Search 62305 Camino Questions

Effective quick bed bug killer

John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.
How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition of this popular highly acclaimed book.
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
Not sure if this has been mentioned before. Put clothes or sleep liner without metal in a microwave for 30 seconds. Kills them in all stages.
Very interesting. I just did an internet search and it seems to be true. The main negatives that I see are that they would hold only a few items at a time and in a shared kitchen I doubt others would like seeing you doing that. Otherwise apparently a very simple solution.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
To kill the bedbugs they have to be exposed to the microwaves generated by the oven. The experiments I've read relate to bedbugs in books, or dry foods like rice. I can't find scientific data about bedbugs in clothes, and to be useful for us we'd be talking about a packful of clothes, not just one or two items.

Microwave ovens are generally between 20 and 40 litres, so theoretically the contents of a 30 litre pack would fit into a large microwave oven. I'd expect the bedbugs would be hidden within the seams of clothes, so not immediately exposed to the microwaves. The usual instructions are that the greater the volume of contents, the longer the cooking time. I assume that clothes would absorb some of the microwaves, so if the oven is full of clothes, will 30 seconds still be enough?
 
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery

dick bird

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Brilliant. At what point do your clothes get hot enough to ignite? Is it heat or the action of the infra-red waves that kills them? Does it kill the eggs as well? This does sound like a brilliant idea though. Thanks.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese

Mito

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF (2011, 2013, 2018) Roncesvalles-Astorga
CLeP (2013) Le Puy-?
GUD (2019) Dovre-Trondheim
Heat also kills bedbugs. If it's summer when I get home, I put my bag and anything else that can't be washed on high heat into a black plastic bag and set it in the sun for a few days. If it's winter (as it will be this year), cold also kills. I live in Maine and so I can leave my pack, etc in the garage or barn over the winter and feel confident no creepy crawlies have survived. I worry less about living with bedbugs on my trek and more about bringing them home!!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Brilliant. At what point do your clothes get hot enough to ignite? Is it heat or the action of the infra-red waves that kills them? Does it kill the eggs as well? This does sound like a brilliant idea though. Thanks.
Ooooh… and the sparks from some of the synthetic fibres that have traces of metals in them! (I have a favourite dress that always sets off security alarms!).
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
I once read an article about alpine mountain huts in Germany/Austria using microwave ovens to treat hiker's sleep sacks / liners to prevent bed bug travel. So that seems to be a thing.

Only works with cotton/silk though, I guess, if you don't want molten fabric and/or sparks. But for a silk liner or a 100% merino shirt, why not?
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
After reading these newest replies, I think I'll stick with the black garbage bag method; either in the sun or tossed in snow. Thankfully I've not yet needed either.🙄
I wouldn't rely on snow. To kill bed bugs by freezing, it apparently takes 3-4 days at -17°C or lower. If it gets warmer than that during the day they might survive, even if you leave the bags outside for a week.

A chest freezer with controlled temperature would be a good choice though. Toss in the whole backpack, leave it in there for a week or two, voila!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
There are reports on-line of electrical problems from metal such as zippers. Apparently synthetics go up in smoke much faster than cotton and fires have been reported. Couldn’t find how long it takes before clothes start melting? .
 
How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition of this popular highly acclaimed book.
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

bullingtonce

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
I plan to do the Ruta de la Lana in August/September 2021
Not sure if this has been mentioned before. Put clothes or sleep liner without metal in a microwave for 30 seconds. Kills them in all stages.
Please consider your fellow pilgrims. The sight of someone microwaving their clothes is somewhat disgusting. In addition, they will imagine that some of the clothes have not been washed. Please use other ways to deal with bedbugs; there are so many options.
 

Marcus-UK

Old Git
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles 2016 Camino Portuguese 2017
Brilliant. At what point do your clothes get hot enough to ignite? Is it heat or the action of the infra-red waves that kills them? Does it kill the eggs as well? This does sound like a brilliant idea though. Thanks.
A microwave is basically a radar transmitter using a wave guide to direct the energy into the oven cavity. The whole lot is placed inside a Faraday cage which stops the energy from escaping into the kitchen and cooking the operator.
The radio frequency of the broadcast energy has an effect on Fats and Water which resonate and cause local heating to the point of sterilisation/cooking.
This effect will kill bugs, while most clothing is transparent to the broadcast RF energy. Since you are not heating up a Sunday joint, the penetration of the RF energy is fairly uniform and will only require the clothing to be moved 90 degrees or so in the cavity to ensure adequate penetration.
 

Hiawatha

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra 2017
GR70 France 2018
Via Francigena 2019
For many decades I have collected and restored old books . Silverfish are a terrible pest when it comes to vintage papers . I microwave books to kill unseen and inaccessible larvae and eggs lodged in spines and binding crevices .
All books treated in this way ; including those that had suffered infestations have remained completely insect free.
Microwaves work by exciting water molecules , vibrating them until they boil , in any living organism this ruptures cell walls and causes death .
Even the proverbial ' Nuclear radiation proof ' cockroach will succumb to this .
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I once read an article about alpine mountain huts in Germany/Austria using microwave ovens to treat hiker's sleep sacks / liners to prevent bed bug travel. So that seems to be a thing.
Definitely a thing in Alpine huts owned and managed by German and Austrian Alpine associations. 30 seconds at 600 W according to a reliable news article when these projects were started for the 2019 season; current websites for some huts say "for 1 minute" or just "obligatory" at check-in and "optional" at check-out; used for Hüttenschlafsäcke which have been obligatory for as long as I can remember and are usually liners made of cotton. Obviously done in microwave ovens dedicated for this purpose, anything else would be rated high on a scale ranging from not appropriate to not hygienic / absolutely disgusting.
 
Last edited:

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Not sure if this has been mentioned before. Put clothes or sleep liner without metal in a microwave for 30 seconds. Kills them in all stages.
I can see this being handy so you can quickly zap enough clothes to wear, whilst you deal with the rest of your gear. Providing of course no metal zips or buttons.
 
Last edited:

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
As someone who oversees albergues, I can imagine it now: high-tech fabrics melted onto the inside of the microwave. Or an oven and kitchen scattered with roasted insect carcasses.
Nice. I hope someone tests this and reports back, before the Pilgrim Geniuses go to work on our microwave ovens.

It could be a lot of fun. "You said ten minutes" he said as all the smoke alarms went off and he manoeuvred the tongs to pull the smouldering wheat bag out of the microwave. "No, I didn't - I said TWO minutes".

Just last week. The kitchen still stinks.
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
Brilliant. At what point do your clothes get hot enough to ignite? Is it heat or the action of the infra-red waves that kills them? Does it kill the eggs as well? This does sound like a brilliant idea though. Thanks.
The microwaves come from a magnetron on the top or side of the cavity. Any part of the contents very close to it gets a much higher dose than the rest of the contents. The idea some have that it "cooks from the inside out" is inaccurate. The waves do penetrate, but some of the energy is absorbed as they pass through things. The denser the material, the more is absorbed. The more absorbed, the hotter that material gets. So, if the furthest stuff from the magnetron gets enough, what's close to it gets much more.

For both radiation and sound, there is the "inverse square law" saying that the intensity received is inversely proportional to the square of the distance. So if something is twice as far, it gets one-quarter of the intensity; if 3.16 times as far, it gets one-tenth of the intensity. Turn that around and … if it is one-third as far, it gets ten times as much radiation!

The moral of the story is that if you squeeze too much stuff into a microwave, synthetics will melt and cotton will burn. (And metal will possibly reflect enough radiation back into the magnetron to blow a fuse that requires disassembly to replace!)

If you think you have bugs, ask a hospitalero for help. At our place, we would loan the pilgrim some clothes and launder all of theirs at 60°C. Or you could do it yourself at a laundromat in a larger city.
 
Last edited:
How to avoid failure "be prepared"
3rd Edition of this popular highly acclaimed book.
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
If you think you have bugs, ask a hospitalero for help. At our place, we would loan the pilgrim some clothes and launder all of theirs at 60°C. Or you could do it yourself at a laundromat in a larger city.

And it's not necessary to wash the clothes in hot water, or to wash them at all before treating them with heat in a hot dryer for half an hour. Some more delicate fabrics will do better to be put into the dryer while they are dry. You can then wash and dry them according to their care label if you wish.
 
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

Most read last week in this forum

Yeah, I’m a bit of a fan and I’ll admit that being in wine country is one of the motivations about doing the CF next spring. Obviously we cut right through Rioja country and I’m a major fan of...
Okay, buckle up, friends! This will take some explaining. For secret Santa this year, I am getting a gift for my soon-to-be Father in Law. I'm still new to the family and learning what everyone...
Hello, as it is coming to winter, all vegetarian restaurants' name that I found in the internet in camino route in both last 100km of Camino Frances and Fisterra are closed. I am unable to find...

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) | 2022 Camino Guides
Top