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Bed Bug Sheets

KellyM

New Member
Hi. My friend and I will be walking the Camino in June. We're wondering if anyone has advice re: preventing exposure to bed bugs and if any of you have used fitted bed bug preventing (i.e., treated) sheets in your travels. If so, how did these work for you?
Thanks.
Kelly
 
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Deleted member 3000

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I bought some fitted, untreated bed bug sheets, but I do not think they will do much good. Bed bugs live in the walls or crevices of bunks, so they are not really in the mattresses. The fitted sheet is more sanitary than what you often find on mattresses, but bed bugs can crawl up the side of the sheet or drop from the top bunk. Encasing the mattress on five of six sides is not likely to be effective. Some hotels encase mattresses in bed bug covers that completely enclose the mattress, so if there are bed bugs in the mattresses, they are locked inside the cover. A fitted sheet will not do that.

Treating the outside of your sleeping bag with permethrin, an insecticide, will deter or kill bed bugs. Treating the fitted sheet similarly may help. However, if you sleep with your head, arms, or legs outside your sleeping bag, they are subject to attack. DEET is an effective insect repellent for bed bugs. Apply it only to the parts of your body that will be exposed, and I recommend washing it off in the morning. It is a fairly toxic chemical by all reports, but safe for use by adult humans.
 
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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
Haha! That really is true!

In Leon, I was on a top bunk and didn't see one bug.
The fellow below me, however, had a paper full of dead bodies in the morning.
He said he spent the night fighting them off.
Read my blog to see how to test the bed for bugs before you stay.
 
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viajero

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2008
I bought an inexpensive curtain sheer. I cut it to the size of a bedsheet and treated it with permetherin. I would put this on the mattress and then my sleeping bag on top. I also used DEET for my face and hands at night. I did not get any bed bug bites but it is also possible that there were not any bedbugs about. On previous travels I have been bitten by bedbugs and I react very badly. I don't know if the treated sheet helped or not but it probably let me sleep a little better thinking I had some extra protection.
 
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
That is true.
It is not a guarantee, as I also saw many bedbugs on top bunks. :shock:

The lightweight curtain is an excellent idea, by the way.
Thanks!
 

Therese81

Member
Anniesantiago said:
Haha! That really is true!

In Leon, I was on a top bunk and didn't see one bug.
The fellow below me, however, had a paper full of dead bodies in the morning.
He said he spent the night fighting them off.
Read my blog to see how to test the bed for bugs before you stay.

Gah reading this thread made it itch everywhere.. just wanted to say thanks Annie for your detailed explanation with regards to bedbugs. Regards Therese
 

sally_M

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
I really don't want to bring bed bugs home (or to spread them along the camino). I will definitely spray my pack and outside of the sleeping bag with permethrin. If I do run into bedbugs, however, I'm not sure whether it is possible or recommended to put my Gregory Sage 55 L pack in a washing machine or dryer. I am worried the water-proof or water-repellent fabric will be compromised, or that the metal frame hoop will get bent. Any suggestions? I suppose maybe it is possible to remove the metal frame hoop. I haven't checked on that. Maybe dry cleaning would be a better option, but I am still worried about preserving the water-repellancy of the fabric.

It surprised me to hear that freezing would kill bed bugs, but apparently a Danish health institute reports that it will. Still, I'm not sure that my pack would fit in our freezer--certainly it wouldn't fit fully loaded, but I could hot wash and hot dry the rest of my gear and perhaps fit the empty pack into the freezer.

What about my merino wool shirt and socks. Won't they shrink if washed in hot water and dried in a drier?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Sally
 
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tiagorosado

New Member
I did the Camino 2010 and 2011, and in both cases I was attacked by bedbugs without any consequences.

Before going to the camino I sprayed all my clothing, backback, shoes, matress, sleeping bag with permethrin (in Portugal and Spain you can try to find a product called Biokill: it's a pulverizer with 99%water 1%permethrin) Permethrin only attacks cold blooded insects, so humans, cats, dogs, are totally safe. Do not dispose water with permethrin in sinks, or water-streams because it's deadly to fish. Permethrin also keeps active in your cloths after several washes.

Then I bought a plastic sheet (try to buy a thin plastic that doesn't make noise) and took with me some paper disposable sheets to put in top of it. I did my camino in the summer so almost didn't slept in a closed sleeping bag. Both of these items were also treated with permethrin. This is a very lightweight solution.

You should always check your bed surroundings, as stated on other posts. If you think you found bedbug signs go talk with the albergue owner immediately but at least until you got a confirmation try not to alarm everyone. If you don't feel safe, you can always try to sleep somewhere else.

I was attacked several times but never got bitten. Each day I inspected my sleeping bag and some times (3-4 ocasions) I saw dead bedbugs that managed to descent from a top mattress, or crawl from walls, wooden bed frames..etc. As soon as they touched the some of my stuff they died. Then I reported to the albergue owners. What they do is to seal the room for a cleaning crew to disinfect everything. Most albergues have contracts with specialised companies for this.

This is very important: when you arrive in order to prevent future bedbug problems do not put your cloths/gear in contact with other house clothing, carpets, sofas, etc. Put everything in a big plastic bag, take care of yourself, relax, and then do the washing :)
I pulverized my sleeping bag once again just to be sure and then stored it.

I try to think of them like mosquitos, everybody is more or less used to mosquitos, I find mosquitos much more menacing than bedbugs because the little bastards can fly :) So, mentally at least for me, bedbugs are not something that prevents me from a good night of sleep.
 

francie503

New Member
If there is one issue that would prevent me from walking the Camino it's bed bugs. I can't answer the question asked but Permethrin is mentioned again and again. Are there no non toxic, non chemical products available?

I've read briefly about cedar oil, sulphur, tea tree oil, and peppermint oil............anyone try these? Is citronella strickly for mosquitoes?
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
sally_M said:
I really don't want to bring bed bugs home (or to spread them along the camino). I will definitely spray my pack and outside of the sleeping bag with permethrin. If I do run into bedbugs, however, I'm not sure whether it is possible or recommended to put my Gregory Sage 55 L pack in a washing machine or dryer.
It surprised me to hear that freezing would kill bed bugs, but apparently a Danish health institute reports that it will. Still, I'm not sure that my pack would fit in our freezer--certainly it wouldn't fit fully loaded, but I could hot wash and hot dry the rest of my gear and perhaps fit the empty pack into the freezer.
Sally

Yep freezing really does work! So before you go find out if you have any friends or family who have access to large scale cold storage facilities e.g. restaurant/food processing/transport businesses. When you come back drop off your 'bagged' pack along with any other items you haven't hot washed and leave for 3-5 weeks. Luckily we have a friend who works in refrigerated transport so I treat my pack and sleeping bag this way on return .....and luckily he asks no questions :oops: .
If you can't do this then buy very large plastic refuse bag insert your pack and spray thoroughly 'inside' the mini contamination tent. Then close/tie tightly make sure to do this outside in still conditions and downwind of anyone else leave the pack 'stewing' for as long as possible before taking it out to dry off. You can do this alone but it's faster and smoother process if you can get someone to assist. You could possibly do this on the last day in SDC before you head home. I have treated my pack this way en route- again well out of the way of others who might have been sensitive to the spray I was using.
 

tiagorosado

New Member
Hi Sally, PingHansen,

I studied a bit this issue before my pilgrimage and found the product Faq - because I was also concerned with the cats situation.
http://www.biokill.com.hk/

I am not a specialist on this matter, and I believe that some animals, like humans, might get allergic reactions. But the albergues are regulary sanitized with these kind of products, so it's not like you're using something new. I also have cats(3) and my girlfriend's parents too(5). There were no allergic reactions from any of them.
 
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tiagorosado

New Member
Hello,

I'm very sorry to hear that PingHansen. I've checked again with a friend veterinary telling what you mentioned and it seems to can happen with most bug repellents on pure breed cats/dogs. They are just so much more sensitive. In our case all the cats were rescued from public depots or found abandoned in the street - They are not by all means pure breeds :) and usually these animals are much more healthy and resistant.

I welcome your input and it serves as a general warning. Much like people who can develop strong allergic reactions to single bedbug bites, mosquitos, fleas, or any kind of bugs, chemical repellents should be dealt with extra care. Common sense also dictates that if someone is considering applying such product on itself (or a pet) should make a very small test first to check for possible allergic reactions.

Nevertheless I think that this issue should not be a big concern for a soon-to be-pilgrim. One should be of course informed on how to avoid, and treat for bedbugs - and then be free to make it's own decision. The most important thing if you got bitten is not to hide it from the hospitaleros and promptly deal with the matter.

take care & buen camino!
 

ilovelife

Member



Thanks annie for the great info. I am actually a bit turned off from doing my camino because of these pests. After going through the experience of having them in my apartment and the subsequent steps taken in order to get rid of them i really do not want a repeat experience.

For myself the trauma of bedbugs is a psychological one. I still wake up in the night today feeling like something is crawling on me. I open the lights and see nothing. Its simply the hairs on my body twitching. If i see bedbugs in my bed on the camino i doubt i will be able to sleep.

this is the only thing i worry about on my camino.
 
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
Thanks annie for the great info. I am actually a bit turned off from doing my camino because of these pests. After going through the experience of having them in my apartment and the subsequent steps taken in order to get rid of them i really do not want a repeat experience.

For myself the trauma of bedbugs is a psychological one. I still wake up in the night today feeling like something is crawling on me. I open the lights and see nothing. Its simply the hairs on my body twitching. If i see bedbugs in my bed on the camino i doubt i will be able to sleep.

this is the only thing i worry about on my camino.

I certainly understand trauma.
I was attacked by a pit bull and now even chihuahuas make me break out into a sweat.

Please don't let fear of bedbugs put your off your Camino.
There are many, many more places withOUT bugs than with, and as long as you're vigilant looking for signs, you'll be fine.
They're not generally invisible critters if you know what to look for.

And when you return, don't take anything into the house before treating for the bugs.
 
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