Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 14 - What...bedbugs!?

Talk about discovering the good, the bad and the ugly! I've tried to ignore it everytime I read about it this week but I actually have to accept that there is a very real possibility of encountering bedbugs on the camino.

Ok. That's not good.

Albergues are hostels where people come and go and I suppose it really is inevitable that a bug or two will pop up somewhere. Best I just figure out how to deal with it because there ain't too many five star hotels along the route...

So, I figured if I could survive 6 days on a mountain without a proper roof over my head, electricity or running water, I can tackle a few bedbugs. This is my plan of action...

Firstly - find out exactly what a bedbug is.

Wikipedia describes a bedbug as follows:

'Bedbugs or bed bugs are small parasitic insects of the family Cimicidae (most commonly Cimex lectularius). The term usually refers to species that prefer to feed on human blood. All insects in this family live by feeding exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals. The name 'bedbug' is derived from the insect's preferred habitat of houses and especially beds or other areas where people sleep. Bedbugs, though not strictly nocturnal, are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts.'

Secondly - digest that information without cancelling the trip.

Thirdly - search the Internet for tips and remedies - especially as I'm going to be in a different bed every night.

Fourthly - invest in a tent and roll-up mattress and figure out what to travel without so that I van carry that extra weight.

And lastly - just relax, maybe it won't be a problem at all.

I'm happy to report that I think I found a possible answer to the problem. I'm going to have to train Abbey the Yorkie to detect the little critters.

I found evidence that you can teach a dog to do that. Abbey weighs 1,7kg and can come into Spain via Portugal with me as they have no quarantine laws. There.

Who said dogs sleep all day - watch this...

I have to be at our local sportsfield at 05:15 tomorrow morning to help with registration at our club's annual cycle race, so guess I'll put the bugs to bed for the time being!


  1. Love your photo of the shore with Table Mt. in the background. How awesome you've decided to see the world!
    The bed bugs are found in bedding everywhere. None in my home, but my friends traveled to the Darien jungle in Panama and then left with a stop over in Panama City. Yes, bed bugs bit them in the worst place..their rear ends. Imagine sitting on a flight for so many hours with those bites all over itching them. Hope your Yorkie has the ability to sniff them out. What will you do if you can find no place that is free of bed bugs? Can you wear some kind of lotion that repels them?
    I'm stopping by from SITs tribe Giraffe and Goose. I'll sign up for your offerings as I look through your blog. Nice to meet you!

  2. Hi Donna - I cannot imagine sitting on a plane nursing bed bug bites!! I read on one of the camino sites someone suggested spraying the bed with mosquito spray, if there are any bugs they will appear... horrors! Anyway, I'll be chatting to quite a few peole who've recently done the walk and will hear what they have to say! Thank you so much for joining, I'll go and look you up as well!

  3. Terrific entry! I think the dog is your lightest way to go! Unless you wanna try what we did! there are some good sprays that you put on the bedding (we sprayed our fleece bags) and let dry. It's made from some type of Crysanthemum. And according to my hubby (who's in the pest control field) it's highly effective. Personally...not one bite on the Camino Portuguese. Next go round, I'm also spraying the bag itself. Take that you bed bugs!

  4. Ugh, I live just outside of Manhattan which has had a surge in bedbugs lately so it's definitely a growing concern everywhere. Good luck on your travels! And having a bedbug sniffing dog is going to be insanely useful ;) I heard there's a way you can see bedbugs between mattresses or on headboards (I think they might be attracted to wood). You'll have to look for dried patches of blood (I know, wonderful, right?). I'm excited to hear all about your journey and am your latest follower!

  5. I just returned from the Camino Frances and I can tell you that even though I stayed in some very low cost albergues, and some that had "questionable" mattress and blankets, I only had one little episode where a few of us had little round bites on us (I had 6 in a row on my thigh and leg) however it was one day where our small group members slept in different places all together - so I don't think it was the albergues or in my case, the casa...

    I did not sleep with a liner, but my sleeping bag, and at a few albergues with sheets and comforters.
    I think the problem may be overblown but it's always better to check - and many of the albergues now have mattress covered in this bright blue plastic fabric, and they give you a disposable thin cover that you dispose of each morning.


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, I welcome your input!