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Sleeping bag + mattress cover = no bed bugs?

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Jade Ulrich

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Mid-September 2015
Hi There,

I plan to bring a down sleeping bag for my walk starting late September (I often get cold at night so am playing it safe with the bag).

However, I don't like the idea that if I get warm and unzip my big, I will be welcoming bed bugs to join me. I already plan on treating my bag with permethrin, but I know my body isn't protected from this if I unzip the bag.

Does anyone have any experience with bringing some sort of extremely lightweight mattress/bed cover to put over the beds and then simply put my sleeping bag atop this? My thinking if that then I will have the peace of mind knowing I can unzip if too warm.

Thank you!
 
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Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012
Zipping or un-zipping your bag won't make any realistic difference to the risks of a bug bite. Pre-treating your bag with Permethrin will, as will a pre-treated mattress cover. There is some excellent advice available on this forum here https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/bed-bugs.119/ Basic precautions will provide far better protection than a zipper ;)

Buen (bug-free) Camino
 

Jade Ulrich

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Mid-September 2015
Zipping or un-zipping your bag won't make any realistic difference to the risks of a bug bite. Pre-treating your bag with Permethrin will, as will a pre-treated mattress cover. There is some excellent advice available on this forum here https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/bed-bugs.119/ Basic precautions will provide far better protection than a zipper ;)

Buen (bug-free) Camino

I plan on treating my bag with permethrin, but I have heard this only helps so much, as you don't treat your body with it if the bag is unzipped.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012
Jade, do have a look at the information in the threads from the link above. The little b*ggers are attracted by your body heat and the carbon-dioxide you exhale. While Permethrin treated bedding does seem to have a repellent effect the most effective treatment is avoidance. This means learning how to recognize the signs of infestation. That information is available from the link above and from here http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/bed-bugs/Pages/Introduction.aspx and here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_bug

And remember, most Pilgrims enjoy a bug-free Camino.
 
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Jade Ulrich

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Mid-September 2015
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
OFF works on bed bugs, not just mosquitoes?
Yup.
It's a mosquito repellant that I suggest people spray their bed with to see if there are bedbugs also.
A pump spray you can buy at any farmacia in Spain.
Not aerosol.

Or you could just use DEET or something like that.
 

Jade Ulrich

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Mid-September 2015
Yup.
It's a mosquito repellant that I suggest people spray their bed with to see if there are bedbugs also.
A pump spray you can buy at any farmacia in Spain.
Not aerosol.

Or you could just use DEET or something like that.

Also, do you spray everything with permethrin once before you leave, every day, or every few days?
 
B

BethC

Guest
I plan on treating my bag with permethrin, but I have heard this only helps so much, as you don't treat your body with it if the bag is unzipped.
Some Neem oil spray for your skin might at least give peace of mind. You'd probably have to respray after showers/before bed. It can be ordered online.
 
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
Also, do you spray everything with permethrin once before you leave, every day, or every few days?

Noooooo.
I have only used the permethrin once.
That was two years ago when other people on the forum convinced me it was safe.

I sprayed the outside of my pack really good, and I sprayed the OUTSIDE of my bag - just dampened it.
Then I let it dry.

That has lasted me two Caminos.
Or, I should say, I haven't had a bedbug issue in two Caminos.
But, I rarely have a bedbug issue anyway, because I use the method in my blog.

So the answer is
1) Spray your bag at home before you go - just the outside and bottom
2) If you WANT, spray the outside of your sleeping bag
3) Let it dry and you're good to go

If you live in the USA, you can buy Sawyers either on Amazon.com or at REI.

If you're still afraid, you can use OFF or DEET or some type of mosquito repellant.
 
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Anemone del Camino

Guest
Yup.
It's a mosquito repellant that I suggest people spray their bed with to see if there are bedbugs also.

Or you could just use DEET or something like that.

Nooooooo! Neither will help with bed bugs. I followed someone elsés advice on the forum and bought some tule to cover my mattresses with. I sprayed the tule with permutherine before leaving hime. Someone asked me if I was walking the camino to find a husband since I was carrying a wedding veil
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
We finished the CP in June and, frankly, I never even gave a thought about bed bugs! Not once did it pass my mind!
Personally, I do not like the idea of spraying anything that will be next to my body.
So far, maybe I've
been lucky, I have never seen a bed bug ( now 7 Camino's) but, I must admit I dealt with many cases (12) in the two weeks that I was hospitalero in Rabanal (which is one day's walk from Astorga, where the S. Javier is known for being infested. Was then and I believe, still is!
 

MichaelRpdx

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2027
We finished the CP in June and, frankly, I never even gave a thought about bed bugs! Not once did it pass my mind!
Personally, I do not like the idea of spraying anything that will be next to my body.
So far, maybe I've
been lucky, I have never seen a bed bug ( now 7 Camino's) but, I must admit I dealt with many cases (12) in the two weeks that I was hospitalero in Rabanal (which is one day's walk from Astorga, where the S. Javier is known for being infested. Was then and I believe, still is!
Nearly every day you had a case to deal with? Or did you find them in different beds that you treated individually?
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
No, we never found them in the beds in the Albergues where we were hospitaleros. What we had was a continual flow of Pilgrims arriving with bites.
We were very careful when admitting the Pilgrims, and when they registered with us, we showed them an enlarged photo of a bed bug!!! and photos of what the bites look like ( three in a row), asking if they might have such bites!
Yup! 12 cases in the two weeks when we were there.
We then went through a procedure to help the person. First we kept them separate from the main dorm, gave them access to a separate shower room and gave them a large bag full of clean clothes, so that they could choose something suitable to wear, while their entire contents of their backpack, plus the clothes they were wearing could be washed. Personal papers, etc. were kept in a zip lock bag and the backpack was put in a large plastic bag, sprayed with a "bug killer" and left in the field under the sun.
I want to emphasize that all these " victims" arrived from further back on the Camino and S. Javier in Astorga was invariably the place they had slept in the previous night!
 

JuliusG

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Leaving Saint Jean August 30 (2015) with a stop at Orisson.
I plan on treating my bag with permethrin, but I have heard this only helps so much, as you don't treat your body with it if the bag is unzipped.
Hi Jade: Like everything else on the Camino (in life for that matter) comes down to trade-offs. It seems that ninety plus percent of the people on the Camino are not hardcore hikers, they are pellegrinos, so obviously EVERY EXTRA ONCE counts. I consider myself primarily a pellegrino, then a hiker. In my hiker's world, on a scale of 0 - 10, my friends rate me an 8; ten being a total maximalist, zero being a total minimalist. So not surprisingly, my own preference is to carry a wider treated sleeping pad (weight 2.4 lbs.) between the mattress and my sleeping bag, even with that, I check out the mattress for any sign of bed-bugs. I hate bedbugs, bedbug bites, especially bedbug infestation. My own trade-off is that I'd rather carry 2.4 lbs. extra and have that extra layer of protection than a fairly sizable reduction of weight (2.4 lbs. is certainly not an insignificant extra weight for 800 - 1000 km. - no matter how much training you do) but then deccrease my risk of being infected by bedbugs. Additionally, there is always a chance of no accommodation available, so with a pad and a sleeping bag my options increase a lot. I realize that every extra pound/kg. slows you down and every young minimalist will be faster than me. So be it, I am not in a race with anyone, at least not on the Camino. It is MY own trade-off, you need to decide for yourself for your own trade-offs. An additional measure is to carry a black trash can lining, put your infected clothing in it, outside your backpack; if there is hot sun, the inside heat will probably kill them. Of course you will look like a carpet-bagger, but what's worse? Bets of luck and Buen Camino! Julius
 
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Anemone del Camino

Guest
Annakapa, love all the service you provide to the poor victims of these bugs. No wonder this is such a beloved albergue. Givng peregrinos the opportunity to rid themselves of this Stress is a true blessing.

This being said, it was my understanding that it take a while fir the breakfast, lunch and dinner marks to appear. If that is true, perhaps the little buggers have been hitching a ride from before Astorga!
 
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
I want to emphasize that all these " victims" arrived from further back on the Camino and S. Javier in Astorga was invariably the place they had slept in the previous night!

I know we are not supposed to complain about albergues, but S. Javier is horrible, in my opinion.
When I found bedbugs there and SHOWED them, they SHRUGGED!
They did give me back my money, and I caution anyone I talk to not to stay there or at the other place I got my chops busted for mentioning.
 

newgabe

Member
Past OR future Camino
Via Francis May (2016)
Thanks for the great advice in this thread.. AND mentioning specific places where there are issues. I will be starting a section of my walk in Astorga (doing it in 2 bits... ) and am very glad to know where to not pick up hitchers
 

jon albert

New Member
Past OR future Camino
i am kind of social person.
Hi There,


I plan to bring a down sleeping bag for my walk starting late September (I often get cold at night so am playing it safe with the bag).


However, I don't like the idea that if I get warm and unzip my big, I will be welcoming bed bugs to join me. I already plan on treating my bag with permethrin, but I know my body isn't protected from this if I unzip the bag.


Does anyone have any experience with bringing some sort of extremely lightweight mattress/bed cover to put over the beds and then simply put my sleeping bag atop this? My thinking if that then I will have the peace of mind knowing I can unzip if too warm.

Tragus
Infantigo
Rx Drugs
Thank you!


That sounds me a lot!
 

JeepsNRoses

Camino Dreamer
Past OR future Camino
CF (2017) May 15th SJPdP - Pamplona
CF (2019) Dec 18th Sarria - Santiago
CF (2020) May 17th SJPdP
Nooooooo! Neither will help with bed bugs. I followed someone elsés advice on the forum and bought some tule to cover my mattresses with. I sprayed the tule with permutherine before leaving hime. Someone asked me if I was walking the camino to find a husband since I was carrying a wedding veil
I saw a post somewhere about using a piece of very lightweight silk sprayed before leaving home. It needs to be big enough to drape over headboard and posts since they crawl up the posts to feed. I was thinking of making a silk baggie to encase my pack at night.
To be honest, I have read too much about bed bugs lately. Trying to resist any more bug threads for awhile.
 
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Anemone del Camino

Guest
I saw a post somewhere about using a piece of very lightweight silk sprayed before leaving home. It needs to be big enough to drape over headboard and posts since they crawl up the posts to feed. I was thinking of making a silk baggie to encase my pack at night.
To be honest, I have read too much about bed bugs lately. Trying to resist any more bug threads for awhile.
For the bed, no no, it just needs to cover tne mattress as they will not get on the sprayed cover. For your backpack, just pray it.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
OFF works on bed bugs, not just mosquitoes?
As far as I know, no insect repellent (Deet, Off, permethrin as a repellent) has been proven to work with bedbugs. That doesn't mean they don't work. We just don't know! It means that the manufacturers have not proven their effectiveness and therefore cannot claim that they work with bedbugs. Those studies have been carried out for mosquitoes. I have been bitten many times, but not when I use Deet on my exposed skin.
Some Neem oil spray for your skin might at least give peace of mind.
Yes, it might bring peace of mind, but not protection against bedbugs. But then again, we really don't know!
it was my understanding that it take a while fir the breakfast, lunch and dinner marks to appear
First, the set of 3 bites is not a magic number. The point is, people tend to get multiple bites from bedbugs, just as you do from fleas. It is possible to have one or 2 bites only, but you should probably suspect some other insect first. The reaction does take time to appear; it may be hours or days - that depends on the person's allergic reaction. I expect (since it is an allergic reaction) that it could easily be longer on the first occasion and become shorter when the person is sensitized.
Does anyone have any experience with bringing some sort of extremely lightweight mattress/bed cover to put over the beds
This might help, particularly if it is sprayed with an insecticide or repellent. @Anemone del Camino suggests a tulle (bridal veil fabric) that she sprays. You would want about 2.5 m x 1.5 metres to be able to tuck it all around. Don't forget to protect your backpack on the floor, as bedbugs like crevasses on the floor.
just pray it.
This might be your best option in the end!
 

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