• For 2024 Pilgrims: €50,- donation = 1 year with no ads on the forum + 90% off any 2024 Guide. More here.
    (Discount code sent to you by Private Message after your donation)

Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Bed bugs

M&M from OZ

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés in May 2023 - SJPP to CdS
Hi fellow Pilgrims.

This our first Camino starting 27 April. We are probably asking a question that had already been answered.

We understand Bed Bugs can be a problem and we should treat our equipment with Permethrin before commencing our walk.

Our questions are:
1. Is this really necessary?
2. Is Permethrin available in SJPP?

We will be using a silk liner for use in the albergues and also a down blanket for the cold nights.

We are travelling from Australia and touring Europe before we start our walk. It would therefore be preferable that we buy and apply Permethrin just before we start.

Appreciate your experienced advice.

Michael and Margaret
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Hi fellow Pilgrims.

This our first Camino starting 27 April. We are probably asking a question that had already been answered.

We understand Bed Bugs can be a problem and we should treat our equipment with Permethrin before commencing our walk.

Our questions are:
1. Is this really necessary?
2. Is Permethrin available in SJPP?

We will be using a silk liner for use in the albergues and also a down blanket for the cold nights.

We are travelling from Australia and touring Europe before we start our walk. It would therefore be preferable that we buy and apply Permethrin just before we start.

Appreciate your experienced advice.

Michael and Margaret
I have never treated my bedding or equipment with Permethrin and never been bitten by bedbugs on Camino. So I would answer (1) as a definite "no" and (2) as "I've never checked". Others in the forum swear by its use. You are likely to get a mix of answers which will probably bring you no closer to a decision.
 
Hi fellow Pilgrims.

This our first Camino starting 27 April. We are probably asking a question that had already been answered.

We understand Bed Bugs can be a problem and we should treat our equipment with Permethrin before commencing our walk.

Our questions are:
1. Is this really necessary?
2. Is Permethrin available in SJPP?

We will be using a silk liner for use in the albergues and also a down blanket for the cold nights.

We are travelling from Australia and touring Europe before we start our walk. It would therefore be preferable that we buy and apply Permethrin just before we start.

Appreciate your experienced advice.

Michael and Margaret
You will find the entire gamut of bedbug experiences any place where pilgrims gather, from, “I did not treat my equipment and never saw a single bedbug,” to, “ I was bitten so badly I had an allergic reaction and had to go to the hospital/end my Camino and go home.” These and everything in between happen.
My personal experience is, ever since a major bedbug encounter that involved my hiking partner and I fleeing an albergue at 3AM, I have always treated the outside of my sleeping bag, my backpack, and footwear with Permethrin prior to going on a camino. I take other precautions as well and have not had another encounter.
My advice is to treat equipment with Permethrin
 
For non-permethrin uses, I carry a few of these light traps, with a separate strong pheromone fluid to lure the bedbugs (they normally hide until 3 am and the deepest of your sleep) and put them under my bed on arrival. Before going to bed and each morning I check them and fold the trap back in. You need the ones with the extra small reservoir of pheromone lures.

 
A guide to speaking Spanish on the Camino - enrich your pilgrim experience.
If you are planning to use permethrin to avoid bed bug bites, think again.

Permethrin does not deter bed bugs nor kill them on contact. They can crawl into your bag and get a quick meal. It does kill them with prolonged contact over a couple of hours. So if a bed bug did manage to get into your treated sleeping bag, it would probably not make it out alive. This is important because you don't want to transfer bed bugs from albergue to albergue or home!
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
Best thing to do is get a single sheet and spray it with Permethrin, then when you get to your albergue and pick your bunk, put the sheet on the mattress, then put the disposable sheet they give you on top of it, then your sleeping bag. I would also spray the sleeping bag outer as well and inside your rucksack. In the couple to few hours that sheet is on the mattress before you go to bed it should nuke anything insect wise that is in it or around it. Take it off the next morning and stuff it back in your rucksack.

As to where to get Permethrin, I'd pick it up in Australia. it's commonly used on mosquito nets. A small bottle goes a long way.

Had a quick look and you can get it from Amazon (Sawyer Products SP645 Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent for Clothing). If not most camping / outdoors type shops should have it.

In the UK, I use Lifesystems EX4 on mosquito nets, sleeping bags, tents and other camping gear. You can get it from most of the camping shops over here.
 
Best thing to do is get a single sheet and spray it with Permethrin, then when you get to your albergue and pick your bunk, put the sheet on the mattress, then put the disposable sheet they give you on top of it, then your sleeping bag. I would also spray the sleeping bag outer as well and inside your rucksack. In the couple to few hours that sheet is on the mattress before you go to bed it should nuke anything insect wise that is in it or around it. Take it off the next morning and stuff it back in your rucksack
I'm sorry, but bed bugs can crawl out from their hiding places in the walls or bed frame right inside your sleeping bag and bite you before anything permethrin treated has any effect on them.

The sheet on the bed will only kill any bed bugs that have prolonged contact with it, and bed bugs don't usually come out of the cracks in the walls and other hiding places until it's dark.
 
If you are planning to use permethrin to avoid bed bug bites, think again.

Permethrin does not deter bed bugs nor kill them on contact. They can crawl into your bag and get a quick meal. It does kill them with prolonged contact over a couple of hours. So if a bed bug did manage to get into your treated sleeping bag, it would probably not make it out alive. This is important because you don't want to transfer bed bugs from albergue to albergue or home!
I've read a good amount of studies about bed bugs and agree with trecile's post quoted above.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Do you know that the USA has a far bigger problem than Spain, In 20 years on the camino I have been bitten twice. Remember it is you that carries those bugs that is why as Hospis we insist that there are no packs are allowed on beds. One cannot blame the Albergue as the must have come from another source. There must be almost a thousand posts on our forum. Some people even claim that they got bugs from a long distance bus in the upholstery? To us long term forum members this can become tiresome ,without being condescending , just take precautions as you wish but nothing is foolproof or guaranteed.
 
If you decide to permethrin your clothes and bags do so before you leave. I use deet on my canvas bag whenever I travel. It doesn’t kill them but it does repel them. Bed bugs travel well in airline luggage and on trains, buses, backpacks. They will gladly reside in a four star hotel as well as an Albergue!
 
Thank you everyone for the advice. It is good to hear from experienced travellers and it is not surprising to receive a range of opinions.
Coming from Australia we are used to things that bite and sting or indeed take your leg off. But bed bugs are something we have never considered before. I think we will take the cautious approach and spray our backpacks and bedding.
I would still like to know if we can buy permethrin in SJPP. It would be easier then us carrying it from OZ and around Europe before we start our Camino.
Michael
 
A guide to speaking Spanish on the Camino - enrich your pilgrim experience.
You shouldn't need to carry it anywhere. Treat your things before you leave home.
Ok, that’s good to know. We leave OZ on 14 March but don’t start our Camino until 27 April. So it may be the case of a need to re-apply it before we start.
 
Thank you everyone for the advice. It is good to hear from experienced travellers and it is not surprising to receive a range of opinions.
Coming from Australia we are used to things that bite and sting or indeed take your leg off. But bed bugs are something we have never considered before. I think we will take the cautious approach and spray our backpacks and bedding.
I would still like to know if we can buy permethrin in SJPP. It would be easier then us carrying it from OZ and around Europe before we start our Camino.
Michael

I too live in Oz. I treat all my gear before leaving home.
It would be messy trying to do it whilst travelling...
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Ok, that’s good to know. We leave OZ on 14 March but don’t start our Camino until 27 April. So it may be the case of a need to re-apply it before we start.
I think that so long as you aren't washing the treated items often that it should last.
The website for Sawyer Permethrin Spray says:
Permethrin spray bonds to fabric fibers for up to 6 weeks (42 days) of exposure to sun and air or 6 washings.

If you have your things packed away and not exposed to the sun, and don't wash them before starting your Camino it seems like you shouldn't have to reapply.
 
@M&M from OZ my stuff I also treat before I leave home (Sydney). I try (!) to pick a nice dry day, soak my silk sack and bedclothes, and spray my backpack inside and out, then let it all dry thoroughly. Once done I can't tell its been treated. No odour, no noticeable residue on anything.
 
Join our full-service guided tour of the Basque Country and let us pamper you!
@M&M from OZ my stuff I also treat before I leave home (Sydney). I try (!) to pick a nice dry day, soak my silk sack and bedclothes, and spray my backpack inside and out, then let it all dry thoroughly. Once done I can't tell its been treated. No odour, no noticeable residue on anything.
Hi Kanga, that’s good advice. Can you please tell us which product you used and where to source over here. Thanks.
 
Hi Kanga, that’s good advice. Can you please tell us which product you used and where to source over here. Thanks.
Easiest to use is Equip which you can buy online in Australia. and lots of camping stores have it, eg Paddy Pallin. I did have it in a spray form but can't find where - but you could make it up and spray it on anyway.

A different brand, Bayer Coopex, not specifically for camping gear, is sold at Bunnings. I have not tried it so don't know how easy it is to use and if it has any downsides. There are also sprays made for the garden and using in aviaries, which I have used, but they are on a different base and can make things stink of petroleum oil.
 
We are travelling from Australia and touring Europe before we start our walk. It would therefore be preferable that we buy and apply Permethrin just before we start.
You can definitely buy Permethrin in Australia, I usually get mine from Paddy Palin but if you don't live in Sydney ask for stuff to treat clothes etc against mozzies. You have to soak your stuff then let it dry out so don't leave it to the last minute. It's not a cast iron solution but definitely reduces the chances of your transferring the little b,,,,,ds to the next albergue or home. Having said that, I've walked about twelve camino routes and worked as a hospi but only ever seen dead bedbugs, and that not very often.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Thank you everyone for the advice. It is good to hear from experienced travellers and it is not surprising to receive a range of opinions.
Coming from Australia we are used to things that bite and sting or indeed take your leg off. But bed bugs are something we have never considered before. I think we will take the cautious approach and spray our backpacks and bedding.
I would still like to know if we can buy permethrin in SJPP. It would be easier then us carrying it from OZ and around Europe before we start our Camino.
Michael
Hi, fellow Aussie here. I’m not sure if I encountered bedbugs on the Camino but… I did spray everything at the end and washed all cloth in 60 degrees at the laundromat at Santiago de Compostela. We were heading to a friend’s place in London and I didn’t want to take unwanted visitors. Buen Camino!
 
Hi, fellow Aussie here. I’m not sure if I encountered bedbugs on the Camino but… I did spray everything at the end and washed all cloth in 60 degrees at the laundromat at Santiago de Compostela. We were heading to a friend’s place in London and I didn’t want to take unwanted visitors. Buen Camino!
Hi, that's good to know. Still in two minds as to whether we spray our gear with Permethrin before leaving or not. Not long now before we start our Europe trip and getting down to the wire to do the spraying.
 
As others have noted above you are as likely to encounter Bedbugs in transit or in any accommodations anywhere in Europe as you are in any single location on the Camino de Santiago.
Treating your gear in advance gives two advantages: you have a level of protection before you even start associating with grubby Peregrinos and you won’t have to find supply and an application opportunity when you are already traveling
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
https://www.gronze.com/camino-frances will give you all the information you require.

Carrion de los Condes to Calzadilla de la Cueza at 17.2 km is probably the longest gap between retail opportunities

before you even start associating with grubby Peregrinos
My Bud , come on? You are out of line here , It was not my fault that I was bitten , it almost sounds as if I never showered and I was dirty and There was a young lady that I walked with and she was also bitten?
 

Most read last week in this forum

One way or another, you need to see this movie! We were lucky enough this evening to attend the 'World Premiere' that was followed by a Q&A Session with: Writer / Director / Producer - Bill...
Last year on my camino I was a bit annoyed when someone back home told me to enjoy my vacation. I bristled. Why did that word annoy me so much? I was on a pilgrimage! Anyway, I'm about to embark...
I was looking at the wisepilgrim app for the Frances route and noticed that the distances don't always add up from one side to the other. Has anyone else noticed this? Am I being overly observant...
I'm looking for the best app to use whilst walking on the Camino. Usually I just rely on my Apple watch but I'm leaving that at home, so need an app use that I can pause at rest stops etc...
I am currently working as a Hospitalaro in a newly reopened Donativo Albergue in Vergen del Camino, just a short distance from Leon. It was closed for 5 years due to, initially the pandemic. It is...
The logical thing for me to do is bring a Kindle, but TBH I like books, and for me leaving electronic gubbins behind while I do the Camino, appeals. I am thinking of taking one book on The...

❓How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2024 Camino Guides
Back
Top