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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

Soap

Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
#1
I'm a mosquito magnet.
I start to believe that my friends invite me out during summer only because all mosquitoes will come to me and they won't be bitten.
I'm also the favorite meal of all other blood sucking insects.
Only DEET keeps them at bay completely, but I hate it since it has melted the plastic of one of my Swiss Army Knife, so now I use only plant based repellents which are not as good as DEET, but they make me less palatable.
I never encountered bed bugs (otherwise I would've been bitten) and this forum has been a wealth of information.
I will treat all my gear with a Permethrin based repellent, but since I will use essential oil based repellents on my skin, mainly against mosquitoes, I was considering using special soaps as well.
I saw that there are natural soaps (mostly bars, but some in liquid form too) made with extract of insect repelling plants, such as Neem and Citronella. I was wondering if someone has first hand experience with them, can they really help in repelling mosquitoes or other blood sucking insects such as bed bugs?
There are very few options on my side of the pond, but if they are as good as they claim to be I can eventually get a good one from the US.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#2
I've never had mosquitos pester me on the Camino Frances.
On the Portuguese route, they were as big as buzzards but only bugged me at night.

If DEET doesn't bother you, I'd use it at night., and if you treat your gear as well, you should be fine.
 
D

Deleted member 83944

Guest
#3
I am mosquito fodder too, but never seem to have any problems in Spain, at any time of year. I did get bitten by a horsefly last time, but they are not common.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
#4
For the Spanish route I was more concerned about bed bugs since I'll mostly stay in albergues. France and especially Italy will be a problem for mosquitoes also because I'll try to stay in campings as much as possible, I don't know about Switzerland. But it also depends on the season I guess.
Thanks for the reply.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#5
I'm a mosquito magnet.
I start to believe that my friends invite me out during summer only because all mosquitoes will come to me and they won't be bitten.
I'm also the favorite meal of all other blood sucking insects.
Only DEET keeps them at bay completely, but I hate it since it has melted the plastic of one of my Swiss Army Knife, so now I use only plant based repellents which are not as good as DEET, but they make me less palatable.
I never encountered bed bugs (otherwise I would've been bitten) and this forum has been a wealth of information.
I will treat all my gear with a Permethrin based repellent, but since I will use essential oil based repellents on my skin, mainly against mosquitoes, I was considering using special soaps as well.
I saw that there are natural soaps (mostly bars, but some in liquid form too) made with extract of insect repelling plants, such as Neem and Citronella. I was wondering if someone has first hand experience with them, can they really help in repelling mosquitoes or other blood sucking insects such as bed bugs?
There are very few options on my side of the pond, but if they are as good as they claim to be I can eventually get a good one from the US.
Citronella: I splatter it on the back door to try to deter beasties from coming in for a visit. The smell is not pleasant. I would think twice about using a deterrent that could interfere with good relations in an albergue.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
#6
I agree Neem and Citronella have a strong and unpleasant smell, especially Neem. I tend to avoid using them indoor, that's why I was thinking about soaps. They might have a less pungent fragrance and they will be diluted during the shower as well. Who knows, I guess I'll need to give them a try then.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#7
I've never had mosquitos pester me on the Camino Frances.
On the Portuguese route, they were as big as buzzards but only bugged me at night.

If DEET doesn't bother you, I'd use it at night., and if you treat your gear as well, you should be fine.
Hi Annie, I am planning to walk the Portuguese route in April. What month did you walk and when you say you were bitten at night, do you mean when exploring the towns in the evening or do mosquitos "sneak" in the lodgings?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#8
I live in Minnesota where we facetiously call the mosquito our state bird. I am also a mosquito magnet. I had no trouble on the Camino Frances. Also, if you are into natural products, I’m not sure why you’d want to treat all your gear with such a nasty product as permethrin. It doesn’t repel bed bugs, and only kills them if you spray it directly on them.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#9
I'm a mosquito magnet.
I start to believe that my friends invite me out during summer only because all mosquitoes will come to me and they won't be bitten.
I'm also the favorite meal of all other blood sucking insects.
Only DEET keeps them at bay completely, but I hate it since it has melted the plastic of one of my Swiss Army Knife, so now I use only plant based repellents which are not as good as DEET, but they make me less palatable.
I never encountered bed bugs (otherwise I would've been bitten) and this forum has been a wealth of information.
I will treat all my gear with a Permethrin based repellent, but since I will use essential oil based repellents on my skin, mainly against mosquitoes, I was considering using special soaps as well.
I saw that there are natural soaps (mostly bars, but some in liquid form too) made with extract of insect repelling plants, such as Neem and Citronella. I was wondering if someone has first hand experience with them, can they really help in repelling mosquitoes or other blood sucking insects such as bed bugs?
There are very few options on my side of the pond, but if they are as good as they claim to be I can eventually get a good one from the US.
I have used this spray very successfully in mosquito-ridden areas (not on the Camino francés) https://www.arkopharma.com/en-GB/mosquito-repellent-body-spray
It is available in pharmacies in France or through the internet...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
#10
I live in Minnesota where we facetiously call the mosquito our state bird. I am also a mosquito magnet. I had no trouble on the Camino Frances. Also, if you are into natural products, I’m not sure why you’d want to treat all your gear with such a nasty product as permethrin. It doesn’t repel bed bugs, and only kills them if you spray it directly on them.
The North of Italy where I live is plagued by mosquitoes and each year there are more and more cases of Chikungunya, West Nile and Dengue Fever transmitted by them. Plus, I have bad reactions when bitten by Tiger Mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus). The fact that I prefer natural products on my skin is because DEET ruins my synthetic clothes (at a % that is effective in repelling bugs) and because it leaves a nasty oily feeling and smells (on my skin). So I rather use plant-based repellents which I can apply and reapply without too many concerns.
I will get into contact with Permethrin for an extended period of time only through my sleeping liner and when is already dried and aired for days, so I hope it won't do much damage to me.
Regarding bed bugs I found many discordant views on what repels them, I'm just trying to be a less inviting meal for all blood sucking bugs overall and I hope that every little helps.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#12
For the Spanish route I was more concerned about bed bugs since I'll mostly stay in albergues. France and especially Italy will be a problem for mosquitoes also because I'll try to stay in campings as much as possible, I don't know about Switzerland. But it also depends on the season I guess.
Thanks for the reply.
I used that spray in France (camping near rivers!) and Italy (in the rice fields)! Are you walking the Via Francigena? :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#13
Hi Annie, I am planning to walk the Portuguese route in April. What month did you walk and when you say you were bitten at night, do you mean when exploring the towns in the evening or do mosquitos "sneak" in the lodgings?
I walked in the late spring. The mosquitos were in the albergues at night.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#14
I walked in the late spring. The mosquitos were in the albergues at night.
I often buy one of those plastic fly swatters ( ?) in a Chinese bazaar. Light, cheap and... do the job ;) A3AEE568-A4BC-4BEB-A36C-A1DCCA041551.jpeg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#15
I often buy one of those plastic fly swatters ( ?) in a Chinese bazaar. Light, cheap and... do the job ;) View attachment 46923
Well, those are great if the windows are closed, or the screens don't have holes.

In my VAN, the ceiling is literally less than a foot from my face.
I often kill mosquitos by shining my flashlight on the ceiling above me then squishing the little devils when they come to the light. However, in a large albergue, with windows open, this could take a lifetime.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#16
Well, those are great if the windows are closed, or the screens don't have holes.

In my VAN, the ceiling is literally less than a foot from my face.
I often kill mosquitos by shining my flashlight on the ceiling above me then squishing the little devils when they come to the light. However, in a large albergue, with windows open, this could take a lifetime.
Good point! I guess I was lucky being on my own most nights so could shut window and start swatting :) Didn’t need to often, fortunately.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
#17
I used that spray in France (camping near rivers!) and Italy (in the rice fields)! Are you walking the Via Francigena? :)
Part of it, on the way to Santiago I'll go from Vercelli to Montgenevre and on the way back I'll do Le Puy - Geneva route, then Lauseanne and down to Vercelli, then Novara and back home.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#18
Part of it, on the way to Santiago I'll go from Vercelli to Montgenevre and on the way back I'll do Le Puy - Geneva route, then Lauseanne and down to Vercelli, then Novara and back home.
Oh how wonderful :cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#19
The North of Italy where I live is plagued by mosquitoes and each year there are more and more cases of Chikungunya, West Nile and Dengue Fever transmitted by them. Plus, I have bad reactions when bitten by Tiger Mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus). The fact that I prefer natural products on my skin is because DEET ruins my synthetic clothes (at a % that is effective in repelling bugs) and because it leaves a nasty oily feeling and smells (on my skin). So I rather use plant-based repellents which I can apply and reapply without too many concerns.
I will get into contact with Permethrin for an extended period of time only through my sleeping liner and when is already dried and aired for days, so I hope it won't do much damage to me.
Regarding bed bugs I found many discordant views on what repels them, I'm just trying to be a less inviting meal for all blood sucking bugs overall and I hope that every little helps.
The link below provides excellent resources on bed bugs from someone who researches them for a living. What they’ve found is that the sprays only work if you spray them directly on the bugs. Sprays have limited residual effect. Given the number of people who never encountered bed bugs on the Camino (including me), it is highly likely that those who did use permethrin and didn’t have bed bug problems simply never encountered them.

http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pdf/bb-millerbasics.pdf
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte end of March 2019
#20
Got bitten by a couple giant bats. I think were flies Or mosquitos. I had allergic reaction but didnt see any bed bugs . Walked in April/may
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#21
Got bitten by a couple giant bats. I think were flies Or mosquitos. I had allergic reaction but didnt see any bed bugs . Walked in April/may
Bats!? :oops:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
#25
The link below provides excellent resources on bed bugs from someone who researches them for a living. What they’ve found is that the sprays only work if you spray them directly on the bugs. Sprays have limited residual effect. Given the number of people who never encountered bed bugs on the Camino (including me), it is highly likely that those who did use permethrin and didn’t have bed bug problems simply never encountered them.

http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pdf/bb-millerbasics.pdf
That was very informative, thanks for sharing it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#27
It seems to me that March in Portugal is cold enough not to be a problem with mosquitos? When you say "late spring", what are you referring to? Thank you!
It's been too many years. I'll ask Joe today. I honestly don't remember, I've walked so many Caminos and I have been to Portugal many times. I have family in the Azores.
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte end of March 2019
#28
It's been too many years. I'll ask Joe today. I honestly don't remember, I've walked so many Caminos and I have been to Portugal many times. I have family in the Azores.
Muito Prazer. Love love the Azores lived and worked on Teceira 2 years. Traveled to mainland several times, Faial, Pico (climbed Mount Pico), Graciosa , Sao Miguel and Sao Jorge. Amazing place with beautiful people and beautiful culture.
I dont remember mosquitos being a problem on the mainland or Azores but this was back in the early 90’s
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#31
Muito Prazer. Love love the Azores lived and worked on Teceira 2 years. Traveled to mainland several times, Faial, Pico (climbed Mount Pico), Graciosa , Sao Miguel and Sao Jorge. Amazing place with beautiful people and beautiful culture.
I dont remember mosquitos being a problem on the mainland or Azores but this was back in the early 90’s
They never bothered me in the Azores, but ate me alive on the Caminho
 
Camino(s) past & future
future
#34
I make my own soap and body butter that works on repelling mosquitoes and also Is great for preventing blisters. I cannot even use commercial products anymore because they will dry me out.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#36
just found this. you are such a scream! bitten by bats, indeed! prove it! oops, sorry, forgot this is not my favourite thread...
Kirkie, YOU are such a scream! Funny that you noticed the 'bats' as I'm sure she meant 'gnats'! I got a good laugh after you observed the poopah! 😁
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte end of March 2019
#37
just found this. you are such a scream! bitten by bats, indeed! prove it! oops, sorry, forgot this is not my favourite thread...
Hahah:p. I wish I had taken a picture. ;) Mothra came to mind :D
That’s like the mosquitos here in Florida they are definately not small....they really do look like bats 🦇
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte end of March 2019
#38
Kirkie, YOU are such a scream! Funny that you noticed the 'bats' as I'm sure she meant 'gnats'! I got a good laugh after you observed the poopah! 😁
Hahahah. Gnats would imply small :p . Actually I think it may have been a horse fly.
I had a bad allergic reaction in the form of 3 giant itchy red welts same as I do with mosquitos. I use a plant based repellant but forgot to use it that day. I always wear long sleeves and long pants, carry a antibiotic cream and a epi pen for severe allergies.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#39
Hahahah. Gnats would imply small :p . Actually I think it may have been a horse fly.
I had a bad allergic reaction in the form of 3 giant itchy red welts same as I do with mosquitos. I use a plant based repellant but forgot to use it that day. I always wear long sleeves and long pants, carry a antibiotic cream and a epi pen for severe allergies.
I only recently learned that gnats are ... mosquitoes. Never too late, but much more important, the missing partner has been found!
 

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