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Bug bites

Discussion in 'Bed Bugs' started by Anne DR, Aug 11, 2017 at 3:16 PM.

  1. Anne DR

    Anne DR New Member

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    Woke up in Puenta la Reina covered literally from head to toe with bug bites. Very painful and discouraging on third day of the Camino.
     
  2. Lmsundaze

    Lmsundaze Active Member

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    I'm so sorry this happened to you. I was bitten also. I hope this isn't the wrong place for this, but I am very allergic to insect bites and carry some strong oral antihistamines "just in case."
     
  3. linkster

    linkster Active Member

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    @Anne DR were they bed bug bites? If so, you should to take additional precautions to eradicate them from yourself and your kit! You may want to solicit the help of the hospitalero. They need to know anyway, so that they can stop the next peregrinos from the fate that has befallen you. Everything washed and dryed at a high temperature to kill them. Maybe a visit to the farmacia for some topicals and antihistamines as suggested.

    Buena Suerte
     
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  4. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    It's not necessary to wash. Just using the drier will kill them faster, and be less hard on delicate fabrics.
     
  5. WhiteLilies

    WhiteLilies Member

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    Where were you staying in Puenta la Reina?
     
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  6. Anne DR

    Anne DR New Member

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    I machine washed and machine dried everything I could at next stop. Bought topical allergy cream today. Any suggestions on how to protect myself? Counted 50+ bites on one leg alone!
     
  7. Anne DR

    Anne DR New Member

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    Is it ok to post name of albergue?
     
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  8. WhiteLilies

    WhiteLilies Member

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    Anne, I sent you PM.
     
  9. jsalt

    jsalt Jill Donating Member

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    Hi, bed bug bites can sometimes show only one or two days later. It could have been the albergue / hotel / casa rural / pension that you stayed the night before . . . or the one before that . . . .
    Jill
     
  10. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    DEET is the only effective insect repellent for bed bugs.
     
  11. BillyJane70

    BillyJane70 Member

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    Soldier on peregrina, you've got this:) Buen Camino!
     
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  12. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    Hola @Anne DR - real bummer. You have so far done the right thing in washing and dry (at high temps - 60C) all your clothes.

    Did you report your event to the Albergue you were staying at when you discovered the bites?? Its a good idea to do so, so that they can then really clean the bed/bunk you used.

    I & my "Camino Daughter" has a similar painful experience - and we usually do a thorough inspection of the bunks before putting any of our gear near them. We ended up spending around Euro30 on washing and drying all our gear - as well as spraying our backpacks (inside & out) and left them in the sun for 2 or 3 hours. I really treated ALL my gear before leaving Oz so you can never be 100% protected. Hopefully the rest of your Camino will be a success. Cheers
     
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  13. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    It is sad to hear this. I think most of this has been said already, but there are three things to think about:
    1. treat yourself, which might involve getting to a doctor or hospital if the bites are extensive and become infected.
    2. protect yourself from this happening again, which might include using an insect repellent (DEET has already been mentioned), checking beds and bedding before you sleep in any particular bed, getting a barrier sheet - typically a large sheet treated with permethrin if you can find one, and treating clothing and gear with an insecticide such as pyrethrum or permethrin, using a heat treatment, or some other combination of these.
    3. protect others - let the hospitaleros know at the places you stayed over the previous few days that you have been bitten. I have seen references to bite marks taking a few days to appear. Let them know which bed you used if you can remember, which will help them target their own inspection and treatment to a particular room or area.
     
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  14. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    As I have now had this problem a few times, I do the following:

    1. Treat all my sleeping gear with permethrin before I leave home, and spray my backpack inside and out with permethrin spray.
    2. Carry a large plastic garbage bad into which I put my backpack before putting it down - and seal it every night.
    3. Carefully inspect the bed before putting anything on it, including pulling up the mattress and looking at the bed frame/slats and underside of the mattress (seams particularly).
    4. Put a permethrin treated layer between myself and the bed and pillow, and sleep inside a permethrin treated silk sleeping bag liner.
    5. Anything not in the backpack keep in a permethrin treated rolled and sealed dry bag (e.g. passport, wallet, smartphone that I keep beside myself in bed)
    6. Choose a top bunk.
    7. Cover myself in Deet before going to sleep. Yuk, and unless you are paranoid like me avoid if you can.

    Doing all that, so far I have not been bitten again, but I have not tested it on a long camino.
     
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  15. markmcilroy

    markmcilroy Member Donating Member

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    Hi Kanga...point 3..a permethrin treated layer, what do you actually use as the layer?
     
  16. HedaP

    HedaP Active Member Donating Member

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    I have my fingers in my ears and am humming loudly, really loudly. I've been lucky on two caminos but them little bug...s is scary.
    Sorry you got bitten and especially so badly but well done you for doing all the right things.
    PS Also thanks for all the good advice in posts above.
     
  17. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    @markmcilroy the last camino I used a large size microfibre towel, that I'd treated with permethrin before leaving home, it happened to be what I had with me. Now I have a Lifesystems bed bug sheet (see this link). It is very light and I'd use that next time. A note of caution, the single sheet is not really big enough - hard to tuck in - so I purchased the double.
     
  18. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member

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    Have you slept on it yet? It looks like a net in the close-up -- is it comfortable?
     
  19. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Yes, I found it comfortable although I sleep inside my silk sleeping bag liner, so not directly on top. It is some kind of net. I am able to tuck it well in under the mattress. I can see how the single size might pull out. I purchased the double on advice from those who had the single size.

    I have to say that the most comfortable I've ever been on camino was the year I took a single silk fitted sheet, and slept on that and under my down quilt. Luxury. Unfortunately I also got bitten by beg bugs. So I'm back in a cocoon.
     
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  20. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member

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    @Kanga, do you think a plastic bag is more effective for overnight protection than an Osprey Airporter, in addition to being 99.7% less expensive?
     
  21. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    To be effective, it needs to have no entry points for bugs, or complex seams for them to hide. A plastic bag, tied at the top, would work as long as it doesn't have any holes! Beware the noise, though. I use a large fold-top dry bag.
     
  22. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    I looked online at the Osprey Airporter, when thinking about checking in my pack for flying, but decided they were an expensive option, and unnecessary weight. I think the same for bed bug protection. Large plastic garbage bags work fine - @Tigger found some good ones, slightly thicker than the normal garbage bags, bright red.
     
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  23. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member

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    I'll be schlepping on planes and trains before and after the Camino, so I need to figure out how to manage my pack for that, too. Might be a permethrin-soaked Ikea Frakta bag.
     
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  24. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    @C clearly is right - I wanted to use a dry bag but my Aarn pack is quite "fat" with the front balance packs, and does not fit easily inside even the largest (lightweight) one. Length is OK, the width is the problem. So the red garbage bag it is. I don't think the thicker bags are too much of a noise problem (the pack only goes in and out), and they seemed to last pretty well. We had a few extra incase.

    I use something similar to the Ikea bag for the flight - but I don't know if it is is bug proof - if yes, then that would be an option.
     
  25. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I just carry mine on my back! :) If it needs to be checked, I tighten the straps and send it on its way.
     
  26. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member

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    Also have an Aarn, something of a contraption for jumping on planes and trains. Think I need a bag to lasso it all together when schlepping. :)

    I like the idea of something that can serve double duty as a bedbug barrier.
     
  27. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    @tjb1013 try the Ikea bag and report back please! If it is waterproof then it is bedbug proof.
     
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  28. copado

    copado New Member

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    The number of bites could suggest noseeums? No seeums are an almost invisible fly that bite often 10 or more places. They can cause a huge welt and reaction. I am not personally aware of wether they have them in that area, however, if you had 50 plus on one leg that would probably suggest an infestation of bed bugs, or perhaps noseeums.

    In any case, if the welts are very itchy and swollen you can try Benadryl at night and a non drowsy antihistamine in the day. These would probably be more effective and better than steroid creams, which can increase the risk of infections.

    PM me the name of the host am if you are up for that. I will be going through in 3 weeks... better safe than sorry.

    Thanks.
     
  29. Janetlm

    Janetlm New Member

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    Where did you stay?
     
  30. Janetlm

    Janetlm New Member

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    Yes please
     
  31. JillGat

    JillGat la tierra encantada Donating Member

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    I think that avoiding this particular albergue would give you a false sense of security. Hopefully she told the hospitalera/os and they have treated the place by now. Anne, I'm curious if you checked out the bed/under the mattress, etc and didn't see any signs of bedbugs?

    I certainly don't want to get bit by bedbugs on the Camino and will be spraying my bag liner and pack with Permethrin. Gonna carry those travel wipes with DEET. I'll also do a cursory look around the bed before I lie down.

    That being said, I've been bitten by different kinds of bugs all over the world and have survived so far. I didn't think I would, after being stung by a poisonous caterpillar in Trinidad and Tobago that hurt worse than anything I've ever felt, and the pain traveled into my joints and affected my heart rhythm. I got lice in Central America (as well as Hepatitis A), horrific noseeums in Mexico, mosquitos of course a lot of places (and those may actually be the most dangerous, with the diseases they can carry). And, I hate to tell you, but, even with the Permethrin, I came home from the Camino last year with scabies.

    I'm meaning to reassure you here, really I am. I don't regret a single adventure I've ever had (except for the one with a guy named Marc, which I won't go into here).
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017 at 8:58 AM
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  32. copado

    copado New Member

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    Yes the bugs drive us nuts, but Hep A and B are much bigger health risks. Two vaccine injections, initial and a booster at three months can provide immunity, on of which is spread through food, especially ice.
     
  33. JillGat

    JillGat la tierra encantada Donating Member

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    Yeah, I got it before the vaccine was available...
     
  34. copado

    copado New Member

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    Sorry to hear that... guessing everything resolved. Good that you shared these stories with folks so they have the awareness. Thanks.
     
  35. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I think that you need to contemplate that you might not have been bitten in the place where you first detected the bites. Second, if you have already informed the hospitaleros in the places you stayed in the days before you detected the bites, they should have already treated the problem if it was in their albergue, and be watching for any recurrence. It would then be unnecessary for others to avoid staying in these places. Overall, I think it does more harm than good if you have already advised the albergues themselves.
     
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  36. ranthr

    ranthr Active Member Donating Member

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    I have sewn two of these bed bug sheets together to a bag, works good.
     
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  37. marigold

    marigold Member

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    This all sounds scary but I don't want to dwell on it too much, having been on the Camino a few times with no problems. Questions: how does a protective sheet help if they can hide in bed frame? What is the difference between permethrin and deet and which should you use? ( both as prevention and treatment). Where do you buy permethrin in the UK?
    Sorry to hear about poor Ann. How are you getting on?
     
  38. Anne DR

    Anne DR New Member

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    I didn't know all the correct procedures about informing albergue. I tried calling today but my call keeps dropping. It was Padres Reparadores where I felt bitten. I was in room 5 first lower bed on left. If someone can please let them know. I'll try to call again.
     
  39. Anne DR

    Anne DR New Member

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    I didn't know all the correct procedures about informing albergue. I tried calling today but my call keeps dropping. It was Padres Reparadores where I felt bitten. I was in room 5 first lower bed on left. If someone can please let them know. I'll try to call again.
     
  40. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Pyrethrum and permethrin are both insecticides, and kill insects, but have very little repellent effect. Pyrethrum is a plant extract, but does no persist very long. Permethrin is a manufactured chemical with long persistance.
    DEET is an insect repellent, and won't kill insects. It is applied to the skin or to clothing where there are entry points - collars, cuffs, waistbands, etc.
    They need to eat, and come out in the dark to feed on suitable hosts - people. A protective sheet is designed to create a lethal barrier where the bed bug will accumulate a lethal dose of insecticide before it reaches you. Any bed bug who stays home won't be affected, but those that wander out for a meal will be.
    Will they accumulate a lethal dose from the sheet. Clearly that is the plan, but there is evidence that some have higher levels of tolerance than others. Will they die before they reach you. That seems less certain - perhaps they will have their last meal, but not live to enjoy it!!

    Someone else will have to answer this question.
     
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  41. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    Most of the big outdoor gear shops like Cotswold Outdoor or Go Outdoors sell it in spray bottles. The most common brand seems to be Lifesystems but there are several others. Usually marketed as anti-mosquito spray but permethrin is the active ingredient and it works for a range of other insects including bed bugs.

    https://www.lifesystems.co.uk/products/insect-repellents/ex4-anti-mosquito-spray
     
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  42. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    @Anne DR, I have emailed them a link to this thread. I obtained the email address from www.gronze.com. It was the second link that came up when I searched for albergue padres rapadores. The first was trip advisor, which didn't give me an email address. It was not hard to find with access to the web, which clearly you do.
     
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  43. marigold

    marigold Member

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    Thanks Doug. But if a bug walks up the bed frame and onto me a sheet won't make any difference. .I'm thinking ' do I really want to carry extra weight?'. What about if I spray my sleeping bag with deet?
     
  44. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I'm not tall enough or wide enough to come in regular contact with the bed frame. You would be better off treating your sleeping bag liner with permethrin in my view, and using that even when you don't need your sleeping bag. Its really your call on how much you want to do to protect yourself.

    Also, if you have walked several times before without problems, it is possible that you have been bitten without reacting to the bites, or even not bitten at all.
     
  45. linkster

    linkster Active Member

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    Here is a hyperlink to the Camino Podcast by Dave Winston Episode 24 - Round Trip (and Bed Bugs).
    • "This episode also features an interview with Dr. Michael Potter from the University of Kentucky--an entomologist with great expertise in the realm of bed bugs. He corrects some common misunderstandings about bed bug prevention techniques and offers some strategies that all pilgrims can employ to keep themselves bite-free."

    Potter says that permethrin has not been proven to be effective for bed bugs. I have used permethrin on every wilderness trip for mosquitoes and ticks. I have never used it in a communal sleeping facility.

    Here is a hyperlink to the Permethrin Soak Method Guide. I use the soak method on clothing, silk sleeping bag liner, and spray other items pack, sleeping bags, etc.
     
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  46. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Active Member

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    Really? I use permathrin...does it have deet in it? I suppose I should google for an answer, but more fun to ask on the forum. :)
     
  47. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Permethrin is not a repellent, it is an insecticide. @falcon269 specifically spoke of DEET as an insect repellent.
     
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  48. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Active Member

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    Thanks, Doug. I wonder if they both work equally, or which one is potentially more harmful to humans with the chemicals being used.
    OOPS! I just noticed all the prior discussion on this topic. I failed to read them all before I asked my question, but then I'm not fully awake yet this morning.o_O
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017 at 1:13 PM
  49. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    They do different things! Plenty of articles, scholarly and otherwise, on the web. Noting that there will always be issues with any insecticide or repellent, DEET and permethrin are considered safe when used in accordance with a manufacturers MSDS.
     
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  50. tjb1013

    tjb1013 Member

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    That was good, thanks for re-posting it.

    Short version: Check the bed, seal up your stuff at night.

    Longer: He's very skeptical about the spraying - his studies found one permethrin product completely ineffective when sprayed on suitcases. What he does recommend:
    1. Check for bedbugs, especially around the head of the bed (they are attracted to CO2, so they can leave more signs there).
    2. Close your backpack up at night with all your stuff inside, and, if you can, hang it on a hook or elevate it off the floor on a hard surface. Don't create a "bridge" from the bed to the pack. Do NOT put your pack on another bed or leave stuff thrown loosely around on the floor or another bed.
    3. Optionally, carry a trash bag and put your stuff in it and close it up at night.
    @linkster also posted this link to Winston's bedbug information pages. He's got a Spanish version and someone contributed a Portuguese version.

    If you suspect you are infested, give your stuff a 15-minute run in a clothes dryer (best when dry - the items will heat up faster - and with enough room to tumble in the dryer). In the summer, sometimes leaving things open in the sun or in a closed car can be sufficient. The killing temperature for pretty much all insects is 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

    We should start a program to contribute the "ClimbUp" devices to albergues. These devices trap bedbugs trying to climb up the bed legs. I wonder if the folks would welcome them or see them as a sign of a past problem.
     
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  51. MiB

    MiB New Member

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  52. MiB

    MiB New Member

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    Hi Anne,
    Can you please let me know which Albergue you were in, so that I can avoid that one, in Sep/Oct? Grateful
    Perhaps the last two or three places you stayed when you discovered these bites. I really wish to avoid such an inconvenience and painful experience. Worse even, is that these creatures can be passed on to the next place and/or come home with you!
    Good luck, Marilyn
     
  53. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

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    They will be elsewhere, so avoiding these places, which may have been sanitized and de-bugged, won't help you much!:)
     
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  54. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Camino addict

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    You may have come in contact with the bedbugs before Puente La Reina, as it can sometimes take 24-48 hours for the bites to appear. Contact the albergues you were at before PLR as well.
     
  55. oldman

    oldman oldman Donating Member

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    I use a divan mattress cover a very deep one , the type with the plastic cover ( with the plastic cover removed ) you are left with a very light stretchy sheet that goes over the pillow and the mattress and then the silk liner on top ,all treated with permethrin.
    In 5 Camino's I have never had any problems.
     
  56. Sunbun

    Sunbun New Member Donating Member

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    Would you PM me also? Thanks
     
  57. Nelia L Keiser

    Nelia L Keiser Member

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    I used this on my way back from the camino. Had my pack poles and chocolate. Shipped it to Ivar from Madrid with a small Tote with civilian clothes as I spent a few days in Madrid.
     
  58. Marcus-UK

    Marcus-UK Old Git

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    The issues with bed bugs during the Camino have been covered by various people. However a major issue is that post camino any bed bug larvae that have survived the various methods dicussed can infect your home and prove very difficult to erradicate. Since bed bugs don't survive extremes of heat and cold there are two recommendations that should be followed when you arrive home. 1) If you have a large enough freezer, place your pack and contents into a double bin bag an place in the freezer for 24 hours - 100% kill rate with no chemicals. 2) Alternatively wash all clothes on a hot cycle. Place your pack in a double bin bag and spray contents in permethrin and seal the bag and leave in your garage for a week.
     
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  59. good_old_shoes

    good_old_shoes Member

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    Sorry you're dealing with that problem, bed bugs are so, so annoying!

    From my experience you'll have a hard time not to end up in an albergue with bed bugs at least once on the Francés in summer. The little vampires seemed to be everywhere this year, difficult to avoid.

    All you can do is learn how to reduce the risk of being bitten and what to do so you won't take them to another place or even home. Others have given advice on that already. Good info out in the net also, do some research, know your enemy, so to speak.

    Anyway... don't forget to enjoy your Camino, even with bed bugs :) - especially while you're sitting half naked in the laundry room, wrapped in a borrowed rain poncho or towel only, while all your stuff is doing rounds in the washing machine for hours! It's fun, at least for the others who are watching... especially for those who at that moment still claim you're just being paranoid (that is, until they get bitten themselves a few days later :D)!





    Happy bug-free Camino!
     
  60. madeleinep

    madeleinep New Member

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    What does the bug cover weigh. Trying to keep my weight at 11lbs.

    Thanks
     
  61. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    According to the website the single weighs 100gms, the double 220gms.
     
  62. JillGat

    JillGat la tierra encantada Donating Member

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    Just don't ask to borrow *my* towel...
     
  63. HedaP

    HedaP Active Member Donating Member

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    Can't beat that price. Will keep it in mind.
     
  64. HedaP

    HedaP Active Member Donating Member

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    In an ideal world that is definitely how it would work but in my experience the reality is some hospitaleros do not want to know about bedbugs.
     
  65. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Camino addict

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    Kanga likes this.
  66. KinkyOne

    KinkyOne Veteran Member

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    I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
    Maybe you would want to read all the posts as the OP already posted the answer to your question.

    And I can answer to your sub-questions: yes and yes!
     
  67. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    It might melt. Deet eats plastics and nylons. Most sleeping bags have a nylon covering.
     
  68. martin1ws

    martin1ws Member

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    Check for bedbugs... images for example here:
    https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef636
    or
    http://caminosantiago2.blogspot.de/2011/06/dont-let-bedbugs-bite.html

    As far as I understand this, only point 1 (Check for bedbugs) is for avoiding bed bugs (Point 2 and 3 is for avoiding taking bed bugs to the next albergue).
    As I do not want to use DEET or permethrin if I can avoid it...

    Who got bug bites in spite of the fact that he or she has checked for bedbugs before using a bed ?
    Do you feel "safe enough" if you only check for bedbugs (and follow point 2 and 3 for the other albergues)?
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 1:33 PM
  69. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Camino addict

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    You don't need to be in the presence of a full blown infestation to be bitten. All you need is to come in fontact with the bugs brought in the day before. As well, it's not because there was once an infestation that left traces that the place has not been fumigated since, leaving all bb dead by the time you arrive.
     
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  70. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I did. As @Anemone del Camino says, there might only be a few bugs (or even one) that arrived the day before. You are not likely to see evidence. I have several times received 2 or 3 or 4 bites after having inspected. (I would guess that 50 bites would not come from a single bug.)
     
  71. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I now have three bug episodes under my camino belt. The first one, on the Vdlp long ago, was clearly bed bugs I know this because I was walking with a member of the Spanish army who had a lot of experience. He took care of me and my things while I spent a lovely afternoon sitting in a bathrobe on the roof terrace of the Casa Perin in Villafranca dos Barros.

    But the other two were more uncertain. Both last year (Ruta del Ebro) and this year (Norte), I woke up one morning with a lot of bites on my body. In both cases I dealt with them as though they were bedbugs, but it's been suggested to me that they were probably fleas -- in part because of the time of year (early in the season). Any tips on how to make a more certain diagnosis?
     
  72. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    My understanding is that you cannot make a certain diagnosis. Every individual reacts differently, as for any allergic reaction. You have only circumstantial evidence to go on.

    When I get 2 or 3 bites that are unique to my Camino experience (I could go into detail about them) and similar to the one time I actually saw bedbugs, I believe they are bedbugs and I treat my things accordingly.

    However, I find it difficult to report to an albergue that "I have 3 bites that I think are bedbugs and that I might have received last night or the night before."

    So, I continue general precautions and accept a few bites as a fact of the Camino. It almost doesn't matter if those bites really were bedbugs or something else, as long as I treat my things as if they were.
     
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  73. martin1ws

    martin1ws Member

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    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 6:01 PM
  74. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    How does it matter? Assume they are, and decontaminate.
     

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