We had treated our sleeping bags with Sawyer's permethrin spray and had no trouble. I've used permethrin at home for a horrendous flea infestation as well. Sawyer's was developed bythe military to treat clothes--and it works, but don't touch it wet, it's extremely toxic. When it's dry, it shouldn't bother you and will last through several washings. I don't use Deet, since it scalds my skin.
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
where do you purchase permethrin?
Here in Canada, DEET based insect repellents are all that one finds in drug stores and camping stores.
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Just checked and in Canada one can purchase permethrin for scabies, lice and bedbugs. It is available at the main national drug stores. Probably requires a prescription, and may only come in cream form for these applications. Unsure if they sell the spray discussed here.

Checked further - permethrin spray not available in Canada, although there are lots of online ordering sites.

lynne

(edit: updated information)
 
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tohams

Member
skilsaw said:
Thank you Lynne,
The solution for me is probably to wait until I'm in Spain and then get it from a farmacia
Please don't spray permethrin in an Albergue. It needs to dry COMPLETELY before human contact.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
I have been reading this thread with great interest as anything that bites just loves me. However, although I would treat my own belongings before walking and possibly outside while enroute I would be really worried by people spraying anything inside the albergues etc.
What happens if the actual spray causes an allergic reaction to a fellow pilgrim. Also what happens to those who come after who might re-act to the, even dried, sprayed on substance, like
caminara said:
....... I don't use Deet, since it scalds my skin.
.
I think my solution will be to use a treated sheet sleeping bag with a pillow holder top and by turning the top inside out have a cover for my head.
Tia Valeria
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
I echo the above.
I am an asthmatic, allergic to lots of things. I have a cat and two dogs. I have pilgrims stay in my spare rooms sometimes. So far we´ve had no insect problem, except for the occasional spider. But...

If bedbug-fearing pilgrims start spraying chemicals on the beds and bedding, what happens if my pets are somewhere near? What if the chemicals set off my allergic reactions? How long are my sheets and blankets chemical-laden? Will I need to wash down the room after the chemical-spraying pilgrim moves on?

Should I ask a pilgrim beforehand if they intend to spray chemicals in my guest rooms, and if so, are the sprays dangerous to sensitive creatures? I want to welcome all people of good will. I really don´t want people spraying insecticides in my house.

Can of worms here.
Reb.
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Not just way bad for cats. Lethal for cats. Seriously. I have been researching this issue and have learned that if one wants to get the critters out from furniture, an insecticide won't do any more than an oil-based spray (suffocates them). So there are a lot of greener solutions out there if one wishes to find them. If I were you, Reb, (imho) I would absolutely ban any insecticide-spraying in your place out of respect for your four-legged companions).

lynne (life-long cat companion)
 
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MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Permethrin should not be used unless it is sprayed outside and the sprayed items given ample time to close. I edited myself above to clarify that bed frames have been sprayed with typical, common mosquito sprays, wait five to ten minutes, and then check to seek if you see bed bugs. Pilgrims should not use permethrin on bed frames or anything else in an enclosed space. Hospitaleros have been trained in how to eradicate bed bug infestations and they do not need assistance from pilgrims unless they are specifically asked to do so.

Even with mosquito spray care should be used. Some people are hyper-sensitive to all chemicals and smells and we should respect our fellow pilgrims. If you are going to use a mosquito spray use common sense and not spray just before bed time, rather use it when the room has fresh air circulation, etc. and few people around. Just when you get in would be a good time. It might be worth asking the hospitalera if it is okay to spray the bed frame; tell her that you are being very careful. If there is a problem and you are concerned, move on with a smile on your face knowing that it is not personal and you are just making a personal choice.

The tough thing about bed begs is that lack of cleanliness is not a sign of potential infection or probability of infection. They can be found in the cleaniest and the dirtiest of places. They exist and will continue to exist. Spraying the frame is not necessary, it is just being very cautious and should really be used by those who react badly to bites. Otherwise, the rest of us can buy the sheets, spray our bags, and know that tens of thousands never, ever get bit.

Michael
 

Dulcinea

New Member
JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association has recently had an article about bed bugs.

Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius) and Clinical Consequences of Their Bites
Goddard and deShazo
JAMA.2009; 301: 1358-1366.

Dulcinea
 
D

Deleted member 397

Guest
Thought this might be interesting as a preventative measure:
Ex Officio's Insect Shield® vented hiker socks repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and midges.
 

Frogmarch

New Member
Thanks for the JAMA article info, Dulcinea.
I have just gone on their site and found the abstract (I didn't feel like paying for the whole article...).
It seems to be a review of 53 articles dealing with bed bugs. Here are the salient parts of the abstract :
Context Bed bug (Cimex lectularius) infestations are rapidly increasing worldwide. Health consequences include nuisance biting and cutaneous and systemic reactions. The potential for bed bugs to serve as disease vectors and optimal methods for bed bug pest control and eradication are unclear.
Data Synthesis Fifty-three articles met inclusion criteria and were summarized. Only 2 clinical trials concerning bed bugs were identified and tested the ability of pest control interventions to eradicate bed bugs. Although transmission of more than 40 human diseases has been attributed to bed bugs, there is little evidence that they are vectors of communicable disease. A variety of clinical reactions to bed bugs have been reported, including cutaneous and rarely systemic reactions. A wide range of empirical treatments, including antibiotics, antihistamines, topical and oral corticosteroids, and epinephrine, have been used for bite reactions with varying results. No evidence-based interventions to eradicate bed bugs or prevent bites were identified.
Conclusions Treatment options for cutaneous and systemic reactions from bed bug bites have not been evaluated in clinical trials and there is no evidence that outcomes differ significantly from those receiving no treatment. Evidence for disease transmission by bed bugs is lacking. Pest control and eradication is challenging due to insecticide resistance, lack of effective products, and health concerns about spraying mattresses with pesticides.
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/ab ... 01/13/1358

What I find interesting - or I should say disappointing -is that there seems to be no proven method of either getting rid of the little fellows or preventing their chomping on people.
 

rbq

New Member
Frogmarch said:
Thanks for the JAMA article info, Dulcinea.
I have just gone on their site and found the abstract ...What I find interesting - or I should say disappointing -is that there seems to be no proven method of either getting rid of the little fellows or preventing their chomping on people.
For the gory details, here are the full texts of the April 2009 JAMA articles. In .pdf—to keep intact the charts of the data , and the photographs of the critters (on skin, on bedding). The summaries are in English and Spanish. I’ll keep the files available for about a week.

"Chinches" (en espanol)
http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0Bz0 ... YWFk&hl=en

The summary
http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0Bz0 ... MWZm&hl=en

"Cimex lectularius and Clinical Consequences of Their Bites" (10 pages)
http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0Bz0 ... MzFk&hl=en
 
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leena_19

New Member
I have justreturned fromthe Camino and got bedbugs at least 3 times. It was the most horrible thing and i almost gave up.

I'm at work now and donthabve much time but I'll try and reply soon with advice etc.

do lots of reseach and plesae be kind to those that do get bitten.

its not our fault that the bugs like us so much

thanks
Leena
 

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