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Bed bugs in Roncesvalles

Jennifer Partika

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October 2018
Woke up this morning in beautiful Roncesvalles main albergue to find a bed bug crawling across the bed. I took a picture, then killed it. I only saw one and thus far no bites noticed. I had sprayed my sleeping bag and backpack so maybe that kept them off me.
The staff were great about helping me wash and dry all my belongings and even sprayed my bag with insecticide.
Not a great way to start my morning but didn’t let it dampen the magic of this amazing trip which so far has exceeded expectations. In Zubiri now, hoping to not encounter any more critters along the way to Santiago!
 
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Monasp

I'm a manager of pilgrims office in SJPP
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino in 2008.
Woke up this morning in beautiful Roncesvalles main albergue to find a bed bug crawling across the bed. I took a picture, then killed it. I only saw one and thus far no bites noticed. I had sprayed my sleeping bag and backpack so maybe that kept them off me.
The staff were great about helping me wash and dry all my belongings and even sprayed my bag with insecticide.
Not a great way to start my morning but didn’t let it dampen the magic of this amazing trip which so far has exceeded expectations. In Zubiri now, hoping to not encounter any more critters along the way to Santiago!
Where did you sleep on SJPP ?
 
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CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
Woke up this morning in beautiful Roncesvalles main albergue to find a bed bug crawling across the bed. I took a picture, then killed it. I only saw one and thus far no bites noticed. I had sprayed my sleeping bag and backpack so maybe that kept them off me.
The staff were great about helping me wash and dry all my belongings and even sprayed my bag with insecticide.
Not a great way to start my morning but didn’t let it dampen the magic of this amazing trip which so far has exceeded expectations. In Zubiri now, hoping to not encounter any more critters along the way to Santiago!

It’s a suggestion to leave your pack out of the bedroom in Zubiri (ie in common area) even though you decontaminated it just in case one critter hitch hiked with you.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Bed bugs on the Camino seem to me to have a seasonal pattern. Since joining this forum some six years ago, and after six caminos, I have observed a pattern.

Bed bugs are generally unknown on the Camino during the early 'hip" months in April, May and into early June. Yes, there are sightings, but they tend to be few and far between, at least at that time of year.

However, once the pilgrim and tourigrino throngs hit the Camino Frances from mid-June, through September, the numbers of reported sightings, bites, and infestations at lodging places increases. I have a hypothesis...

Most albergues tend to close for the season at the end of October. That is when the autumn 'hip" season ends. After that, you have, basically winter pilgrims. These closed albergues reopen around Easter as the next 'Camino season' commences. The pattern of bites and infestations follows closely the human distribution across the Camino.

While they are closed, for nearly five months, there is ample time for cleaning, fumigation and disinfection. I submit that this is when the bed bug life cycle is broken, and they are mostly killed off. To be sure, some are missed, or some locations do not do a proper fumigation / disinfection job. Nothing is perfect in life.

IMHO, that is why we always see a pattern of nil bed bug sightings, then building to a crescendo in August, then dropping off in September, and October. Iti is also why I choose to do my Caminos in the spring, being sure to get off the Camino routes before June, and opt to stay in commercial lodging.

Knock wood, I have not yet had a run-in with the little beasties...o_O

Hope this helps.
 
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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
IMHO, that is why we always see a pattern of nil bed bug sightings, then building to a crescendo in August, then dropping off in September, and October. Iti is also why I choose to do my Caminos in the spring, being sure to get off the Camino routes before June, and opt to stay in commercial lodging.


I agree with your hypothesis.
However, I did find a bedbug this year in May/June in one of my lodgings in Pedrouzo .

I also found a bedbug in my bed in a nice hotel on Interstate 5 in California last month! They're everywhere!

The manager tried to tell me it was a mosquito. I laughed and said, "I know the difference between a mosquito and a bedbug, and last time I checked, mosquitos didn't crawl fast under beds to escape the light! lol!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Bed bugs are generally unknown on the Camino during the early 'hip" months in April, May and into early June
we always see a pattern of nil bed bug sightings
I wouldn't argue with the general statement that there are fewer bedbugs early in the season than later, for the reasons you describe. However, you lose credibility (in my literalistic mind) by overstating the case with the words "generally unknown" and "nil... sightings." That is simply not true, and many people on the forum have reported them in spring. I have been bitten in March - twice, different years, different caminos - both times in very clean private lodging. I am convinced that those 2 bedbugs had been fasting all winter, waiting for me!
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
For ten years now, I have been walking in early spring (early April), spring, late summer, autumn. Always several weeks. I have never seen a bedbug. Never been bitten. But I inspect beds/premises. But I have never walked out. Strange. (?)

However, I am leaning towards the proposal of @t2andreo . It sounds plausible.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
The reported distribution is still a classic ‘bell curve.’ There are relatively fewer sightings and incidents at both ends of the season.

Originally I thought it might be simply because, with fewer pilgrims, there were fewer ‘blood meals’ to attract the insects. However, the distribution cannot be wholly explained by simply removing their food source.

Hence, my hypothesis. I did say that: “To be sure, some (bugs) are missed...” off-season bites DO occur. I did not say it was impossible to be bitten off season. I have learned never to say never...

Hope this clarifies...
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Woke up this morning in beautiful Roncesvalles main albergue to find a bed bug crawling across the bed. I took a picture, then killed it. I only saw one and thus far no bites noticed. I had sprayed my sleeping bag and backpack so maybe that kept them off me.
The staff were great about helping me wash and dry all my belongings and even sprayed my bag with insecticide.
Not a great way to start my morning but didn’t let it dampen the magic of this amazing trip which so far has exceeded expectations. In Zubiri now, hoping to not encounter any more critters along the way to Santiago!
San Sol, 5km before Hontanas, closed due to bed bugs. Traveller saw spray team there today 18th September 2018
 

Linda Berger

Linda
Year of past OR future Camino
Langtang Nepal 2014
Camino Frances September 2018
Just laying my head down to sleep in Roncevailles- surely hope it wasn’t my bunk 263!!!
 

Jennifer Partika

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October 2018
Turns out we did get bitten but took a day or two to show up. Have gone through the process of washing/drying everything twice now just to be safe. We have met several people enroute who have bites as well.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
All accommodation are required to spray yearly on the Camino. Most Spray at the end of the season...or before the new season begins according to owners I have talked to....that is why you see fewer bugs at the beginning of the season. I do not know if f transport such as buses must be sprayed.But one Alsa bus we used in March had three pilgrims get bitten on board...so if you are using any type of transport....suggest using deet.
 
Last edited:

Dancing Rain

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Salvado (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
My beloved and I were very well eaten on our April camino this year. We saw many others who had also been bitten. There seemed to be much more use of tiles, plastic covered mattresses and steel bed frames. However, it was my impression that the extra blankets that were available for all to use in many of the albergues may have been problematic. Use of a hot dryer on route and everything into our chest freezer when we came home have been our interventions of choice
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Turns out we did get bitten but took a day or two to show up.
That is the problem inherent in specifically attacking an accommodation as the infested source. There can be a time lag. The bites may be from bed bugs you carried with you for a stage or two. Bites may not even be from accommodations.

Treat every accommodation as infested, and you will never go wrong!!;)
 

Aysen Mustafa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Bed bugs on the Camino seem to me to have a seasonal pattern. Since joining this forum some six years ago, and after six caminos, I have observed a pattern.

Bed bugs are generally unknown on the Camino during the early 'hip" months in April, May and into early June. Yes, there are sightings, but they tend to be few and far between, at least at that time of year.

However, once the pilgrim and tourigrino throngs hit the Camino Frances from mid-June, through September, the numbers of reported sightings, bites, and infestations at lodging places increases. I have a hypothesis...

Most albergues tend to close for the season at the end of October. That is when the autumn 'hip" season ends. After that, you have, basically winter pilgrims. These closed albergues reopen around Easter as the next 'Camino season' commences. The pattern of bites and infestations follows closely the human distribution across the Camino.

While they are closed, for nearly five months, there is ample time for cleaning, fumigation and disinfection. I submit that this is when the bed bug life cycle is broken, and they are mostly killed off. To be sure, some are missed, or some locations do not do a proper fumigation / disinfection job. Nothing is perfect in life.

IMHO, that is why we always see a pattern of nil bed bug sightings, then building to a crescendo in August, then dropping off in September, and October. Iti is also why I choose to do my Caminos in the spring, being sure to get off the Camino routes before June, and opt to stay in commercial lodging.

Knock wood, I have not yet had a run-in with the little beasties...o_O

Hope this helps.
I walked this year from early May and was worried about getting bitten as I decided against spraying my bag etc. No bites or spottings, although I a met a few who were bitten. However, I agree it appears that with summer there is more activity. If I walk again I will do it spring.
 

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