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Marbe2

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Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
The weather was so bad last year we decided to skip part of a section. We were with three other pilgrims...they all got bitten on the Alsa bus between Ponferrada and Cacabelos and it was winter! We use deet on ourselves for train and bus rides
We also do that when we go to a movie theatre here in the states.
 
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Just_Me

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugues (April 2019)
got bitten by bedbugs in London, ended up in hospital for two weeks on i.v. antibiotics because they got infected. Terrified of being bitten again!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
The weather was so bad last year we decided to skip part of a section. We were with three other pilgrims...they all got bitten on the Alsa bus between Ponferrada and Cacabelos and it was winter! We use deet on ourselves for train and bus rides
We also do that when we go to a movie theatre here in the states.
Yikes! More paranoia has set in for me!
 
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NewBeginning

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Fall (2017)
I got eaten alive by bed bugs four times on the Camino Frances over 2 months last fall, the final assault being the night I arrived in Santiago. They all happened in albergues and hostels. Trips to the farmacia for hideous chemical sprays, repeatedly washing everything I could in super hot water and super hot dryers which basically destroyed much of my belongings. And many nearly sleepless nights gouging at welts on my back and arms and legs and chest and neck. Only one bite got infected on a lower leg, but I was able to lick that with hot saltwater soaking. Nearly a year later I still have some small scars.

I've had people tell me that a super-heavy garlic regimen before leaving and then modest amounts while on the Camino will keep them at bay, but I don't know if that's just another myth or not. It's probably true that if I was in my sheet sack I would have been spared many of those bites but I get claustrophobic when I try to sleep in anything that hems me in when I try to roll over or move in bed.

I want to do another Camino and I'd really love for some science to get behind this to figure out what really puts them off from certain people so some safe and effective deterrent can be created. I do Some people get bitten and carry them from place to place, but they don't react to the anesthetic in the insect's bite and so they never know they are carrying them. I guess I'm just delicious! Oy......
 

Kiwi-d

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sep/Oct 2014
I've twice slept in rooms where other people have been badly bitten by bedbugs (once in a four-star hotel in Prague, and once on the Camino) and not had a problem. I suspect it's because I'm one of those people who always feel colder than everyone else and bedbugs probably find people with good circulation much tastier. One young American lass I met on the Camino had just got over her fourth encounter with bedbugs. I couldn't help but think she looked so warmly healthy, every bedbug in the vicinity must have come running!
 

Just_Me

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugues (April 2019)
just did a bit of a search on the 'why' bedbugs bite some and not others.
One thing stood out for me - many people do get bitten but only some get a noticeable reaction because they are allergic to the bed bug saliva.
Antihistamines should help to curb a massive reaction.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018; Munich to Lindau (Germany) Sep 2020
I thought bed bugs hide during the day and bite in the night...

the video behavior (many bed bugs running around during the day...)... is this if there are too many bed bugs who are too hungry for waiting for the night?
 
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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!
I thought bed bugs hide during the day and bite in the night...

the video behavior (many bed bugs running around during the day...)... is this if there are too many bed bugs who are too hungry for waiting for the night?

Nope! Night or day they are vampires!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria-SC ('08) C.Frances ('11/'12) C.Norte ('13/'17) C.Portugues & Kerry C.('18)
got bitten by bedbugs in London, ended up in hospital for two weeks on i.v. antibiotics because they got infected. Terrified of being bitten again!

You poor thing- I didn't think you could end up in hospital. I'm also terrified of getting bitten. I try not to think about it, but easier said than done! I feel like I'm the anti-insect repellent for everyone else!

My worst attack was last year and I ended up getting an anti-histamine injection, as I had bites all over my legs. I usually take anti-histamine tablets for up to a month before I go, but last year it was only for one week, which was not enough. I take every preventative measure I can think of.
Daily anti-histamine tablets for a month before a camino
Attach citronella tags to my bag (local equestrian store have large ones meant to prevent flies biting horses!)
Citronella wristbands
Daily Vitamin b complex
Deet
Pyrethrin spray for sleeping bag
Check sleeping quarters before I put my sleeping bag down.
I try to regularly use a washing machine and dryer as well.

I did not get bitten this year, so maybe something is working!

Any nuggets of advice would be welcome! Screenshot_20180909-190547.jpg
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Nothing really helps when the allergy kicks in.
2014 CF (connecting Madrid with Invierno) I got such an allergy that close to 200 bites appeared on my body. I mean it was like 5-8 on each of my fingers not to speak of other body parts. And I washed and dried all of my stuff everyday. Nothing helped. I was on the brink of nervous breakdown. I thought I would just throw myself on the floor of the nearest ER and ask to do whatever they want with me.

Actually the allergy stopped but that's another story ;)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@NewBeginning I've been bitten on four separate caminos. But the last one I was fine. It was early spring, and I think that is an advantage, because many of the albergues are closed during the winter and get cleaned then, also the bbs are less active in cold weather, and also because - as you will see under - I can wear clothing at night which may act as a mechanical barrier.

This is what I did - it might give you some ideas. Firstly I permethrined my pack and my sleeping bag, before I left home. Not a preventive, but hopefully it helps to kill any bugs that try to hitch-hike (not assured, but better than nothing).

Every night I slept inside my silk sleeping bag liner. Without exception. Even in good hotels. Mine is extra long, with stretch panels down the side, and I had inserted elastic around the top (loosely) - so I could pull it closed. The stretchy panels meant that I could move inside more easily - I also hate that feeling of confinement that comes with a normal liner bag. FYI it is a Sea to Summit - like this. It was sufficiently long that I could easily pull it over my head, which I frequently did. I also wore long johns and long sleeved tops every night. Tucked into each other. And socks - amusing considering I rarely wear them during the day. That meant the only bits of skin that could be exposed were my hands, my face, and my neck - if I had my head out of the liner. I used DEET on those bits of skin - an 80% cream that I've only found in Australia - you rub a bit between your palms and then swipe your palms over the skin you are trying to protect. Not a spray.

I've become a big fan of ultra-sil dry-bags to separate clothes and sleeping gear. When I arrive at my nights accommodation, I immediately but my backpack inside a very large ultra-sil dry-bag (it is actually a liner for a 70 litre backpack and my 30litre backpack fits easily inside). It's much tougher than a garbage bag and does not rustle. It is also treated with permethrin. That dry bag gets sealed up once I've taken out the things I need for the night (in a smaller dry bag). My sleeping gear has its own dry-bag, and goes back into that in the morning, before going into my pack.

Obviously I can't be sure that the measures I took made the slightest difference. It may be that I was simply lucky. But I'll be doing the same thing again next Camino.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria-SC ('08) C.Frances ('11/'12) C.Norte ('13/'17) C.Portugues & Kerry C.('18)
Thanks for the ideas! The ultra-sil dry-bag sounds like a much better idea than a bin bag. I have used a bin bag in the past. To be honest though, as time passed, I only used it intermittently.

KinkyOne - you poor thing- 200 bites sounds terrifying!! I'd be tempted to go to the nearest hospital too.

I think I escaped this year due to staying in albergues with zipped mattresses. They definitely seem to be effective in the fight against bed bugs.
 
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Deleted member 67185

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Thanks for the ideas! The ultra-sil dry-bag sounds like a much better idea than a bin bag. I have used a bin bag in the past. To be honest though, as time passed, I only used it intermittently.

KinkyOne - you poor thing- 200 bites sounds terrifying!! I'd be tempted to go to the nearest hospital too.

I think I escaped this year due to staying in albergues with zipped mattresses. They definitely seem to be effective in the fight against bed bugs.

:) Given that bed bugs live around mattresses and not in them, zipped mattresses are a non-effectual remedy. It is done more for hygiene purposes -- to keep the dirty bodies of hundreds of pilgrims from prematurely staining and smelling up a mattress to extinction.

You escaped bites, like me and thousands of others who are not the bedbug 'pilgrim menu'. :)
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria-SC ('08) C.Frances ('11/'12) C.Norte ('13/'17) C.Portugues & Kerry C.('18)
Oh, I'm not afraid that they'll emerge at night from deep within the mattress!!! Zippered mattresses definitely have the added advantage, along with hygiene, of having less places/folds for bed bugs to hide though. It's then easier to check the mattress and bed frame.
 
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Deleted member 67185

Guest
Oh, I'm not afraid that they'll emerge at night from deep within the mattress! Zippered mattresses definitely also have the added advantage of having less places/folds for bed bugs to hide though. It's then easier to check the mattress and bed frame.

I don't find that it really makes it easier to check; spotting signs of bedbugs is pretty easy, especially since the most telling clues are not the mattress itself, bud in places like behind a headboard, between mattress and foundation, and around the frame of the bed.

You had said that a zippered mattress cover " .... definitely seem to be effective in the fight against bed bugs." So I mistakenly interpreted that to mean that you believed the zippered cover itself somehow kept the bedbugs at bay. My mistake. Sorry.
 
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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!
Maybe spotting signs of an extreme infestation is easy. I have never seen one but I've been bitten several times.

No, I do not think it is always that easy. :(:(I do check around the beds...when I got badly bitten..numerous bites, they were coming and returning to a little hole in a high ceiling. I killed several of them on the wall climbing backup to feast on my blood! But I saw no signs when I checked the bed earlier.
 

Just_Me

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugues (April 2019)
lots of good suggestions, thanks. I kind of hoped I'd be safe in a hotel at least... funny, never worry about bedbugs here in Australia where I stay frequently in hotels and hostels.
Vit B1 is said to be deterring Mozzies (and people have confirmed this) I wonder if it does the same for Bedbugs. Why, oh why, do we have to have those suckers! :mad:
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
At the end of days, when only cockroaches are left on earth... one wonders what the bedbugs will have to say... just sayin...
 
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Mim & Clare

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I am doing the Camino Francese with my partner and she has just come out in a mass amount of welts from bed bug bites!
We stayed in Azofra’s Municipal, we have tried talking to the receptionist there, who spoke perfect English when we were there. However when we rang today, they said they didn’t speak English and didn’t want to listen to us about it.
Last night we stayed in the church in Granon, and unfortunately they have no phone number or email to contact :( We have since thoroughly washed, dried in very hot dryer, sprayed and ruck sacks are in black plastic bags in the sun. Our current Albergue is very kind and helping us to make sure we get everything! We are staying at Los Arancones in Tosantos.
So please be careful everyone staying in municipals, or anywhere really! don’t put your bags on the beds, always check the seems of the mattresses.
 

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!
Oh, I'm not afraid that they'll emerge at night from deep within the mattress!!! Zippered mattresses definitely have the added advantage, along with hygiene, of having less places/folds for bed bugs to hide though. It's then easier to check the mattress and bed frame.

Bedbugs are also coming from the walls. I have seen them crawling out of holes heading for my bed!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
Many albergue operators now suspect that the vans used in massive pack transport may be spreading the critters. The bags are simply piled together in the vans and cross contamination can easily occur.
The vans themselves may get infected with both bugs and eggs from bug carrying packs.
Some owners seem convinced that the vans are contributing to the problem.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
That's an interesting observation and could very well contribute to the problem. I always spray my my back pack with permathrin. Even those who dislike using it on their personal bedding would posdibly not be opposed to using it on their pack.
How about a campaign of some sort to encourage the transport services to fumigate or disinfect their vans on a regular basis.
 

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