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Bedbugs on CF

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Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
I’ve never ever experienced them before now but wondering if anyone else has been affected this week on the first 2-3 stops ?
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
last week, did not see or hear of any cases.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I hope everyone has packed a flashlight or headlamp and that they put them to good use checking under, around and along the edges of the mattress for signs of bugs, black spots etc before they put their stuff or themselves on any bed. And that no one brings toxic or strong smelling products to spray on the mattresses or pillows - just imagine the build-up over one season! Spray your stuff at home if you like but check for bugs with your torches and eyes. Tell the hospitaler@ if you see any signs, or if you have been bitten, so they can help you clean your stuff. Buen bug-free camino!
 

AlexanderAZ

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 (Sept/Oct): CF: SJPdP-->Fisterra-->Muxia (solo)
2019 (late Sept): CF: SJPdP-->Leon (honeymoon!)
I hope everyone has packed a flashlight or headlamp and that they put them to good use checking under, around and along the edges of the mattress for signs of bugs, black spots etc before they put their stuff or themselves on any bed.
I had two incidences of bedbugs in 2017 and this after carrying a treated bedbug sheet (which I later discarded) and treating gear with Permethrin. I avoided a third incident just by checking around mattress. I leave next week for CF again and you can bet we will closely inspect before deciding to stay. I've never experienced itching as I did with the bites. Ended up getting creme to treat some that were infected.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Checking around the mattress and mattress seams is an absolute necessity for bedbug inspections, as mentioned above. I even will check around any headboards and the foundation the mattress rest on (bed springs, wood slats, plywood board, etc).
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
The only time I was in an albergue when there may have been bedbug bites the night before was when one I was in was full and the dorm room, holding about twenty pilgrims had several that were quite slovenly and had all their kit just scattered about on the floor. Basically slobs. I took quick notice of them and chose a bed as far away as possible even though it meant a top bunk. Mind you, the albergue was clean and tidy. Unlike those pilgrims. Next day one of the pilgrims in the room discovered three itchy welts on his calves. Possible it occurred there, possibly not. It's just that those piles of clothing and gear on the floor looked suspect.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I have been bitten twice in 3500+ km on the Spanish caminos, both times I didn't check. Both times I saw (and killed) the bugs after the fact so I knew where I had been bitten, and both times new 'bites' kept appearing up to four days later even though I had not been bitten again, so unless you see the bugs you can't be sure where it happened. If you do see them, tell the hospitaler@ and sort your gear out! Also I never put my pack on the bed, and all my stuff is separated into drybags just in case. There are ways of minimising the risk of bites and transfer, though I suppose some people don't think about it.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
I have been bitten twice in 3500+ km on the Spanish caminos, both times I didn't check. Both times I saw (and killed) the bugs after the fact so I knew where I had been bitten, and both times new 'bites' kept appearing up to four days later even though I had not been bitten again, so unless you see the bugs you can't be sure where it happened. If you do see them, tell the hospitaler@ and sort your gear out! Also I never put my pack on the bed, and all my stuff is separated into drybags just in case. There are ways of minimising the risk of bites and transfer, though I suppose some people don't think about it.
Yup. Sleeping bag, top sheet, sleep clothes (never sleep in what I plan to walk in) all in a permethrin treated dry bag, and still check the bed for signs. Backpack hung from the bunk above with one of those paint can hooks. That reminds me, leaving Tuesday for the Ingles, let me go spray my stuff right now.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Invierno (2019)
Camino Frances (2021)
I hope everyone has packed a flashlight or headlamp and that they put them to good use checking under, around and along the edges of the mattress for signs of bugs, black spots etc before they put their stuff or themselves on any bed. And that no one brings toxic or strong smelling products to spray on the mattresses or pillows - just imagine the build-up over one season! Spray your stuff at home if you like but check for bugs with your torches and eyes. Tell the hospitaler@ if you see any signs, or if you have been bitten, so they can help you clean your stuff. Buen bug-free camino!
Last Night in an Albergue a lady sprayed her bed. I looked at her and asked what she was doing. She replied doesn’t it smell good? No I said and she didn’t speak to me after that. 😳 I don’t know what she sprayed with but we all smelled it 🙄🙄🙄
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Last Night in an Albergue a lady sprayed her bed
This is one of the reasons I keep going on about checking for bugs. NO it doesn't smell good - bug sprays, repellents, essential oils, none of them smell good to someone who is sensitive to smells or chemicals, like my mother, or just grumpy about unnecessary chemicals, like myself. The dorms can smell bad as it is sometimes, but nobody has the right to force their choice of toxins and strong smells on anyone else. And no, tea tree or lavender oil isn't OK either!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
We are volunteering at Pilgrim House in Santiago and hearing current horror stories. I know how hard hospitaleros work keeping albergues clean so no locations will be shared. Bed bugs also travel well. Be the cleanest most vigilant Pilgrim. ultreya
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
We are volunteering at Pilgrim House in Santiago and hearing current horror stories. I know how hard hospitaleros work keeping albergues clean so no locations will be shared. Bed bugs also travel well. Be the cleanest most vigilant Pilgrim. ultreya
Exactly.
When I get a chance, and the facilities are there as well as the sunshine and warm weather, I wash/rinse down my backpack and hiking shoes outside and hang them up to dry, which they do fairly quickly on warm sunny days. I also give my sleeping bag or just liner on warm Caminos, a good shake down and inspection outside, and turn it inside out as well and leave to hang in the hot sun if I can. All of that takes all of 15 minutes or so, but I notice few pilgrims do it. Your pack and footwear are probably some of the sweatiest part of your kit and need cleaning just like your clothing.
 

NancyLee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino Mar-April 2018
Last weekend (sept 14) a gentleman from Switzerland encountered serious bed bug bites in Mansilla. He got treated in Leon.
NancyLee
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I also hope people are bringing antihistamines - you might not need them, but someone else might! Some people react very badly to bites and some don't, glad to hear he got treated.
 

taigirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2019
I’ve never ever experienced them before now but wondering if anyone else has been affected this week on the first 2-3 stops ?
Bedbugs last week in the Pension Calle Mayor in Najera. Woke to them crawling all over the top sheet. I spray myself with lavender oil before bed and didn't seem to get bitten. They were full of blood but not mine.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Last Night in an Albergue a lady sprayed her bed. I looked at her and asked what she was doing. She replied doesn’t it smell good? No I said and she didn’t speak to me after that. 😳 I don’t know what she sprayed with but we all smelled it 🙄🙄🙄
Some people think that lavender scent deters them, but there's no evidence to support that. Some people find the scent of lavender to be calming. Others, like me find it annoying.
We are volunteering at Pilgrim House in Santiago and hearing current horror stories
Yes, bedbugs can be an annoyance or worse for those who get bad reactions, but let's save the word horror for things that are truly horrific.
 

taigirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2019
Some people think that lavender scent deters them, but there's no evidence to support that. Some people find the scent of lavender to be calming. Others, like me find it annoying.

Yes, bedbugs can be an annoyance or worse for those who get bad reactions, but let's save the word horror for things that are truly horrific.
I agree. What I didn't mention was that I was in a two bed room with a friend who was quite happy with my spray. And I don't know if lavender oil works or if I was just lucky.
 

cbacino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
I’ve never ever experienced them before now but wondering if anyone else has been affected this week on the first 2-3 stops ?
Bedbugs are a fact of life in hostels. You may never have an encounter, but you may. Do your homework (check out mattress, etc). Good luck.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
Bedbugs are a fact of life in hostels. You may never have an encounter, but you may. Do your homework (check out mattress, etc). Good luck.
And check out bedbug reports through other sources. I know we don't name names here, but there are multiple reports of an infestation at a Santiago hostel that been on for several weeks. Staff and/or management can change over the course of a season, with an accompanying change of practice. In the very first albergue I stayed in (France), I took note when, after informing the volunteer hospitalera that I has stripped the bed (to help her out, I thought), she got rather upset, asked me where I had put the sheets, retrieved said sheets from the laundry room and replaced them on the bed. You can never assume that you're sleeping on clean sheets in any establishment.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Bedbugs last week in the Pension Calle Mayor in Najera. Woke to them crawling all over the top sheet. I spray myself with lavender oil before bed and didn't seem to get bitten. They were full of blood but not mine.
Well I think it could have been your blood, but maybe you are one of those lucky peregrinos who doesn’t have a reaction to the bites. I think, but I am no expert, that it’s very unlikely that they would be all over your bed and not bite you. Wish I be one of those lucky reaction-free peregrinos!

I had always thought that bed bugs did not carry diseases but this law firm says otherwise. https://whitneyfirm.com/what-causes-different-reactions-to-bed-bug-bites/

The info does strike me as a bit over the top though.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Those who have followed @peregrina2000 's link above might also wish to try this one https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/gen_info/detailed.html Kissing Bugs & Bed Bugs might all be Bugs but they ain't the same Bugs. This site https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3744395/ might lead you to conclude that BB's would rather have a live human to feed on than do 'owt to thin us out.

Those happy to take medical advice from a Lawyer might like to discuss their neighbourhood boundary disputes with the Duty Nurse at their local Health Centre. ;)
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Lucky me! Walking caminos nearly every year since 2005 and never met a bedbug. Somebody was bitten at the Embalse albergue on VdlP when I stayed there, but I am sure that was mosquitobites due to the wellknown summing sound. Anyway, I check the beds every time I stay in a place to sleep, in Norway as well as on the camino.My husband thinks that I am a bit crazy when I ask the reseptionist in a hotel whether they have regular bedbugscontrols.
 

calmeg

Member
Personally, I do not go to "apartment and hotel bed bug lawyers" for advice on different physical reactions to bed bug bites.
Why bedbugs do not transmit pathogens to humans is not understood, but if they did transmit Chagas disease regularly, we would expect to see outbreaks of the disease wherever the bugs, infected people from Latin America, and non infected people reside (ie the Camino). The data suggest this does not happen, but has been described as possible.
In Leon we shared a room in an albergue with 2 Germans who the next morning told us they had been bitten by BB a week prior, but had not seen any since. Ten minutes after they left we were eating some bananas at the little table in the room when we saw a BB walking acrss one of our packs. We panicked, killed the insect (full of blood) but we had no bites. That was the first BB we had seen in 6 caminos! Never saw another in the next month of traveling, but made sure to check our packs and contents when we got home!
 

JudyWanaWander

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
PlanFuture(2020)
I am planning my trip for 2020. What if you find BB's and it is the only bed in town? What if you have no choice? BB spread disease. The problem is huge. If you sleep on a bed with BB (they can hide pretty much anywhere), you can plan that they are taking a ride with you and you will never get rid of them. They infect you backpack, clothes, everything. You would have to spray everything with primanthan. I'm getting totally turned off to the trip now. The diseases you can get from the bites are no joke. https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2014/november/penn-study-shows-bed-bugs-can
 
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C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
What if you find BB's and it is the only bed in town?
You can either sleep in the only bed in town, sit in the lounge area of the albergue, start walking, or get a taxi onward.
BB spread disease.
Actually there has been no evidence, that I'm aware of, that they have ever spread a disease to humans. It seems to be a theoretically possibility. There are many worse hazards on the Camino - getting hit by a car, falling down, eating or drinking the wrong thing. Now that I think of it, these are exactly the same sort of hazards I encounter at home. Life is risky!

I'm getting totally turned off to the trip now.
I would never "recommend" the camino to someone who is extremely anxious about bedbugs. They exist. Upon occasion, they will be in the same room as you, whether you know it or not! :eek: But the risk of significant problems is low - but I strongly recommend that you take appropriate precautions at the end of your trip.
 

Bob Howard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
Frances 2018
What's the conventional wisdom about bedbugs and seasonality? Do they tend to die off in the winter, and gradually return through the summer? Be interesting to know what the worst months are--September/October?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
@calmeg I think it is likely that the two Germans transported the bedbugs you saw. A good reason to treat camino gear with permethrin--makes it very hard for the BB to hitchhike.
That's why I spray my backpack, sleep sack and all my cloth stuff sacks with permethrin. It doesn't kill repel bedbugs or on contact, but as you can see in this YouTube video, it will kill them over time. I figure that even if bedbugs get in my backpack they aren't getting out alive. 😀

 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe (01/2019)
SJPdP- Meseta (28/09/2019)
Given the option I take top bunk. I'm suspect of little critters abseilng (free falling) from underneath mattress above if on bottom bunk. I picked up random fact that there attracted to CO2 we emit when breathing out so I try not to breath when Im asleep. Three Caminos, no bites and alive at last 🤠
 

Jermann75

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2018
Given the option I take top bunk. I'm suspect of little critters abseilng (free falling) from underneath mattress above if on bottom bunk. I picked up random fact that there attracted to CO2 we emit when breathing out so I try not to breath when Im asleep. Three Caminos, no bites and alive at last 🤠
I hear you. On the morning before hitting Santiago, I awoke to a bed bug in my bed. I was on the lower bunk. My husband on the top. I recieved over 100 bites. He recieved 0. If I ever do the Camino again, I'll be requesting the top bunk every time. (that was the 3rd time I was bitten on my first camino).
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I’ve never ever experienced them before now but wondering if anyone else has been affected this week on the first 2-3 stops ?
Yes in the last 2 week my husband and I were each bitten on separate times.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
Anniesantiago Bed Bugs 65
P Rat Bed Bugs 4
Felice Bed Bugs 3
ValDur Bed Bugs 3
P Bed Bugs 4

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