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Extra sheet for bed bug prevention

Year of past OR future Camino
2015 CF, 2016 Camino Portuguese, 2018 Le Puy to St. Jean, 2019 CF
Hello, leaving from SJpdP May 9 to Santiago.
Another pilgrim recommended buying 2 yards of super light material and treat it with permethrin to put on the mattress to “scare-away” bedbugs. I am going to use a silk sleep sac + Costco down throw. Don’t know why Iam paranoid as this will be my 3rd Camino, never gotten bed bugs, but don’t want ‘em either. Adding this 3rd layer to my bed adds another 5 oz to my pack and I am one of those people who is trying to keep my pack weight down. Has anyone else done this ? Appreciate all your opinions!
 
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Hello, leaving from SJpdP May 9 to Santiago.
Another pilgrim recommended buying 2 yards of super light material and treat it with permethrin to put on the mattress to “scare-away” bedbugs. I am going to use a silk sleep sac + Costco down throw. Don’t know why Iam paranoid as this will be my 3rd Camino, never gotten bed bugs, but don’t want ‘em either. Adding this 3rd layer to my bed adds another 5 oz to my pack and I am one of those people who is trying to keep my pack weight down. Has anyone else done this ? Appreciate all your opinions!

I quite understand the feelings. However, your strategy won't work. Permethrin is NOT a repellent to bedbugs. It does act as an insecticide to bed bugs which are not resistant to the chemical. So while contact with the Permethrin will probably kill the bedbug at some point, it will still be able to bite and take its blood meal.

There are some insects for which Permethrin acts both as an insecticide AND a repellent, but bedbugs are not among that group.

The best defense is to inspect your surroundings for bedbug signs and if found, quietly tell the Hospitalero, and seek a different bed.
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
The best defense is to inspect your surroundings for bedbug signs and if found, quietly tell the Hospitalero, and seek a different bed.
In reality, the incidence of bed bugs is low. However, when I saw signs of BB I told the Hospitalero and any other pilgrims in the room and found a different PLACE to stay!
 
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May is before bed bugs are ubiquitous, but caution is worthwhile. I have a Tyvek sheet that is treated with permethrin, and I use it as a sheet or blanket. While DEET is the best repellent, if you sleep in it, it is a good idea to wash in the morning. Exposed flesh gets attacked, so you only need to use it on head, arms, and feet!
 

Robert Long

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept 2016
Camino Portuguse Oct 2018
After two Caminos, I have adopted the habit of inspecting mattresses no matter what my accommodations, no matter the city. This habit has served me well and did not require extra equipment or chemicals. And, most importantly no bites.

Buen Camino
 
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RiverWalker
Year of past OR future Camino
September/October 14, May 17, September 18, MAY 2020
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago planned for end April 2020 now 2021
Yes, I have one and have used it on three caminos. Apparently permeated with Permethrin or something similar. After my first walk, I sprayed it again before leaving just in case the "stuff" had worn off. Never been bitten, but maybe just luck. Anyway, it is very light weight if you are concerned about that.
Thanks
 

DakotaBW

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Hoping to walk The Way of St John in September (2019)
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Hello, leaving from SJpdP May 9 to Santiago.
Another pilgrim recommended buying 2 yards of super light material and treat it with permethrin to put on the mattress to “scare-away” bedbugs. I am going to use a silk sleep sac + Costco down throw. Don’t know why Iam paranoid as this will be my 3rd Camino, never gotten bed bugs, but don’t want ‘em either. Adding this 3rd layer to my bed adds another 5 oz to my pack and I am one of those people who is trying to keep my pack weight down. Has anyone else done this ? Appreciate all your opinions!
I found bed bug traps at Lowes in Canada. I'm taking them along to put under the bed. Supposedly the bugs leave the bed and go to the trap! It sounds safer than exposing yourself to nasty pesticides.
 

AlexanderAZ

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 (Sept/Oct): CF: SJPdP-->Fisterra-->Muxia (solo)
2019 (late Sept): CF: SJPdP-->Leon (honeymoon!)
I did exactly what you are considering...took a sheet doused with Peremethrin. After two different “attacks” of bedbugs (and having to get treated for subsequent infections), I tossed the stupid sheet out. Completely useless. Won’t be carrying such this fall when I do CF again.
 
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RumAndChupacabras

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Jul-Sept 2019: Six weeks in Northern Spain.
Apr 2018 Asturias
May 2016 CP: Portuguese
However, your strategy won't work. Permethrin is NOT a repellent to bedbugs. There are some insects for which Permethrin acts both as an insecticide AND a repellent, but bedbugs are not among that group.
Well, shut my mouth. This is news to me. Thank you.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I found bed bug traps at Lowes in Canada. I'm taking them along to put under the bed. Supposedly the bugs leave the bed and go to the trap! It sounds safer than exposing yourself to nasty pesticides.
Traps that go under the bed legs might be a reasonable solution for bed bugs that are not already in the bed frame or seams of the mattress, ie those that are going to have to climb the bed legs to get to you. But remember that bed bugs are attracted by a combination of carbon dioxide and warmth, and if you are in the bed you will be the largest and closest emitter of both. They are unlikely to leave your bed to go elsewhere for a meal! So it will be important to check that there is no evidence of bed bugs on your mattress and bed frame as well as using the traps.

There are some other types of traps, but I don't know how effective they are.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Are bedbugs common at the beginning of the busy season?
The anecdotal evidence is that they are not, but I doubt any individual one of us really knows. My experience in Apr, May and Jun was that I was never affected by bed bug bites, but that might have been just luck.

What you can be pretty sure of is that hospitaleros are going to treat any infection relatively quickly. There will be a protocol for isolating and treating the infected area, so it is important to tell the hospitaleros when you suspect bed bugs, so they can check and begin treatment if that is required.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Perhaps spraying the mattress and surrounding area with citronella might help?
The beg bugs will smell nice when they bite you, and you will have annoyed everyone with an unnecessary scent. There is no evidence that essential oils are effective insecticides. If you want to use it as a repellent, spray it on yourself, not on things that other people will have to use. We might not appreciate having to come into contact with chemicals you have spraying into the environment.
 

Cary

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
del Norte/Primitivo May 2019
Just found this site for great info...
 
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Deleted member 67185

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Just found this site for great info...

That is actually a very good site for information. I used it as a reference referral for folks when I worked at our local public health department.
 
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Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).

Don't forget that Spanish pillows are extra wide so I also take two treated pillow cases to cover the pillow.
Just an idea.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
Traps that go under the bed legs might be a reasonable solution for bed bugs that are not already in the bed frame or seams of the mattress, ie those that are going to have to climb the bed legs to get to you. But remember that bed bugs are attracted by a combination of carbon dioxide and warmth, and if you are in the bed you will be the largest and closest emitter of both. They are unlikely to leave your bed to go elsewhere for a meal! So it will be important to check that there is no evidence of bed bugs on your mattress and bed frame as well as using the traps.

There are some other types of traps, but I don't know how effective they are.

Then I just won't exhale!
I think the point of traps is to find out if bugs are there; not to effectively eliminate all of them.

I've never been bitten by bedbugs, but I came home from the Camino with scabies. Called for Permethrin lotion head to toe for several days.

Just thought I'd add that little anecdote to make everybody squirm and now have something else to worry about!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Here is what I know.
Before eachCamino I spray my pack and the outside of my sleeping bag with Permethrin.
In all these years, the only time I was bitten by a bedbug was on my first Camino when I sprayed neither.
Whether the experts say it works or not, I don't know, but so far, it's worked for ME.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Norte, Jul 2021
Hello, leaving from SJpdP May 9 to Santiago.
Another pilgrim recommended buying 2 yards of super light material and treat it with permethrin to put on the mattress to “scare-away” bedbugs. I am going to use a silk sleep sac + Costco down throw. Don’t know why Iam paranoid as this will be my 3rd Camino, never gotten bed bugs, but don’t want ‘em either. Adding this 3rd layer to my bed adds another 5 oz to my pack and I am one of those people who is trying to keep my pack weight down. Has anyone else done this ? Appreciate all your opinions!
So did you use just a sheet and then sleep sak ontop of your own sheet?Did you find it effective? WOndering how to prevent bites on arms/face that stick out of sleep sak. I guess a bottom layer sheet would help?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
So did you use just a sheet and then sleep sak ontop of your own sheet?Did you find it effective? WOndering how to prevent bites on arms/face that stick out of sleep sak. I guess a bottom layer sheet would help?
Did you read the first response in this thread? Bedbugs are not deterred by permethrin, but it will kill them over time (an hour or so of contact with permethrin treated fabric). That means that they can crawl over the treated fabric, bite you, then crawl back to their dark corner.
I do use permethrin to avoid transporting bedbugs from albergue to albergue by treating my sleep gear, backpack and all my cloth stuff sacks with it. Hopefully, if a bedbug gets into my gear it won't come out alive!
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@lisaflora I am very allergic to bed bug bites and they became a problem for me, despite all the usual methods (permethrin, bed bug bottom sheets, insect repellant, etc). I've been bitten on the face, as well as hands, arms and body. And legs!

So this is what I now do. First, I found an extra length silk sleeping sack, with stretchy side panels. It's a Sea to Summit, but you could make your own. I've turned the top over about an inch, sewn it around leaving a gap at the end. I thread hat elastic through that, leaving both ends of the hat elastic out (and plenty long enough). The ends of the hat elastic I pull through a spring loaded cord lock, and finish it off by tying the elastic ends together.

At night I climb into the sleeping sack with a lightweight down thrown inside the sack. I pull the whole sack up over my head (hence the need for an extra long sleeping sack) and pull the elastic tight closed and secure it with the cord lock.

So I and my down throw are completely enclosed in a silk shroud. The silk is sufficiently thin that I have no trouble breathing through it. It took a night to get used to but I'm now very comfortable inside. Makes people laugh and it looks weird, but it creates a complete mechanical barrier between me, my down throw, and any bedbug.

To keep bedbugs out of my gear, I put my whole pack inside a large stuff sack (actually a liner for a very large backpack). A plastic garbage bag will do, but they get ratty pretty quickly.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I usually use permethrin on my backpack and sleeping bag. But I am wondering, casually, whether the long time period during which albergues have been closed because of the pandemic may have starved a few of the little buggers. More probably, they are just happily hibernating until our return, or maybe only the bedbugs which are the best survivors will be around to multiply and plague future generations of pilgrims.
 

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).
So did you use just a sheet and then sleep sak ontop of your own sheet?Did you find it effective? WOndering how to prevent bites on arms/face that stick out of sleep sak. I guess a bottom layer sheet would help?

Can I suggest the pyrethrum route and place your treated sheet on your bed/bunk as soon as you get in because it takes around an hour or more for the bugs to die.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Can I suggest the pyrethrum route and place your treated sheet on your bed/bunk as soon as you get in because it takes around an hour or more for the bugs to die.
By all means, use all of the prevention measures you can. But the bugs will not be waiting around on top of the mattress! They will be hiding in crevasses, seams, cracks in the walls, until dark when you are lying on the mattress exhaling CO2. Cover your body as much as you can (since they can't bite through fabric!) and put Deet on exposed skin.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Can I suggest the pyrethrum route and place your treated sheet on your bed/bunk as soon as you get in because it takes around an hour or more for the bugs to die.
Unfortunately, the bedbugs wait until you are sleeping before they strike. The don't get on your treated bedding and wait around for you to go to bed. They crawl in, bite and get out. However, if they don't get out and your bedding is treated with permethrin they should die.
 
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