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Please read this about Bed Bugs

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
In the bed bug forum you will see reports from pilgrims regarding bed bugs.

Please know that although an albergue is reported to have had bed bugs, it does not automatically mean that this albergue is a bad albergue. Pilgrims stay in new albergues every day, and someone might have walked in that day with bed bugs... and some other pilgrim might have picked it up before they had time to clean it.

That said, if a particular albergue comes up again and again with bed bugs, that might be an indication that hygiene might not be ideal there.

If you are reporting a particular refugio/albergue please include a date in your title so that people scanning this forum can see when the problem occurred.

Thanks!
Ivar
 
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Jackie Wilkinson

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Have booked to go 15 April 2014 - but terrified.
Um, er, Ivar, you receive parcels forwarded to you from all over the various Caminos. Have you ever had a problem with "passengers" arriving with these parcels, thus needing your office to be fumigated, or have you been lucky so far, with the brown paper and tape keeping them inside??
 
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
In MOST cases, I agree.
I've stayed in places where people were bitten and I didn't get a bite. I also know that MOST places are vigilant.

However, there are at least 2 places I know of that consistently have bugs.
One of those places is always filthy and I no longer stay there. I've found bugs there every time I tried and have personally seen many pilgrims who were horribly bitten there.
The second, when I reported the bugs, the owner merely shrugged and gave me my money back more than once. I've experienced bugs there several times and eventually stopped staying.

I also know of places where the owner literally took every bed out and blowtorched the metal frames and replaced the mattresses, only to have bugs the next week brought in by pilgrims.
So it's often not the fault of the hospitalero/owner, but rather the fault of pilgrims who don't know (or don't care) that they're carrying bugs.

I really feel there needs to be an educational paper given out when people get their credentials.
I've known many pilgrims who just thought they had mosquito bites until someone informed them.
 
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Sevilay

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
August-September 2016 (Camino Frances)
are there any news about the bed bugs in camino frances? I am starting from pamplona on wednesday and bed bugs are my only big negative concern about the camino
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
They are out there and can be anywhere. When an infestation is reported, it will have come from somewhere else, and has probably moved on somewhere else by the time of the report. Know what signs to look for, take precautions such as insecticide and repellent, and report any sightings to the hospitalero. Since more people stay in albergues than in hotels, most reports are about albergues, but you will find them in private accommodations, too.

As aggravating as bites can be, the real tragedy will be taking them home as live bugs or eggs! The potential problem does not stop at the airport. :)
 
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Annie Little

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
QUOTE="Anniesantiago, post: 259096, member: 3502"]also know of places where the owner literally took every bed out and blowtorched the metal frames and replaced the mattresses, only to have bugs the next week brought in by pilgrims.
So it's often not the fault of the hospitalero/owner, but rather the fault of pilgrims who don't know (or don't care) that they're carrying bugs.[/QUOTE]

:);)... i do know this is NOT a funny issue to most BUT Annie.... this part of your post does tickle my funny bone .,....
 

Annie Little

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
I was thinking of bringing a large, light silk sheet to wrap around the mattress rather than using a chemical....does this make sense?

I am thinking the same .... even though I intend to stay in booked accommodation for "need to sleep" reasons ....... Although I think the bugs can also book in these places too ;):(.... but a single silk sheet made sense to me too ....
 

Sandra Ashby

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September
SCAREY :(...... I have thought about burning pack before returning home
I do not know about burning the pack but I certainly will not take it or the contents into my house without taking some precautions, i.e., take the washables out and put them in a plastic bag and head straight to the washer/dryer. Putting everything else in quarantine outside until I can wash/spray.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
I am wondering what prophylactic benefit you are expecting from a silk sheet. The bug(ger)s don't just live in mattresses, they live in cracks and crevices in walls, floors and ceilings; gaps in bed-frames; the rucksack of the careless pilgrim in the next bunk and anywhere else they can hide from the light of day. Known effective bug detection and deterence methods have been re-iterated on this forum ad-nauseum. Unfortunately much wishful thinking has also been offered as fact. The bug has been a succesful parasite of humans, for that is all it is, for most of our evolution: it is not likely to have succeeded for so well for so long if it could be deterred by a nice smell or a bit of fine fabric.
 
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Annie Little

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
I am wondering what prophylactic benefit you are expecting from a silk sheet. The bug(ger)s don't just live in mattresses, they live in cracks and crevices in walls, floors and ceilings; gaps in bed-frames; the rucksack of the careless pilgrim in the next bunk and anywhere else they can hide from the light of day. Known effective bug detection and detterence methods have been re-iterated on this forum ad-nauseum. Unfortunately much wishful thinking has also been offered as fact. The bug has been a succesful parasite of humans, for that is all it is, for most of our evolution: it is not likely to have succeeded for so well for so long if it could be deterred by a nice smell or a bit of fine fabric.

Thanks for your positive input :) ..... I mean that sincerely .... Truly i do
 

Sandra Ashby

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September
I am wondering what prophylactic benefit you are expecting from a silk sheet. The bug(ger)s don't just live in mattresses, they live in cracks and crevices in walls, floors and ceilings; gaps in bed-frames; the rucksack of the careless pilgrim in the next bunk and anywhere else they can hide from the light of day. Known effective bug detection and detterence methods have been re-iterated on this forum ad-nauseum. Unfortunately much wishful thinking has also been offered as fact. The bug has been a succesful parasite of humans, for that is all it is, for most of our evolution: it is not likely to have succeeded for so well for so long if it could be deterred by a nice smell or a bit of fine fabric.
Yes, they are remarkably successful parasites.....and I agree that vigilance with bug detection is essential. If they are in so many places....spraying the mattress with a pesticide or wrapping the mattress to provide a barrier would perhaps deal with mattress and .....I assume.....there is not much else that can be done with infinite number of walls and cracks.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
there is not much else that can be done with infinite number of walls and cracks.
There are a lot of techniques suggested on websites about bed bugs, but not a lot of them have been adopted on the Camino. The spraying of albergues seems to be the most common treatment method. Pilgrims move the bugs and their eggs along the Camino. By the time you see them, they have had a week to hatch from eggs, they have traveled from where you came, and they have traveled to where you are going. You are in danger, or perhaps more accurately, your equipment is in danger right up to being put on the airplane. Bugs may live in walls and crevices, but they can end up in your pack, equipment, or clothes; their eggs, too. Everything should be treated as contaminated when you return home. I have had success with putting everything into a large plastic garbage bag (my wife insists that the pack go into it at baggage pickup at the airport), which is then spayed with permethrin and left closed for two weeks in the garage (it includes what I wore on the plane). I then do the post-camino cleanup of my clothes and equipment.

It has worked so far!!;)
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Please don't spray pesticides inside an Albergue unless you are qualified to do so. Pre-treat your Rucksack and sleeping bag / sheet, use a repellant on exposed skin. Search carefully for bug-sign and if you see any move on - having advised the hospitalero. The vast, vast majority of pilgrims do not get bitten. Some do. As Ivar advises above reports of infestations are usually out-of-date by the time they are published. The most notorious places are well known to the pilgrim network and yet people sleep in them every night of the year, and emerge unscathed.

On your return home follow the sensible and practical advice already published.

And please don't burn your pack at the Lighthouse. ;)
 

Sandra Ashby

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September
Please don't spray pesticides inside an Albergue unless you are qualified to do so. Pre-treat your Rucksack and sleeping bag / sheet, use a repellant on exposed skin. Search carefully for bug-sign and if you see any move on - having advised the hospitalero. The vast, vast majority of pilgrims do not get bitten. Some do. As Ivar advises above reports of infestations are usually out-of-date by the time they are published. The most notorious places are well known to the pilgrim network and yet people sleep in them every night of the year, and emerge unscathed.

On your return home follow the sensible and practical advice already published.

And please don't burn your pack at the Lighthouse. ;)
I am a teacher and work in schools where the kids live with bedbugs. I have opened homework binders and found bugs...seen them crawl out of backpacks....yes, they can get into anything. Fortunately, I never brought them home. I think the precautions mentioned make sense. I also know that they are sensitive to UV rays. Exposing everything to sunlight will kill a lot....but not the eggs. I hope to expose my gear to as much sun as I can and to seal most things in plastic. I do not want too worry about these ugly...remarkable creatures....just minimize their impact.
 
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grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
I have always taken a black garbage bag that my pack will fit in.
When I am in a suspect albergue (or hotel/pension) I put the pack into the plastic bag before I set it down.
Hopefully, that will help guard against the pack getting infested at that point.

The garbage bag also doubles as rain protection inside the pack.
I put the bag inside and put everything back in when rain is in the air. Keeps every thing dry even when the pack cover or poncho has problems keeping it out.

I should do it every time as we encountered our first bugs in January this year.
Both times were not in albergues but in hotels.
One of the hotels was a very nice upscale property in Samos. We were not bitten but actually saw them in the beds.

We had never before encountered them on any Camino route and have walked one or more routes every year since 2009.
Don't let the concern ruin your Camino. They are not as common as the reports often make it appear.

We do treat our packs, silk sheets and any thing else that comes in contact with beds with permethrin.
 

GreatDane

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF to Burgos Sept/Oct 2014, Burgos to Astorga April 2016, Astorga to SdC 2017
...When I am in a suspect albergue (or hotel/pension) I put the pack into the plastic bag before I set it down.
Except you can never really tell when a lodging is going to be suspect!!! My son and DIL picked up bedbugs in the first class cabin of their aircraft to Barcelona in 2015. (good news is they got upgraded to first class, bad news is they spent the next day in Barcelona washing everything).
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
Except you can never really tell when a lodging is going to be suspect!!! My son and DIL picked up bedbugs in the first class cabin of their aircraft to Barcelona in 2015. (good news is they got upgraded to first class, bad news is they spent the next day in Barcelona washing everything).


You are right. No way to know.
That is why I said I should do it every time.

I was talking with some Albergue owners this winter and they were saying that the pack transport service are becoming under suspicion as a source of transmission and spread.
The packs are all piled together in the back of a van in most cases. The van itself may be the source.
They were pretty adamant about this.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Bed bugs need food, and there is none in a car!
True, but they don't need to eat often. See this info sheet.
Edited: But I agree that this is not an explanation for their proliferation, since the car is not an good environment for them. The same backpacks would still arrive at the same albergues.
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Year of past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... The same backpacks would still arrive at the same albergues.

But what if the car distributes backpacks to different albergues? It only takes one pregnant bed bug 'to jump backpack' and another albergue is at risk. Buen Camino sin chinches, SY
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
I think this is what the thinking was....bugs from one infected pack transferring to others while piled up in the vans.

If a pack sitting in an albergue can be infected....... than it does stand to reason that packs in contact with others are likely to be also.
The vans usually deliver to several albergues/pensions/hotels so the spread could be higher than a single pack would be....thus the concern by owners.
Worth considering as it certainly is a possibility.
 
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Sandra Ashby

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September
You are right. No way to know.
That is why I said I should do it every time.

I was talking with some Albergue owners this winter and they were saying that the pack transport service are becoming under suspicion as a source of transmission and spread.
The packs are all piled together in the back of a van in most cases. The van itself may be the source.
They were pretty adamant about this.
There are so many variables. Those bugs may very well be in the van but the van is also picking up from the same places and they may have the extra guests.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Year of past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
I am not sure if there is any precautions that you could take if you use pack transfer services. The packs are all just piled together and in contact for a few hours.

Putting it in a big, sturdy rubbish bag? But then it might be confused with being garbage and put into a completely other kind of truck ... ;-) Buen Camino, SY
 
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Sevilay

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
August-September 2016 (Camino Frances)
We are in Villadangos del Paramo in Albergue San Pancracio.. we found in our room bed bugs and now cant sleep. We are sitting outside of the albergue and try to think what to do after going 33 kms... any suggestions?
In the bed bug forum you will see reports from pilgrims regarding bed bugs.

Please know that although an albergue is reported to have had bed bugs, it does not automatically mean that this albergue is a bad albergue. Pilgrims stay in new albergues every day, and someone might have walked in that day with bed bugs... and some other pilgrim might have picked it up before they had time to clean it.

That said, if a particular albergue comes up again and again with bed bugs, that might be an indication that hygiene might not be ideal there.

If you are reporting a particular refugio/albergue please include a date in your title so that people scanning this forum can see when the problem occurred.

Thanks!
Ivar
 

BrienC

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Via de la Plata, 2016
Camino del Norte, 2019
Portuguese, 2021
And when you get home consider https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/resources/de-bed-bugging-your-camino-gear.483/

Yes, it is my resource, but it really does work! Buen Camino sin chinches, SY
SYates is always modest, but her article is spot on and, as always, well written.
I and others on this forum don't always agree on the chemicals to use, but we certainly agree on doing all we can to not perpetuate the problem by transporting the buggers along the Camino, or back home.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2014
Camino Frances 2016
Camino Frances 2018
Warn
In the bed bug forum you will see reports from pilgrims regarding bed bugs.

Please know that although an albergue is reported to have had bed bugs, it does not automatically mean that this albergue is a bad albergue. Pilgrims stay in new albergues every day, and someone might have walked in that day with bed bugs... and some other pilgrim might have picked it up before they had time to clean it.

That said, if a particular albergue comes up again and again with bed bugs, that might be an indication that hygiene might not be ideal there.

If you are reporting a particular refugio/albergue please include a date in your title so that people scanning this forum can see when the problem occurred.

Thanks!
Ivar


Warning! I'm walking the Camino now. (September 9, 2016). A fellow pilgrim has over 50 bites over her body. She reports that this happened at Casa Nostra Albergue in Castrojeriz. I have a photo of the bites on her legs. Beware!
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Year of past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Stop it, all of you! I have a hard time not day-dreaming about returning as it is, and now all this talk of mochi taxis as vectors....the epidemiologist in me is already designing study parameters and questionnaires. :)
 

zimmecp

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Summer 2017
Hello Everybody! I am very excited for my first Camino this summer! I also wanted to let anyone worried about bedbugs (as I am) know that there is a product out there called Insect Shield that is really effective. They also work with other manufacturers to create clothes and such. Basically, it is clothes/accessories/blankets that have been pre-treated with Permitherin in such a way that it takes a really long time to wear off. (It is not just sprayed on the clothing.) I have a few pcs and it seems to worl quite well down here in Texas. I am looking forward to getting a blanket to take with me on the road!

Best!
Christine
 
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WGroleau

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Please know that although an albergue is reported to have had bed bugs, it does not automatically mean that this albergue is a bad albergue. Pilgrims stay in new albergues every day, and someone might have walked in that day with bed bugs... and some other pilgrim might have picked it up before they had time to clean it.
And if you encounter them, tell the next albergue before you enter! The worst that could happen is they refuse to serve you—and you can congratulate yourself for making a sacrifice that benefits many other pilgrims. But more likely they will do you and everyone else the favor of helping you to get completely rid of them. At least I hope that's the majority. It's SO much easier (and less expensive) to spray an empty backpack and wash all the clothes than to treat a room and hope the treatment was good enough.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
And if you encounter them, tell the next albergue before you enter! The worst that could happen is they refuse to serve you—and you can congratulate yourself for making a sacrifice that benefits many other pilgrims. But more likely they will do you and everyone else the favor of helping you to get completely rid of them. At least I hope that's the majority. It's SO much easier (and less expensive) to spray an empty backpack and wash all the clothes than to treat a room and hope the treatment was good enough.
That's exactly what I did last year when I got to Albergue la Senda in Rabanal del Camino. The hospitalera there was wonderful. She took over, and helped me debug all my stuff.
 

lovetoread3

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Abril 2018; Primitivo May 2018
A little basic information from the Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bedbugs/symptoms-causes/syc-20370001

There is also research which shows you can freeze them if you put the items in a 0 degree Celsius freezer for about 4 -7 days. Using heat, you must get the temperature up to 50 degrees Celsius. People often use a steamer which certainly gets hot enough but can be awkward and not likely to be one sitting around for you to use on the Way. If you think there are eggs (you should always assume there are), retreat in about 15 days.

Prevention is the best cure and using sealed plastic bags (think zip locks or other types of 'zipper' seal bags) is a good way to isolate suspect clothing from clean clothing. I use one bag for clean, another for suspect and wash them in water as hot as possible followed by drying on highest temperature. I carry extra bags. This is virtually impossible to do while walking the Way. Until you can wash the suspect clothes appropriately, you're probably going to have to wear the other outfit you brought every day (and hope you are not exposed again at the next stop). So, while walking, it seems unlikely you can optimally prevent or eliminate eggs and/or bugs. Do your best and remember they don't transmit disease, they cannot jump or fly, and have a plan for how to deal with all this hassle when you get home (more plastic bags outside your house, wash everything before it comes into the house...). Bring an antihistamine and some topical steroid cream for the itching. And, fyi, they don't get in your hair - they don't have the physical ability to walk through hair. Report, report, report otherwise nothing will change.
 
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mai

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF
Pamplona-S 4/18
SJPP-S-F/M 4/19
SJPP-S. (4/21)
In which season is it more likely to encounter beg bugs? Winter/spring or summer? Or all seasons?
 

mai

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF
Pamplona-S 4/18
SJPP-S-F/M 4/19
SJPP-S. (4/21)
So no time frame to escape from bed bugs....what one can do is making precautions.
 

lovetoread3

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Abril 2018; Primitivo May 2018
All seasons. You can google about their life-cycle and it will make more sense to you. I think the Mayo Clinic had some good info. Beware, there is a LOT of nonsense on the net about bedbugs. Look for studies done by scientific institutes.
 
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Kanga

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Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
....Using heat, you must get the temperature up to 50 degrees Celsius. People often use a steamer which certainly gets hot enough but can be awkward and not likely to be one sitting around for you to use on the Way. If you think there are eggs (you should always assume there are), retreat in about 15 days.

Heat kills the eggs as well as the bugs. So if you use heat properly you will not need to re-treat. Steam can blow the eggs and bugs away if not directly applied. So not foolproof.

The following information is available elsewhere on the forum, but bears repeating.

It is relatively easy to de-contaminate your gear while walking the camino. I've had to do it several times. I assume that If I have been bitten by bed-bugs, then the chances are high that some of the little critters are hiding somewhere in my pack.

The trick is to find a large commercial dryer (like those found in a laundromat - in Spain called an auto-servicio - and put everything dry into the dryer. I say a large commercial dryer because with more room for everything to tumble the heat will reach every bit of everything. Dry because that way the required heat (50℃ or 122℉) is reached much faster and is more evenly spread. Plus it does not hurt merino (whereas if you put wool in hot water it is likely to felt and shrink it), nor have I had any problem with other natural fibres such as silk or cotton or down sleeping bags. For artificial fibres you need to check - my dry bags, and my Macabi skirts have been good but my technical leggings finished up as a small hard plastic ball.

Provided the dryer is hot enough it does not have to be a long cycle. A loosely filled dryer on high will kill bedbugs and their eggs on a 30 minute cycle (Dini M. Miller, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech).

Drying racks (like those in ski lodges) would be great, for boots and shoes and books and packs - but I've never seen any in albergues, and again, they would need to get the heat to penetrate everything and up to the right temperature.

For anything that cannot go in the dryer, the best non-toxic option is a freezer, but that needs to be for at least 3 days, so not practical on the camino.

If you need to use pesticides then the carbamates and the organophosphates are more effective than the pyrethrins (Sydney University Dept of Medical Entomology). But not for use next to the body, and you need to take care not to get the stuff on yourself or to inhale any. I have not had to do this, but if I did I would do it outside in the open and use gloves and a face covering. And then take a shower!
 
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lovetoread3

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Abril 2018; Primitivo May 2018
Great idea about going to a lavanderia to use the dryer although some will insist on sending your clothes to a special cleaning facility if they know what you're doing.
I'm not familiar with using carbonates to treat bedbugs but certainly organophosphates are VERY toxic and definitely NOT a good idea. I've read a lot about the use of pyrethrin-treated sleeping sacks but haven't found much actual evidence that it works.
 

lovetoread3

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances Abril 2018; Primitivo May 2018
I've just done a bit more reading and it is CARBAMATE, not carbonate which is used as treatment. Carbamates are very similar to organophosphates and have a nearly identical side effect profile. So, again, I would not recommend using something like that. I think that on the Camino, prevention is the best path even if it's a hassle. If treatment is needed, there are choices available on the Way. Buen Camino, all :)
 

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
Word corrected - thanks @lovetoread3.

For packs and things that don't go in the dryer - you can put them in a sealed black garbage bad out in the hot sun. If those things are available....
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I am thinking the same .... even though I intend to stay in booked accommodation for "need to sleep" reasons ....... Although I think the bugs can also book in these places too ;):(.... but a single silk sheet made sense to me too ....
Booked accommodation is no guarantee against bedbugs, neither are sheets, silk or otherwise.
They seem to be hardy little sods.
There is an horrific video clip somewhere on the forum of them crawling all over the back of a bus seat somewhere in the US.
The only time I was bitten in Spain was in an really nice expensive apartment with lovely crisp white sheets. I dropped my guard, and was bitten severely, literally little lines of bites all over my body. Bites that didn't become apparent until the afternoon afterwards. If I had been walking the Camino at that stage I would be far from the albergue when I found them. We tried to explain to the Spanish owner (who lived downstairs) but the language barrier was too much, and when we showed her a picture of a bedbug on our phones, she must have thought we were talking about giant bugs, and really freaked out. Thankfully the place had a dryer and I spend hours putting all my stuff through.
I wasn't bitten staying in albergues the whole of the Camino Frances. I suspect that hospitaleras are on the lookout for them, whilst private people renting out their rooms, probably aren't.
The pilgrims themselves transport them from place to place, so it must be a tricky task to keep them out - I do feel sorry for the hospitaleras. Each new batch of pilgrims must bring the threat of bedbugs.
 
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sugargypsy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
In progress: CP 2020 and/or CI
For packs and things that don't go in the dryer - you can put them in a sealed black garbage bad out in the hot sun. If those things are available....
Did anyone try to put all clothes and other fabrics which one carries along when walking into zip-bags? Of course the backpack still can be contaminated with bedbugs, but at least I wouldn't have to worry about the clothes. And when returning home, one could leave the backpack in the garage or elsewhere, but take out the clothes and there'd be no danger of getting bedbugs into ones home. Or is this only wishful thinking?
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Did anyone try to put all clothes and other fabrics which one carries along when walking into zip-bags?
Isolation is an excellent approach. At night I put my whole backpack, and all my belongings that I don't need during the night, into a large dry bag with a foldover top. That protects those things from bedbug invasion. In the morning, I put my sleeping bag and clothes into another dry bag that is closed and goes into my pack for the day. If I don't discover any bites during the day, I assume everything is OK. If I do discover bites, then I know that I need to go straight to a hot dryer and treat the sleeping bag and the night clothes before spreading them out in the albergue.

That is the simple description. Of course it is not foolproof for various reasons, but it is the best I can do to manage the problem. If it were a life-threatening matter, perhaps I'd decide to stay home.

If you have passport, phone, etc., in your sleeping bag at night, you should put those things into a zip-lock bag for protection. Also if you spread your backpack contents all over your bed in the morning, rummaging through while you re-pack, you will have defeated the purpose. So tidiness and simplification helps.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
@C clearly, which brand/type of large dry bag do you use to hold your backpack in at night? Great idea if it does not weigh too much to carry while walking.
Also, I keep my hipsack with all valuables in the bottom of my sleeping bag/or sack, but I like your idea of encasing it in a ziplock as I never thought of the little critters taking up residence there!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
@C clearly, which brand/type of large dry bag do you use to hold your backpack in at night? Great idea if it does not weigh too much to carry while walking.
Also, I keep my hipsack with all valuables in the bottom of my sleeping bag/or sack, but I like your idea of encasing it in a ziplock as I never thought of the little critters taking up residence there!
The Osprey dry bags are very lightweight. My 12 liter Osprey bag weighs 1.2 ounces.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Did anyone try to put all clothes and other fabrics which one carries along when walking into zip-bags? Of course the backpack still can be contaminated with bedbugs, but at least I wouldn't have to worry about the clothes. And when returning home, one could leave the backpack in the garage or elsewhere, but take out the clothes and there'd be no danger of getting bedbugs into ones home. Or is this only wishful thinking?
I do usually put mine in ziplock bags to compartmentalize everything. I hope that works. Does anyone know how devious they are - can they get through the fastening? Or like moths do they bite through the plastic? By the time I reached Finisterre though I was more in holiday mode, and less tidy..
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
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The Osprey dry bags are very lightweight. My 12 liter Osprey bag weighs 1.2 ounces.
I don't understand. How would my 36L Osprey pack fit inside a 12 L Osprey drybag to fully enclose it from exposure to bedbugs?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I don't understand. How would my 36L Osprey pack fit inside a 12 L Osprey drybag to fully enclose it from exposure to bedbugs?
Sorry, I misread. I thought that we were talking about putting sleeping gear, clothing, etc into separate dry bags. I think that if I wanted to enclose my entire backpack I would use a plastic trash bag.
 

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
I do both - I keep my sleeping gear in a separate fold-down drybag (I like the Exped ones), and put my whole pack at night into a very large drybag - it is made as a liner for a 70 litre pack, and my 30 litre pack fits inside it easily. Other people use garbage bags, and those work, but they do tend to tear.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Mine is also made as a pack liner and is quite big. It weighs 140 g. Lighter ones exist and I have a slightly smaller one at 86 g that would work too. However I prefer being able to easily slip my pack in, without struggle, with various other things loose on the side - not necessarily snugly packed in as they will be when I'm walking. Even my folded poles and shoes would fit. That way I can reach in to get things I need at night or in the morning, without having to unpack everything.

Edited to answer @Camino Chris 's questions... I got mine on sale (they are not cheap) a few years ago, and don't know exactly which brand/model it is. It would probably fit a 70-80 L pack. There are various brands and I think they are well worth the price for us repeat offenders.
 
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klmtns

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I hoped to walk the Camino in Oct. 2019, but this has me really leaning toward cancelling. I’ve distance hiked a lot of places & this was on my list. I grew up in an area with swamps & every bug imaginable, but I still can’t stand bugs & these sound like a nightmare you can’t escape even with all the precautions people describe. Even if you protect your stuff, the person next to you or any place you sit down could have them. I’ve read all of the precautions & remediations. A few people have said not to let it prevent you from going, but I don’t see how.
 
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Hilarious

Hilarious
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
Heat kills the eggs as well as the bugs. So if you use heat properly you will not need to re-treat. Steam can blow the eggs and bugs away if not directly applied. So not foolproof.

The following information is available elsewhere on the forum, but bears repeating.

It is relatively easy to de-contaminate your gear while walking the camino. I've had to do it several times. I assume that If I have been bitten by bed-bugs, then the chances are high that some of the little critters are hiding somewhere in my pack.

The trick is to find a large commercial dryer (like those found in a laundromat - in Spain called an auto-servicio - and put everything dry into the dryer. I say a large commercial dryer because with more room for everything to tumble the heat will reach every bit of everything. Dry because that way the required heat (50℃ or 122℉) is reached much faster and is more evenly spread. Plus it does not hurt merino (whereas if you put wool in hot water it is likely to felt and shrink it), nor have I had any problem with other natural fibres such as silk or cotton or down sleeping bags. For artificial fibres you need to check - my dry bags, and my Macabi skirts have been good but my technical leggings finished up as a small hard plastic ball.

Provided the dryer is hot enough it does not have to be a long cycle. A loosely filled dryer on high will kill bedbugs and their eggs on a 30 minute cycle (Dini M. Miller, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech).

Drying racks (like those in ski lodges) would be great, for boots and shoes and books and packs - but I've never seen any in albergues, and again, they would need to get the heat to penetrate everything and up to the right temperature.

For anything that cannot go in the dryer, the best non-toxic option is a freezer, but that needs to be for at least 3 days, so not practical on the camino.

If you need to use pesticides then the carbamates and the organophosphates are more effective than the pyrethrins (Sydney University Dept of Medical Entomology). But not for use next to the body, and you need to take care not to get the stuff on yourself or to inhale any. I have not had to do this, but if I did I would do it outside in the open and use gloves and a face covering. And then take a shower!
Hi Kanga. I live in Australia and am leaving for the Camino Frances on 15 September. What brand of spray do you use for your backpack and liner before you leave Oz. Many thanks.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I hoped to walk the Camino in Oct. 2019, but this has me really leaning toward cancelling. I’ve distance hiked a lot of places & this was on my list. I grew up in an area with swamps & every bug imaginable, but I still can’t stand bugs & these sound like a nightmare you can’t escape even with all the precautions people describe. Even if you protect your stuff, the person next to you or any place you sit down could have them. I’ve read all of the precautions & remediations. A few people have said not to let it prevent you from going, but I don’t see how.

Well, klmtns, first of all let me say welcome to the forum. I’m sorry this is your first post, because we do talk about a lot of wonderful things!

I have been bitten by bed bugs and I can tell you with confidence that if you follow the excellent advice here on the forum about how to treat them, you can deal with the issue quickly and efficiently. I have been bitten four or five times over nearly 20 years of caminos, so it is not like it is destined to happen to everyone on every camino. I have never brough them home. Hospitaleros know how to deal with them and will help you. One afternoon of following the great instructions others have posted and you will be good to go.

If you are really feeling nervous about it, see what c_clearly does, as she describes earlier in this thread. She is very organized and takes a lot of precautions — I always say I will follow her great advice, but my good intentions have yet to translate into action. Maybe next year....

The other thing I will say though is that if you do a little googling you will see that you can get bed bugs on planes, in fancy hotels, in auditoriums, anywhere people sit or lie down.

But... having said that, it sounds to me like this could be a real anxiety-producer for you. It is similar to the way some women are afraid to walk alone on the camino. When they post here, I always tell them that I walk alone and unafraid on remote caminos. But if they have a fear they cannot conquer, they should not walk alone, because it would be torture. Same for you and bedbugs, I think — if it is going to be a huge issue, then I think the best thing for you, sadly, if you can’t get past it, would be to forget about the camino for now. But IMO it is worth whatever it takes to try to get past this, because it is such a small part of the camino experience. Good luck with whatever you decide, buen camino, Laurie
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I do not know about burning the pack but I certainly will not take it or the contents into my house without taking some precautions, i.e., take the washables out and put them in a plastic bag and head straight to the washer/dryer. Putting everything else in quarantine outside until I can wash/spray.

You can stick your whole pack in a freezer at O degrees F (-18C) for a week. My attic works well in the winter during a cold snap.
 

sugargypsy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
In progress: CP 2020 and/or CI
I hoped to walk the Camino in Oct. 2019, but this has me really leaning toward cancelling. I’ve distance hiked a lot of places & this was on my list. I grew up in an area with swamps & every bug imaginable, but I still can’t stand bugs & these sound like a nightmare you can’t escape even with all the precautions people describe. Even if you protect your stuff, the person next to you or any place you sit down could have them. I’ve read all of the precautions & remediations. A few people have said not to let it prevent you from going, but I don’t see how.
I just walked my first Camino starting the end of May till the beginning of July. Like you I was quite put off about all the stories about bedbugs, crime in albergues, not being able to sleep because of snorers etc.

My wish to walk my Camino was fortunately bigger than my fears, because during the 47 nights of my Camino, mainly staying in albergues, I only stayed in one where there was a snorer, but I was tired enough that it did not bother me more than 10 minutes until I fell asleep. I kept my money and credit cards always with me, so no problems there and I checked every bed before putting on the fresh linen and never saw a bedbug. If I'd seen one I'd have changed the albergue.

The worst thing about bedbugs - I figured out before leaving for my Camino - would be I'd get some itching stiches and I would have to get rid of some clothes to be save not to carry them back home. Would have been around 350 Euros, not a cheap adventure, but affordable. So I walked and I'm glad I did. because I never met a bedbug personally 👍.


By the way one thing I did, to be quite safe of not catching bedbugs on my clothes. I put my clothes in ziplock-bags, all the other stuff as well. Closed tightly, bedbugs can't really crawl into and it's also a good way to keep your stuff tidy, don't have to fold everything over and over again, when getting it out of a rustling bag / backpack ;-).
 

twh

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
I hoped to walk the Camino in Oct. 2019, but this has me really leaning toward cancelling. I’ve distance hiked a lot of places & this was on my list. I grew up in an area with swamps & every bug imaginable, but I still can’t stand bugs & these sound like a nightmare you can’t escape even with all the precautions people describe. Even if you protect your stuff, the person next to you or any place you sit down could have them. I’ve read all of the precautions & remediations. A few people have said not to let it prevent you from going, but I don’t see how.


it would really be a shame to miss out on a Camino experience due to a fear of an infrequent event...bed bugs. I cannot offer a reliable probability of getting bit by bed bugs but it must be incredible low, less than 1% chance. Of all the people I met during my 500 mile journey and all the conversations (and six degrees of separation thang) that occurrs, the topic only came up once of one person bitten by bed bugs. I have a few friends who have done the Camino and none of them had a bed bug experience or even talked about the subject. It gets talked about here disproportionately to actual first hand experiences.

You may be non-reactive to their bites even if they do find you. If you are mostly freaked out about waking up with bugs crawling all over you, don't worry, you won't feel them, they anesthetize the spot before bitting. If you wake up with bites on you, it's an inconvenience at most but it's not that big a deal to take care of the issue. You might waste half a day, if that, finding a dryer and putting all your stuff through a 30 minute hot cycle and picking up some anti-itch/swelling cream. If you're really worried carry a light pair of shorts and a t-shirt in a zip lock to wear while washing and drying all your bed bug infested clothes so you don't have to shop for a temporary outfit.

"They" say during our lifetime we all, unknowingly swallow 6 spiders while sleeping with our mouths open. But we don't sleep in netting to avoid this tragedy...but we could and it would help to defend all the bed bugs attacks too. You might sleep more soundly on your camino with the pajamas below from amazon or the light weight bug shelter you could set up on your bunk.

Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 3.30.21 AM.png
Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 2.40.41 AM.png
 
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TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2016 & 2018, planning for Le Puy 2019/2020ish and for some shorter Caminos stacked
I do both - I keep my sleeping gear in a separate fold-down drybag (I like the Exped ones), and put my whole pack at night into a very large drybag - it is made as a liner for a 70 litre pack, and my 30 litre pack fits inside it easily. Other people use garbage bags, and those work, but they do tend to tear.
This is exactly what I do. Everything is quarantined!
 

TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2016 & 2018, planning for Le Puy 2019/2020ish and for some shorter Caminos stacked
Anyone here in pharmaceuticals? I’ve had an idea for ages.

There is an oral flea treatment given to dogs which protects them from fleas for about a month. Basically the flea bites the dog but dies due to the treatment the dog has been given. It completely breaks the lifecycle.

I would gladly be part of any trial that tests something like this that was developed for bedbugs.

Anyone? Feel free to cut me in when you make millions 😉
 

milo4ever

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, June-July 2019
Crazy because I’m here now (day 35 Francés) and I’d say 50% of the people I know have experience with bed begs. Hostels are not helpful and can be downright mean about it. Sheets are never cleaned or changed so it’s just a disaster waiting.
 

rmckay

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances "2014" &"2015"
Camino Finisterre "2015"
Camino Portuguese "2017"
Camino Muxia "2017"
Well for the first time in multiple Camino’s is I have been bitten by bed bugs. Woke up in the middle of the night to find more than 10 of them either on me or in the bedding. Spent considerable time squashing all I could find. Left that room and moved into an empty room in the same Albergue. (El Pajar de Ages), reported to the staff first thing in the morning and they were most apologetic and rushed into the room with a wide range of bug sprays. Fortunately I was only one day out if Burgos and first thing I did was buy a can of permethrin based bug spray, some 100 litre plastic bags at an Alcampo, then washed and dried all my clothes at the nearest lavenderia at the highest heat(60c). Then sprayed inside and outside my backpack, and other non washable items like my iPhone and tied them up in the plastic bag for 24hours. So far, cross fingers, no signs of anymore bedbugs. Also only stay in more upmarket Pensións now, hang the cost.
 

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grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
Crazy because I’m here now (day 35 Francés) and I’d say 50% of the people I know have experience with bed begs. Hostels are not helpful and can be downright mean about it. Sheets are never cleaned or changed so it’s just a disaster waiting.

It is a bit confusing about the .."sheets are never cleaned or changed.." An 8 euro bed does not normally include sheets (except for the paper sheets in some albergues)....nor would one expect this kind of service.

It is important to lower expectations when staying in albergues. You can expect a bed and a roof....not always a bed (sometimes floors) when it is full. There should be no expectations beyond that and anything more that is offered is a plus. Every albergue operates by it's own rules and there is no central organization..except for a couple of the private chains.

They are dormitories with bunk beds for the most part. They often have maintenance issues and there are times when showers or even toilets are out of order. They are often in old buildings that really aren't suited for any other economic use. For the most part, they are not very profitable.

Try to just look at them as a place to rest and sleep and appreciate that they provide a very inexpensive place to do just that.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I cannot offer a reliable probability of getting bit by bed bugs but it must be incredible low, less than 1% chance.
I wish you had not offered such an inaccurate guess, based on your experience of no experience with bedbugs.

I expect to encounter bedbugs on the Camino Frances. I have been bitten 4 out of 4 times on the Camino Frances. Just 3 or 4 bites each time, but definitely bedbugs. I saw the bugs the first time and got a very distinctive reaction. Then on later trips on the camino, when I've suddenly gotten 3 or 4 such welts, I conclude with confidence that they were bedbugs.

On each trip, I have met others who have been bitten. We don't make a huge fuss about it - it is usually simply a few annoying itchy spots. In fact there is a nervous embarrassment about talking about them. The first time it happens, the individuals might not be sure they are bedbugs. Most people don't bother doing anything and they are usually lucky enough not to take them home. There are ways to ensure you get rid of any hitchhikers, and I prefer to use those control measures.

If I had a friend who had an extreme bedbug phobia and was thinking about the camino, I would stay completely out of their decision. I certainly would not minimize the real risk. They need to take 100% ownership of the decision, knowing the risks.
 

twh

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
...inaccurate guess, based on your experience of no experience with bedbugs
...take 100% ownership of the decision, knowing the risks.

I completely agree with the “100% ownership decision” but it’s hard to "know the risk" of a bed bug encounter, if you only poll people who have been bitten.

I now realize my guess of < 1% of pilgrims getting bit is meaningless, I should have left that out...it could be less, it's probably more...there is no way to know from the posts on this forum.

1. If as you say, people who have been bitten are reluctant to talk about it, then the frequency of bites will be under reported.

2. From the *article sited below, 30% of people living in bed bug infested spaces do not report a bite so again, actual bites are under reported but I think the issue is not bites but physical reactions to a bite.

Assuming 1 and 2 above are accurate, I’ll agree that neither you nor I can know – what percentage of Pilgrims have experienced the tell tale skin reaction from 3 bites or more on a straight line during their Camino? Maybe I’ll do a poll on this question.

The value of this current thread is not about assessing the risk of bed bugs. It is about methods of prevention and methods of dealing with the skin reactions and methods of eliminating the bed bugs from your gear and clothing. All we can say about risk is some people have evidence of bed bug bites and some don't.

If I had a friend who had an extreme bedbug phobia and was thinking about the camino, I would stay completely out of their decision.

I somewhat agree. I would not pressure them to go but I would provide them with information and knowledge I had collected anecdotally, by research and personal experience. This is NOT staying out of their decision but I think it is something I would want a friend to do for me if the roles were reversed. Alternate perspectives are sometimes hard to see without a little outside help. First timers frequently second guess themselves when planning or considering the Camino and just as frequently get cold feet just before departure. Support from friends and the forum can help us over these humps.

I presume Klmtns is on this forum because of an interest in doing a Camino and is now researching it. It is sad to think that this Camino dream is over because of the frequent bed bug discussions here with no real facts on the frequency/risk of getting bit and having a reaction. Klmtns appears to be well informed on prevention or the lack of any 100% proven preventative strategies and what to do after a bite and this information provides no comfort. I wish we had good "risk" numbers to offer Klmtns but maybe that info would not be helpful to this person. A google search of “bed bugs at the…” will show you there are discussions of bed begs everywhere, including $400/night rooms at the Four Seasons Hotel. I completely respect the Klmtns final decision but still wish for them the incredible experience of a Camino knowing it is at least possible, from my experience, to complete one without a bed bug incident.

I did pre-treat my sleeping sleeve/bag liner and backpack with Permethrin just before leaving for Spain and I did use a large black garbage bag as a back pack liner for the purpose of water proofing the contents in my backpack but it may have also helped as a barrier to bed bugs.

if interested see article below for a scientific study on:
*The Sensitivity Spectrum: Human Reactions to Bed Bug Bites
https://www.pctonline.com/article/pct1002_bedbugs/
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Most people don't bother doing anything and they are usually lucky enough not to take them home. There are ways to ensure you get rid of any hitchhikers, and I prefer to use those control measures.
I'm like you. If I suspect that I have been exposed to bedbugs I take steps to ensure that I'm not that person who is spreading the critters on the Camino.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Bed bug threads can get heated for some reason that I don't completely understand.
And I don't want to add fuel to the fire.

Who knows what percentage of pilgrims actually get bitten?
Because here is another variable that applies to the discussion: the susceptibility of getting bitten in the first place.
You can be insensitive to bites, and not aware you've been bitten, or
You can be very sensitive to bites, but the bugs tend to stay away from you.
The result is the same: no experience of bites. They may or may not be there.

I've been bitten in Asia, and know the result, so I can say with complete confidence that I've never been bitten on the Camino. Because if I DO get bitten I'm sensitive, but for some reason I'm relatively unsusceptible - the bugs bit others first. So @twh may be in a similar situation. Not to immediately assume if someone's not been bitten that they are mistaken about that. It's more nuanced than black or white.

So the pragmatic bottom line is that we all need to check the beds we sleep in, also at more up-market places, where we tend to get less vigilant. And if we get bitten to do whatever is necessary to deal with it. As @C clearly says, it's a hassle but not the end of the world.

And if someone's freaked out about bedbugs, I'd tend to share both my experience, and others, and let them decide for themselves.

I might be stirring the pot here, but a reality check is that while bedbugs freak people out, it's the ticks and mosquitoes (at home as well as on the camino) that are a much greater public health hazard.
So if I pick up a tick, or there are a ton of mozzies, that's when I start getting reactive. I'll take itchy bites over Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, dengue, or malaria any day.
 
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Anyone here in pharmaceuticals? I’ve had an idea for ages.

There is an oral flea treatment given to dogs which protects them from fleas for about a month. Basically the flea bites the dog but dies due to the treatment the dog has been given. It completely breaks the lifecycle.

I would gladly be part of any trial that tests something like this that was developed for bedbugs.

Anyone? Feel free to cut me in when you make millions 😉

The medication is Ivermectin. it is available for humans and was originally developed to deal with internal parasites.

Ivermectin results in a kill AFTER the insect feeds. For a bedbug, this makes it a failure as a preventative. As a method for killing off bedbug populations, there are a couple of issues involved.

From an article I have on file:

1. The dosage of the drug used for bedbugs requires a 6-fold higher dose than the needed using the FDA-approved single dose in humans for internal parasites and lice. Ivermectin can have central nervous system side effects in large doses, although studies have found no adverse effects at doses even 10 times higher than the FDA approved single dose.

2. The other issue with Ivermectin is its relative short half-life of 15-20 hours, which might necessitate multiple treatments for all bedbugs to have a chance to ingest the drug. This works great for lice, but not so much for bedbugs.

While with public health, I became very involved with issue of lice treatment protocols, issues with bedbugs, and a few other 'nuisance' concerns. I spent several months researching the literature for a protocol for an effective lice treatment (complete killing of the entire life cycle of the louse on a person infested), which ended up being published in our state for School District Nurses. We trained our local medical community providers who dealt with lice treatments on the Protocol, and even worked with the local pharmacies to stock the needed equipment and treatment solutions.

What started driving this project was the aspect of the total number of school days of instruction being missed by students with lice, as schools (reasonably) excluded students from attending until successfully treated. School nurses would inspect and give a thumbs up or down for attendance.

One of the things that I had found was an esoteric study, reproduced by a couple of other researchers, on the use of Ivermectin for intransigent lice infestations. At that time, using Ivermectin for this purpose was exceedingly uncommon. But given the failure rate of topical head lice treatments due to resistance and user failures to follow directions, Ivermectin seemed like a good, last ditch method to add to the toolbox.

I ended up working with the Chief of Pediatrics at the local hospital/medical clinics to determine Ivermectin's use in a medical treatment algorithm. Quite frankly, he had not been aware of Ivermectin being used for lice, but he quickly adopted its usage after consulting with a variety of medical resources, including tropical medicine specialists and the huge Children's Hospital facility in Seattle.

Anyway, Ivermectin works well as a tool in the lice killing toolbox, but it is not easy to implement as a way of containing bedbug infestations in the environment.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
the tell tale skin reaction from 3 bites or more on a straight line during their Camino? Maybe I’ll do a poll on this question.
Thanks for the balanced reply to my objection. :) I tend to agree with most of what you say. One minor clarification, though, if you decide to do a poll. The "3 bites or more on a straight line" is just one clue but too many people take it as an exact criteria for diagnosis. Multiple bites in the same area can be in any configuration - the straight line is not necessary, nor is the number 3. You can have 1 bite from a bedbug. Your answers would likely be just as accurate if you simply asked "Do you think you were bitten by bedbugs on the Camino?"

Also thanks for the linked article. The good news is that we might get less sensitive with age!
 

TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2016 & 2018, planning for Le Puy 2019/2020ish and for some shorter Caminos stacked
The medication is Ivermectin. it is available for humans and was originally developed to deal with internal parasites.

Ivermectin results in a kill AFTER the insect feeds. For a bedbug, this makes it a failure as a preventative. As a method for killing off bedbug populations, there are a couple of issues involved.

From an article I have on file:

1. The dosage of the drug used for bedbugs requires a 6-fold higher dose than the needed using the FDA-approved single dose in humans for internal parasites and lice. Ivermectin can have central nervous system side effects in large doses, although studies have found no adverse effects at doses even 10 times higher than the FDA approved single dose.

2. The other issue with Ivermectin is its relative short half-life of 15-20 hours, which might necessitate multiple treatments for all bedbugs to have a chance to ingest the drug. This works great for lice, but not so much for bedbugs.

While with public health, I became very involved with issue of lice treatment protocols, issues with bedbugs, and a few other 'nuisance' concerns. I spent several months researching the literature for a protocol for an effective lice treatment (complete killing of the entire life cycle of the louse on a person infested), which ended up being published in our state for School District Nurses. We trained our local medical community providers who dealt with lice treatments on the Protocol, and even worked with the local pharmacies to stock the needed equipment and treatment solutions.

What started driving this project was the aspect of the total number of school days of instruction being missed by students with lice, as schools (reasonably) excluded students from attending until successfully treated. School nurses would inspect and give a thumbs up or down for attendance.

One of the things that I had found was an esoteric study, reproduced by a couple of other researchers, on the use of Ivermectin for intransigent lice infestations. At that time, using Ivermectin for this purpose was exceedingly uncommon. But given the failure rate of topical head lice treatments due to resistance and user failures to follow directions, Ivermectin seemed like a good, last ditch method to add to the toolbox.

I ended up working with the Chief of Pediatrics at the local hospital/medical clinics to determine Ivermectin's use in a medical treatment algorithm. Quite frankly, he had not been aware of Ivermectin being used for lice, but he quickly adopted its usage after consulting with a variety of medical resources, including tropical medicine specialists and the huge Children's Hospital facility in Seattle.

Anyway, Ivermectin works well as a tool in the lice killing toolbox, but it is not easy to implement as a way of containing bedbug infestations in the environment.
Thank you, what a great answer. I can imagine your career would’ve been fascinating:)
 
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K Turner

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One person found bedbugs last night in Santo Domingo de la Calzada at the Cistercian albergue. I didn't find any but there were roaches and spiders to make up for it! 😆
 
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