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Bed bug question

Steven Dwyer

Active Member
I’m currently on the Camino Portuguese and had a close encounter with bed bugs while here.I typically wake up extra early, so had a private room and was laying in bed when I noticed that I had an unwelcome visitor crawling towards me. I quickly went to battle and squished him and it was obvious by the amount of blood he was well fed.eventually, another one meet a similar fate.

I’m a fairly experienced traveler so nothing goes on the bed. Backpack is kept on a chair or table, or ideally on a hook. zipped shut unless I am actively taking something out, or putting it back in. Clothes are hung up. What’s in the pack is in a.trash bag, and the pack is heavily treated with permethrin as a precaution. I did check the outside of the pack, ant no new friends were there. Will be especially careful to go through a re-entry procedure when I return.

I notified the responsible person at the lodging of the situation, including an open casket viewing of the remains to the two dead bugs. The place is well run and I trust he knows how to handle the situation and will do so promptly. My room was private, and I did not see any apparent signs of infestation when I checked on arrival. As other pilgrims were beginning to wake up, I asked if anyone had ever had problems with bed bugs, and all replies were negative. I did not announce my situation to anyone other than the person in charge.

My reasoning was that I took precaution to see the situation was being taken care of. I didn’t want the lodging to suffer because some pilgrim brought uninvited friends along for a ride. I’m am very well aware that even 4 star hotels have the M from time to time. I have heard people say they won’t stay at X place because they heard it had bed bugs, but the report was years ago. Unfortunately, long after the problem was dealt with, the stories remain out there hurting a business that has already eliminated the situation.

So my question is what would you have done in the situation? Any advice for the future?
 
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Telling the hospitalero/owner was a good idea. You apparently already have a routine for protecting your gear, too, which is also good.

What I do is to always put my sleeping gear (clothes, sleeping bag...) in an airtight extra bag (additionaly to the giant garbage bag I put the pack in at night). That way, should I have gotten into contact with bed bugs, I don't have to treat (wash/dry on hot) all my gear, but only what touched the bed.

When you suspect you had contact (sighting of bugs in a place you stayed at and / or suspicious bites) place all the sleeping gear (or, if your sleeping gear is not seperated, all your gear!) in a drier on hot setting for at least 30min. Additional washing on hot temperature can be done (60°C min.), but the hot drier is usually enough. Many fabrics that can't be washed at high temperature survive the drier on hot temperature well, as long as they are not wet when put into the drier.

So if you haven't done that yet, I'd recommend de-contaminating your gear via heat treatment to be sure (some bed bugs are resistant against permethrin).

You're also right not to shame the place for having bed bugs. No accommodation is safe from them. It's all about how they handle it when they notice. I have stayed at many places that had apparently had bad infestations before, but had been treated since then, and therefore only signs of the bed bugs were left, but the problem had been solved. So even if you notice bed bug feces it doesn't have to mean there are live bugs, and a newly infested place doesn't necessarily have signs unless you look for them extremely thouroughly.

Some places I notified of bed bugs didn't care at all or blamed me for bringing them in, but most were glad to be told and took immediate action.

Hope you can continue your Camino bed bug free!
 
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I have encountered bedbugs several times, mostly in Spain but also in France.

I always tell the people in charge and if I have evidence, show it to them. I have never had a negative reaction from any of them, though the young lady receptionist at the hotel in France may not have believed me, though I told her the blood on the sheets was mine.

My fave was in the albergue in Ponferrada. A person I was walking with told me about her curious bites. She was in the same dorm as me and as I sat on my bunk a very lively bug pranced across my bed. I caught it and showed it to the hospi who immediately sprayed the crap out of my friend's sleeping bag. I was not bitten that night.

So, tell the hospis and all may be well.
 
I’m currently on the Camino Portuguese and had a close encounter with bed bugs while here.I typically wake up extra early, so had a private room and was laying in bed when I noticed that I had an unwelcome visitor crawling towards me. I quickly went to battle and squished him and it was obvious by the amount of blood he was well fed.eventually, another one meet a similar fate.

I’m a fairly experienced traveler so nothing goes on the bed. Backpack is kept on a chair or table, or ideally on a hook. zipped shut unless I am actively taking something out, or putting it back in. Clothes are hung up. What’s in the pack is in a.trash bag, and the pack is heavily treated with permethrin as a precaution. I did check the outside of the pack, ant no new friends were there. Will be especially careful to go through a re-entry procedure when I return.

I notified the responsible person at the lodging of the situation, including an open casket viewing of the remains to the two dead bugs. The place is well run and I trust he knows how to handle the situation and will do so promptly. My room was private, and I did not see any apparent signs of infestation when I checked on arrival. As other pilgrims were beginning to wake up, I asked if anyone had ever had problems with bed bugs, and all replies were negative. I did not announce my situation to anyone other than the person in charge.

My reasoning was that I took precaution to see the situation was being taken care of. I didn’t want the lodging to suffer because some pilgrim brought uninvited friends along for a ride. I’m am very well aware that even 4 star hotels have the M from time to time. I have heard people say they won’t stay at X place because they heard it had bed bugs, but the report was years ago. Unfortunately, long after the problem was dealt with, the stories remain out there hurting a business that has already eliminated the situation.

So my question is what would you have done in the situation? Any advice for the future?
Bed bugs should have a much higher profile on Ivar than it has. As an experienced peregrino, while bed bugs didn't even make my list of fears before I walked my first camino, it has moved up and up and up, now ranking just below public speaking.

You did the right thing on all counts. After our first camino where we encountered several albergues closed because of bed bugs and fellow peregrinos who were bitten and were suffering mightily, we take all the precautions that you noted. And we did so on our most recent camino in France, even though the gites and other accommodations there have no reputation for housing these vile creatures.
 
Bed bugs should have a much higher profile on Ivar than it has.
Please, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Neither bed bugs nor treatments have changed at all in recent history. In the past week, we have had 3 threads active on the topic. If you click on the tag "bed bugs" under the title of this thread, you will be taken to over 100 threads that are tagged thus.
 
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