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Bugs / Insects on Route Frances

misspenn2519

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May/June 2024
Hello! I am starting the Route Frances on May 20 and looking at weather to pick my clothes but also figured I should factor the bug situation into the equation since I don't want to weigh down my pack with bottles of bug spray. How bad are the bugs on the Route Frances - and I don't mean bed bugs; I'm thinking mosquitos, spiders, bees, ticks - anything that bites or stings. If they're bad, I'll plan to wear more long pants even if it's warmer out and crew socks. If not so bad, I'm thinking capris and crew socks. Thoughts? Thank you!
 
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Hi Misspenn, I’ve walked in Spain 5 times in May/June (Frances, Norte and Madrid) and have never been bothered by any of the varmints you’ve mentioned. I left my bug spray at home after the first time. I have heard folks complain about flies or mosquitos along the Canal de Castilla out of Boadilla, but I think that might happen later in the summer. Perhaps others will chime in. Buen Camino!
 
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I've only ever been troubled with flies, and then only on occasion. One might do the whole walk and not encounter them, but when they are around - its a real beetch. Next time I will be taking my 40 gram net that even covers my ball cap. Something like this:

coghlans-no-see-um-head-net-n-s--8d106476-89ac-4a08-abce-08d5ade2d950-jpgrendition.jpg
 
We have never had any problem with bugs on any Camino.

Head nets remind me of a friend who had an allergic reaction to what ever he had trapped inside the head net.

From our fairly remote wilderness location, it took two days to get him to a cart track and eventual hospital.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I am a magnet for biting insects.

Never had any issues in Spain.

Maybe a mosquito here an there, but much less than what I am used to from home (Germany).

Have never seen a tick in Spain.

Spiders leave you alone unless you try to hurt them and even then there's nothing really dangerous here in Europe.

Bees are friendly. Please do not kill them, they're needed.

If you see the hairy caterpillars walking in a row, don't touch them. It can cause an allergic reaction.

But really, bugs are nothing to be concerned about. Spain is not Australia.

The only thing that was problematic for me so far were indeed bed bugs. Needed antibitotics, antihistamins and cortisone for a week the last time they got me. Not funny. But what can you do, they exist, it's part of my Caminos to try and avoid them, If possible.
 
I only really worry about ticks when on a Camino . So I check mself regularly.
But this is almost an automatism seeing in the region where I live there are alot of ticks so I am aware.
 
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Nor have I.
One year there were lots of flies on the way to Foncebadon (in the woods) but that was just the once and they don’t bite.
Yep last year September on the way into Rabanal and Foncebadon in the trees they were spit em out annoying. But that was it really.

Bit of topic misspenn2519 but just before the entry into Rabanal the path uphill through the woods is a bit gnarly A Taiwanese girl called Shelley got me up (if it is not obvious you are visually impaired ask for help) Also if i were you i would walk the road for the descent to El Acebo and onto Molinaseca (or get a taxi)​

Buen Camino
Woody
 
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I walked CF end of Sept but it was still 30+ degrees somedays. I did get a few bites on my legs which seemed to be a bit infected/gungy, although didn't cause any major issues other than a bit itchy. I only recall mosquitos once and that was walking on a very hot afternoon in-between Los Arcos and Sansol - which I think is probably where I got the bites (I think 2 from memory). Nothing anywhere else really despite the heat.

If I went again I still wouldn't worry about taking anything bug specific.
 
Just remember to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth.

I did encounter midges in 2019 towards the end of May. They buzzed around my face but didn't really bite. I ignored them.

They are small enough that if you do breathe through your mouth then there is a possibility of inhaling one or two.
 
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.
Just remember to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth.

I did encounter midges in 2019 towards the end of May. They buzzed around my face but didn't really bite. I ignored them.

They are small enough that if you do breathe through your mouth then there is a possibility of inhaling one or two.
Free protein. That was the rationale when mosquitoes were attracted to the heat when cooking pancakes. :)
 
Hello! I am starting the Route Frances on May 20 and looking at weather to pick my clothes but also figured I should factor the bug situation into the equation since I don't want to weigh down my pack with bottles of bug spray. How bad are the bugs on the Route Frances - and I don't mean bed bugs; I'm thinking mosquitos, spiders, bees, ticks - anything that bites or stings. If they're bad, I'll plan to wear more long pants even if it's warmer out and crew socks. If not so bad, I'm thinking capris and crew socks. Thoughts? Thank you!
Only on the Meseta did we encounter any problems. Flies, and they were just relentless. I think they were attracted by our sweat. We WILL taking nets next time around. We also encounter a massive swarm of bees. We had to walk through them for 50 yards or so as there was nowhere to hide. Motorway one side and a ditch on the other.
 
In a few areas in the fall flies liked to land on my south facing (sweaty) wrist. I couldn't swat them with my hand. I have read they can sense the air pressure change as your swatting hand approaches and depart in the nick of time. But I learned I could beat them and fap them with the loose cloth hand grip of my folded up trekking pole. Good fly swatter. Buen Camino
 
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The only bug issue I had on the CF in Sept/Oct 2021 was the occasional swarms of midges or gnats that would fly around my head while walking. I don't recall getting bitten, but it is unpleasant when they get into your mouth and nostrils! The ones around where I live (Pennsylvania) tend to bite around my eyes, causing swelling and itching. I had to go to Urgent Care to get a steroid injection the day before my son's wedding - my eyes were so swollen, I couldn't see! Not to mention I would have been unrecognizable in the photos.

After that experience, I bought an extremely lightweight head net that fits over a hat (like the one in Sheesh's link above) that I use when hiking or doing outside work in the summer. I plan to carry it on my next Camino since it weighs next to nothing.
 
I have found that dialing back my use of soap or other personal products containing scent lessens my attraction to insects. As a general statement, the less scent you exude, the fewer insects you are going to attract. Plus, and as others have said in this thread, insects are not generally of concern along the Camino.

Bed bugs are a different subject, and may or may niot be present along the route you walk and in the places you sleep. In ten years and six Caminos, I have not been bothered. Just remember that these critters were brought in. They are not native to the environment. There are tons of ideas for dealing with them, preventing them. and eliminating them. Jsut search using the search function - above right corner - for "bed bugs" or "chinches."

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
Hello! I am starting the Route Frances on May 20 and looking at weather to pick my clothes but also figured I should factor the bug situation into the equation since I don't want to weigh down my pack with bottles of bug spray. How bad are the bugs on the Route Frances - and I don't mean bed bugs; I'm thinking mosquitos, spiders, bees, ticks - anything that bites or stings. If they're bad, I'll plan to wear more long pants even if it's warmer out and crew socks. If not so bad, I'm thinking capris and crew socks. Thoughts? Thank you!
i bought the packets of bug spray soo there's no can. the little packets work great if i have a problem and weigh almost nothing.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
The flies also relentless inside the albergue some years. Last year as hospitalera, I had to keep our door closed and walked around with a flyswatter all day inside. They get into the dorm and there is nothing worse that a fly or 10 buzzing around the beds when you are trying to sleep or nap. (I particularly don't like them crawling on my face when I am trying to sleep.) We do buy the "fly spray" and fog when we step out to shop. Then we come back to sweeping up a bunch of gross dead flies. Maybe that is more than you want to know though...
 
I have seen many mosquitoes in southern Spain but have not been bothered in the north. What I have seen both north and south is processional caterpillars. Basically you see them and a long furry line. They have poisonous spines that break off into your skin. Look but do not touch!
 
Hello! I am starting the Route Frances on May 20 and looking at weather to pick my clothes but also figured I should factor the bug situation into the equation since I don't want to weigh down my pack with bottles of bug spray. How bad are the bugs on the Route Frances - and I don't mean bed bugs; I'm thinking mosquitos, spiders, bees, ticks - anything that bites or stings. If they're bad, I'll plan to wear more long pants even if it's warmer out and crew socks. If not so bad, I'm thinking capris and crew socks. Thoughts? Thank you!
I didn't encounter any biting or stinging insects though they are probably there. However, the face flies were a big nascence. I like to spray my hat with a non-DEET gear friendly repellant that doesn't have an unpleasant odor. I found Off Skintastic works well and there are others on the market as well.

I also bring along a tube of Ultrathon insect repellent for my neck and face. It is a timed release lower DEET insect repellent that was developed for the US army.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
I've walked Caminos in Spain, mostly in April/May and two in Sept/October and have not encountered bugs with the exception of a half hour of flies once on a path passing a farm...barely worth mentioning.
 
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It seems every year there are more reports of ticks spreading across Europe. There was a thread on here about ten years ago about a tick removal tool, smaller than a credit card and equally slim. As there are a lot of spare slots for cards in my wallet :-( I have one that sits in there permanently - on the camino or not.
You might be unlucky and get bunches of flea bites (not to be confused with bed bugs) from albergues that haven't been cleaned properly. But not so much these days and very rarely on the CF. Standards of cleanliness have definitely improved over the years.
 
It seems every year there are more reports of ticks spreading across Europe. There was a thread on here about ten years ago about a tick removal tool, smaller than a credit card and equally slim. As there are a lot of spare slots for cards in my wallet :-( I have one that sits in there permanently - on the camino or not.
You might be unlucky and get bunches of flea bites (not to be confused with bed bugs) from albergues that haven't been cleaned properly. But not so much these days and very rarely on the CF. Standards of cleanliness have definitely improved over the years.

I always carry a tick remover that looks like a sort of flat key - in my card ‘case’ (within which I also have plenty of room 😉)

I remember using a net over my hat somewhere after Lorca, to keep those tiny black flies out of my face. It was the only time I used it. (late September)
 
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I walked CF end of Sept but it was still 30+ degrees somedays. I did get a few bites on my legs which seemed to be a bit infected/gungy, although didn't cause any major issues other than a bit itchy. I only recall mosquitos once and that was walking on a very hot afternoon in-between Los Arcos and Sansol - which I think is probably where I got the bites (I think 2 from memory). Nothing anywhere else really despite the heat.

If I went again I still wouldn't worry about taking anything bug specific.
@davejsy we were walking the Frances at the same time, and like you, I can only think of that stage from Los Arcos to Logrono as being a mozzie day for me
 
Remember things can always be worse, Scotland in the Summer has its challenges and its not just the steep hills!View attachment 168014View attachment 168015

The Lake District can be just as bad 😄
I once camped in Ennerdale and my arm was black within 2 seconds of putting it outside the tent in the morning.
Should have moved further away from the water! 😉😄

Edit:
No bites, just irritation while they’re on my skin.
Mosies don’t like me, midges don’t like me but bed bugs found me very tasty … 😋 😋 😋
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
David61: Does size matter? I used to think that small sand flies and black flies were the worst until I visited the UNESCO sites in Labrador where the giant mosquitoes are so big that some people, like salmon fly fishers, have been known to wear upper body nets.
There might be a picture on this NL Mosquito Project FB page.

1713323107273.png


1713322122174.png
 
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.
IMHO, Avoidance works best, followed by a strong, constant breeze.

Mosquitoes (and black flies?) don't like the hot sun. Might help explain so few along the Frances.
They like shade, and are more likely at dusk, overnight and early morning.
Mosquitoes need standing water to reproduce (lay eggs).

Bug jackets and bug pants may work - if you don't trap any inside.

Just keep walking to deter mosquitoes that feed through cloth, like socks.
As mentioned, Off Skintastic and deet work. Apply when not walking.

PS: Waving your arms is like saying: "dinners ready, come and get it"
 
IMHO, Avoidance works best, followed by a strong, constant breeze.

Mosquitoes (and black flies?) don't like the hot sun. Might help explain so few along the Frances.
They like shade, and are more likely at dusk, overnight and early morning.
Mosquitoes need standing water to reproduce (lay eggs).

Bug jackets and bug pants may work - if you don't trap any inside.

Just keep walking to deter mosquitoes that feed through cloth, like socks.
As mentioned, Off Skintastic and deet work. Apply when not walking.

PS: Waving your arms is like saying: "dinners ready, come and get it"

Wearing light coloured clothes in the evening can help with mosquitoes, but not with midges … nothing will deter a determined midge.

I once tried the strongest Jungle Formula but wasn’t happy about using such a strong DEET product … it didn’t work properly anyway …

The best solution was wearing a silk balaclava, silk gloves and head to toe clothing, ie leggings and long sleeved t-shirt. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any goggles with me … 🙄
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Hello! I am starting the Route Frances on May 20 and looking at weather to pick my clothes but also figured I should factor the bug situation into the equation since I don't want to weigh down my pack with bottles of bug spray. How bad are the bugs on the Route Frances - and I don't mean bed bugs; I'm thinking mosquitos, spiders, bees, ticks - anything that bites or stings. If they're bad, I'll plan to wear more long pants even if it's warmer out and crew socks. If not so bad, I'm thinking capris and crew socks. Thoughts? Thank you!
I walked at that time an there was nothing you listed anywhere in sight.

Just birds chirping and lots of butterflies flittering around the many trailside wildflowers.
 

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