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bed bugs and sleping bags-again!

Year of past OR future Camino
1999 Burgos-SDC, 2003 Leon-SDC, 2007-2012 Le Puy-SDC, 2014 Burgos-Covarrubias, Camino Ingles 3 times
Hola!
I have been reading everything here with great interest, and I have learned a lot. I am nearly finished with my preparations: I am walking 6-9 km 2 or 3 times a week, my shoes are walked in and my health is good (touch wood..)!
But two final questions:
1: Is the danger of bed bugs bigger in the municipal refugios than in the private ones?
2: I have bought a very light sleeping bag, 450 g, but I would prefer not to take it. Will the silky one do? (in September) I suppose there are blankets in the private refugios, is that correct? What about the municipal ones?

Looking forward to September!
tulle
 
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fits

New Member
some of the albergues (roncesvalles for one I think) didnt have blankets available as far as I know.

That said it wasnt that warm when I was there last week and the silk liner was sufficient. It really is quite warm and you can always wear more clothes if it gets chilly. I'm not sure if I'd rely on it in September though.

I only stayed in the municipal albergues I think. I would say that bed bugs are a risk anywhere you might go. I dont think I came across any though.
 

dutchpilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
Hi ,

On my Camino in 2008 there was a fellow pilgrim who was bitten once by bed-bugs.
Not in an albergue though, but in a Hotel.
So there is your answer: bedbugs might pop up anywhere.

Ultreya,
Carli Di Bortolo.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I walked the Frances this July and only stayed in municipal/parroquial auberges. I used a silk liner only and encountered no bed-bug problems but spoke to a woman who slept in one of the same auberges as I did, even the same night and did get bitten!

It would appear that some people are more sensitive than others (the person I mention above told me she has quite a histamine reaction to any bug bites). I took anti-histamine pills with me just in case but ended up giving them away.

Found that there were blankets most everywhere and although not needed in July sometimes used one under my legs to elevate my feet.

Must say that I was one of the few with only a silk liner - most Pelegrinos/as I met took a light-weight sleeping bag. Only time I wished I had had something warmer was when I had to sleep outside in O Cebreiro. I was luckily helped out by a German pelegrina who had one of those emergency blankets.

Good luck deciding.
Cheers,
LT
 
Year of 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
The bedbugs are wherever people carrying bedbugs sleep.. they aren't fussy. You will find them in private as well as in municipal alburgues. Do a search for my bedbug posts to see how I dealt with the problem. I was not bitten once, but saw MANY bugs!

I personally would not go without a sleeping bag in September. I walked my first Camino in September/October. We had lots of sun, but we also had very cold nights, or rainy wet days where we were very happy to hunker down in a warm bag. If it is lightweight... I'd take it.
 
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alichka

New Member
Hi,

I am too very interested in opinions on the sleeping bag question, so I will be following this thread with great interest :)

I am doing my first Camino this September and after everything I've read, I'm definitely taking a sleeping bag. The question is, what kind of sleeping bag? I could get a light-weight one (600gr), its comfort temperature rating is 13°-15° Celsius which should be more than enough even for colder nights at refugios without blankets.

However, given the circumstances (crowded Camino because of the Holy Year) I am a little concerned as to where I might actually have to sleep. So I was wondering if I should maybe take my warmer sleeping bag instead... which is much heavier with its 1.5 kg, so I'd really rather not take it. Is it even possible to sleep outside without a tent in September on the Camino Frances? Any recommendations? What are your solutions to the accommodation problem?

As for the bed bugs, I am planning to buy the "Fiole du marcheur" upon arrival in SJPP. It's a spray that you can use to treat your sleeping bag and luggage against bed bugs and is 100% natural product. You can read more here.

http://www.espritduchemin.org/English/tips_2.html

Buen Camino!

Kalina
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
We have just finished the Le Puy to St. J Pied de Port .
Last year from Oporto and in 08 Camino Francis.

We have never , ever, come across Bed Bugs .

In relation to walking the 750 - 850km [ Finasterre], think about your shins and the down slopes, your feet [ please use vasaline ] with the roads and for heavens sake forget the bed bugs.

Have a look at the bloody beds, dont follow the mob and stay where everyone else does and use your common sense. Sometimes the smaller , a little $$ spent on accommodation makes life easier.

Bed bugs will be your least of worries.

Have a great camino and leave all these messages at home.
 

Nandy61

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2010 CF StJPP to Santiago
2014 CF Leon to Santiago
2015 Primitivo
This past June/July, our Camino "family" consisted of 8 persons. Of the 8, at least four of us were bitten by bedbugs. (two eventually split off from the group to walk in solitude so I don't know if they were ever bitten) Two were severely bitten- all over their arms, legs and torsos. My daughter and I were only bitten on our right arm and right leg. Why? Because we had treated our sleeping sheet, and the only parts of our bodies that were outside the sheet were our right arm and leg. It was a hot night. (Abadia Cisterciense in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, btw)

Also, you cannot tell from the appearance of the albergue if there are bedbugs or not. We arrived in Molinaseca to the lovely, lovely Santa Marina albergue, only to find (and kill) LIVE bedbugs in the slats of wood under the mattresses. (I looked because I caught a faint whiff of insecticide when I entered the room) The hospitalero didn't believe us. But he did give us our money back. We left and walked down to the dung-heap of a muni hostal to sleep there. Saw no evidence of bedbugs, and none of us were bitten. You just have to look for signs of them and decide whether you want to risk staying there or not.
 

Pacharan

Member
With regard to sleeping bag versus silk liner, I walked last year mid Sept to end of Oct and was glad to have sleeping bag in final 3 weeks. Up until then the silk would have sufficed.
Bedbugs are on the increase everywhere, all over the world, possibly due to the massive increase in worldwide travel. It's not just hostels - a lawyer I know well told me some of the fanciest hotel chains were having problems. The camino is perfect for the little fellows to get around - close sleeping quarters mean they can hop out of one bag into another and off to the next location. I saw them on 2 separate occasions last year and saw some nasty bites acquired by other pilgrims at at least 1 other location.
Don't be paranoid but take basic precautions:
a) consider treating your sleeping bag or liner before you go. Try to keep your arms inside bedding. Shake out and check bag for intruders before you pack it away in the morning.
b) have a quick check under mattresses and in cracks in bed frames and walls when you arrive, use a small torch if necessary. Even otherwise spotless hostels can be unfortunate in habouring unwelcome visitors.
c) don't put your rucksack on the bed (keeps bed clean too from road dust/mud on your bag) and try not to lean it against the bed (difficult in crowded places I know). Keep rucksacks zipped up or enclosed in a plastic sack to stop stowaways. If you can hang bag up or put on chair without inconveniencing others that can help too.
d) consider taking antihistamine with you just in case.
e) If you think you have come into contact with the dreaded BBs, don't forget to wash and tumble dry or insecticide spray your kit when you get home, before you bring it in the house.

Finally - I hope you have a wonderful Camino and don't meet any pesky critters
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
I suggest a very light sleeping bag.

CLAKO Punaises de lits uses "natural" permithrins. All premithrins are extracted from plants containing them, so I doubt that there is anything magic about the product you plan to use.
 
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skilsaw

Veteran Member
I was just rummaging around in my grandfather's basement and found a 5 gallon pail of DDT. It must have been sitting there since the late '60's with the Diazanon and 245-T.
Anybody wanting a 4 ounce bottle can send me a private message. I think 4 ounces is the right size because you are allowed to carry small bottles of liquid on airplanes.

We'll show those little devils who is boss.
 

alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Listed in my signature
A couple of the news programs here in New York City ran segments just the other night on bedbugs, how they are everywhere in the City, showing up in a city government building (Floors 1-4, I think), an Abercrombie & Fitch store and Victoria's Secret (very popular clothing stores). Bergdorf Goodmans (quite the fancy store) has a bug-sniffing dog patrolling at night to find the critters! There are all kinds of signs and TV ads locally offering detection services....
 

Nandy61

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2010 CF StJPP to Santiago
2014 CF Leon to Santiago
2015 Primitivo
and of course, I was told that they were found int he Parador in Santiago de Compostela last summer. Don't know if that's a Camino myth or not!
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
The last paragraph should be of interest to pilgrims.

By NINA BURLEIGH, TIME

For reasons still unknown, bedbugs really seem to like the state of Ohio. The problem is so dire in Cincinnati that some people with infested apartments have resorted to sleeping on the streets.

Cincinnati created a Bedbug Remediation Commission in 2007 and, like other local and national governments around the world, the city is trying to mobilize strategies to control infestations of the resilient insects, which can hide in almost any crack or crevice and can go a year or more without eating. On Aug. 10, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a consumer alert about off-label bedbug treatments, warning in particular of the dangers of using outdoor pesticides in homes. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has mounted a more unusual response to the crisis: it petitioned the EPA for an exemption to allow in-home use of propoxur, a pesticide and neurotoxin banned in the 1990s out of concern for its effects on children. (See the top 10 weird insect mating rituals.)

Although the EPA rejected Ohio's propoxur plea in June, the agency has scheduled an Aug. 18 meeting with state and municipal leaders to try to formulate an abatement strategy everyone can live with. Among the meeting's participants: representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, no joke, the Department of Defense. (Comment on this story.)

"We are hopeful that the outcome of this meeting provides a solution," says Ohio agriculture secretary Robert Boggs. "Quite frankly, something needs to happen, and it needs to happen quickly."

Bedbugs don't transmit disease, but they can be harmful to mental health, as many Ohioans can attest. Nearly eradicated for the past half-century in the industrialized world, Cimex lectularis (the second word stems from the Latin for small bed) is presenting a 21st century environmental challenge. In the Mad Men days of pest control, "you could go down to the local drugstore, buy a DDT bug bomb, and everybody could slay their own bedbugs," says Michael F. Potter, a University of Kentucky entomologist who spends hours pouring poisons on bedbugs in his lab, seeking the elusive potion that kills them without harming humans or pets.

The bugs developed a resistance to DDT decades ago, but propoxur can still kill adult bedbugs within 24 hours and keeps killing newborns as they hatch. The EPA banned it for in-home use in the 1990s on the basis of animal tests and ill effects on adult workers who were exposed to it. "We believe the window between a safe dose and a dangerous dose for a toddler is very small," says EPA pesticide chief Steven Bradbury.

But before we join Ohioans and hit the streets with "Spray, baby, spray" placards, it's worth noting that scientists don't agree on whether a silver-bullet pesticide exists. "Propoxur might work for a few years, but then we would select for the genetically resistant bedbugs, and they would be right back," says Dini Miller, an entomologist at Virginia Tech and the state's urban-pest-management specialist.

That leaves behavioral lines of defense as the most durable strategies. Dogs have been trained to sniff out bedbugs, and specialized pest companies can haul in machines that heat entire rooms to well north of 113°F (45°C), at which point the bugs die. Heat treatments cost thousands of dollars per room, but the lower-cost alternative of simply throwing out your infested mattress or furniture likely won't solve the problem - and may spread it to your salvaging neighbor.

For home infestations, the EPA recommends reducing clutter, sealing cracks and crevices, vacuuming often, drying infested clothes at high heat and using a special mattress cover so you can sleep tight without letting the bedbugs bite. Travelers should inspect hotel mattresses, box springs and headboards for the pests and the inklike streaks of their droppings.

In other words, a dose of vigilance - if not outright paranoia - is the best preventive.

"We are looking at what we did a hundred years ago," says entomologist Miller. "We need to develop an individual consciousness, like we had then. You should think twice about leaving your purse on a seat in the movie theater and storing your kids' college furniture in the basement when they come home. We need to be conscious that anybody from a group-living situation may come back with bedbugs."
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
It´s halfway through August 2010 now, and I´ve heard very little about bedbug infestations on the camino. This time last year, everyone was scratching and fumigating. Could be all the critters are concentrated in the last 100 km., where all the pilgrims are?

I talk to a lot of pilgrims and hospitaleros, and so far no one´s seen a fatal case of bedbugs.
Don´t worry about it. Just get out there and walk. That´s what pilgrims do.

Reb.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
1999 Burgos-SDC, 2003 Leon-SDC, 2007-2012 Le Puy-SDC, 2014 Burgos-Covarrubias, Camino Ingles 3 times
Thank you so much, Rebekah and JohnnyWalker. I feel better now.. I have walked five times before, stages in France and Spain, and I never gave those bedbugs a thought. I don't know why I got so obsessed with them this time! Now I am really looking forward to getting out there walking.
Starting from Pamplona September 6th!
Tulle :D
 
Year of 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's great news Rebecca! Maybe part of the success is from educating people? Whatever the reason, I'm happy! I hate those little buggers!

:::doing the bedbug begone dance:::
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Knowing how concerning this subject is I´ve made point of asking pilgrims in the last couple of days if they had any problems with bed bugs or had heard of such problems - answer: none! good news all round.
 
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Aparently only 50% of people are sensetive to bed bug bites so many more are bitten than know about it and presumably the people who are not sensetive are as likely/ more likely? to carry them to new sites than the people who notice the bites.
Bringing them home with me is about the only thing I'm afraid of.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
1999 Burgos-SDC, 2003 Leon-SDC, 2007-2012 Le Puy-SDC, 2014 Burgos-Covarrubias, Camino Ingles 3 times
Pacharan wrote August 13: "Consider treating your sleeping bag or liner before you go". How do I do that?
Tulle - soon ready to start walking!
 

Pacharan

Member
Oops sorry Tulle I have been offline for a while so this post will come a bit late for you but for anyone else looking to treat their sleeping bags etc I would confirm that I sprayed my silk liner with a permethrin based product intended for treating outer clothes to be worn in mosquito infested environments. Once dry permethrin is not easily absorbed by human skin but will kill bugs, although it is recommended that you do not wear treated clothes next to skin.
I was advised to treat the liner not the bag by staff in the Nomad Travel Store in London. The reason for this is that permethrin dries into a crystalline form and they thought the crystals would rub off the synthetic shiny material of the bag. Nomad Travel also runs travel clinics etc and seemed to know what they were talking about.
Please read up about what products are available and ask questions in your local reputable travel or outdoor store.
Once again Tulle I am sorry I missed your post and hope you are having a rewarding camino.
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Re: Bad News Re: bed bugs and sleping bags-again!

falcon269 said:

Thank you Falcon,
This makes :roll: interesting reading. As it appears we are losing the ability to kill the little buggers all one can do has is admire their adaptability!
Nell
 
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andy.d

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
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Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
Are bed bugs edible?
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
The little buggers won't be ready for Skilsaw's newly found treasure. :wink:
They won't have seen DDT for 40 years......it almost wiped out the bedbug problem when in use....and several other species :shock:
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
An update from a Canadian entrepreneur:

Interesting - not so useful on the camino, but this might take off!

lynne
 

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grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
I see a chance for a Pilgrim entrepreneur :?

Set one of these up outside the albergue and charge a bit to have your pack, etc treated.
Must be sure to remove all chocolate bars before treating pack. :wink:
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
For heat treating bedding and equipment:
Packtite

The Packtite is the newest addition to our bed bug prevention catalogue.

This state-of-the-art patent pending portable de-bed bugging station kills all bed bugs and their eggs. Once the items are zipped tight and the bag is plugged in, the heat chamber blasts 120-140 degrees F air, creating a deathly environment for bed bugs.
Price: $315 US
 

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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
This charming report by a pilgrim to Santiago in the New York Times dated 3rd September 1899, seems to refer to bedbugs and other insects they encountered.
".. many a night, doomed to penitential beds, we were thankful to entrench ourselves against the stings and arrows of outrageous insects in spaciaous linen bags that gather close about the neck, or, when dangers thicken, above the head leaving only a loophole for the breath."
 

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dutchpilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
falcon269 said:
For heat treating bedding and equipment:
Packtite

The Packtite is the newest addition to our bed bug prevention catalogue.

This state-of-the-art patent pending portable de-bed bugging station kills all bed bugs and their eggs. Once the items are zipped tight and the bag is plugged in, the heat chamber blasts 120-140 degrees F air, creating a deathly environment for bed bugs.
Price: $315 US

Well,
Can't we attach a frame and shoulder straps to it, thus constructing a "kil-a-bedbug-backpack" :D

Ultreya,
Carli Di Bortolo
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
sillydoll said:
This charming report by a pilgrim to Santiago in the New York Times dated 3rd September 1899, seems to refer to bedbugs and other insects they encountered.
".. many a night, doomed to penitential beds, we were thankful to entrench ourselves against the stings and arrows of outrageous insects in spaciaous linen bags that gather close about the neck, or, when dangers thicken, above the head leaving only a loophole for the breath."

It would be facinating to have had that 1899 journey continued as a comparison to modern times.
The last line: ....."put fresh peas in our shoes and continue our journey...." :)
 

fiddletree

Active Member
When I walked 4 years ago (April/May), I carried a silk liner with me,and only 2 of the 33 nights did I stay in places without blankets. On those 2 nights, I got pretty chilly, but was happy to save on the weight. However, unless I were to walk in the middle of summer, I think I will bring a lightweight sleeping bag next time. I have a lot of allergies and the blankets are seldom washed, I imagine!

Only in one albergue did I have bedbug trouble, in a privately run one in Burgos. I got eaten alive; my entire right side, from literally my toes to my face, was completely covered in bites! I think it might have just been my bed, though, as no one else there had problems.

As others say, it is pretty unpredictable where you'll find the critters. Most people don't get bit, or at least react to it, but some do. It's just part of the experience.
 
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