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Bed Bugs- Backpackers opinions

Travel Forums General Talk Bed Bugs- Backpackers opinions

1. Posted by lil_lisa (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I am travelling Europe at the moment, mid way through my holiday.

I think it's necessary to have a forum on bed bugs, in general, i would like to know peoples experiences with them, what they recommend if staying in an infested place, and how to prevent spreading them etc.

Have stayed in several places with 'itches' in the night from the bed.
We obviously left first thing in the morning, first off when waking up was to shower, and wash all our stuff. I've heard that after washing your things, to put them in the dryer on high for at least 20-40 minutes.

This may be extreme but as we still felt itchy we felt the need to make sure they were not still on us, to which we bought a can of bug spray and sprayed ourselves (clothing). it seemed to do the trick.

Have also heard that tea tree oil works good....

Any helpful information???

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 5, 2007, at 6:19 AM by lil_lisa ]

2. Posted by Nicip (Full Member 112 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Take a pig with you of course!!!........................................................................................................................

3. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello Lis_lisa:)

I dont know what is causing the itching, but I have never heard about any country in Europe, which has bedbugs in the beds. Maybe u have an allergy, for something.

Even if there are bed bugs, I dont think u need worry about spreading them. As far as I know, they just feed on people at night, but they dont stay on you.


4. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Actually, most everywhere has bed bugs, and they have been making a comeback in recent years, even infesting high end hotels. National Geographic has an article on it here: Blood thirsty bedbugs make a comeback. Unfortunately, bedbugs aren't attracted by dirty conditions, just the carbon dioxide you emit when sleeping, so you can't even look at a hotel and know it's clean just because it's fancy.

As for what to do...

1. Avoid:

The following advice is provided from When entering a hotel room, look around. Bed bugs are large enough to see. Look particularly under the mattress and in the seams, in and around the bedframe, and along any cracks or peeling paint in the wall or picture frames. Check in the cracks of any wooden furniture, particularly antiques. You can also spot bed bugs droppings, which may be tinged with blood.

2. Treatment for your bites:

If you get biten, the good news is that most indications are that there isn't any risk of disease. Bed bugs bite exposed skin and leave behind small, red, itchy welts. The CDC does say that bites from bed bugs can be treated with topical emollients or corticosteroids. You can also take an oral antihistamine. (also from

3. Keep them out of your stuff:

From the City of Ottawa site, they suggest the following. When travelling, take the following precautions:

  • Upon entering your room, leave your luggage outside or in the centre of the room.
  • During your stay, keep all belongings in your luggage and wrap your luggage in a white plastic bag to help prevent bed bugs from entering your luggage. If possible, move the bed away from the wall, tuck in all bed sheets and keep blankets from touching the floor.
  • When you return home, keep your luggage in an isolated area of your home, such as the garage. Give your luggage a thorough inspection. Remove clothing from luggage and wash in the hottest water possible and dry in a hot air clothes drier.

If you get them in your house, the Toronto Health Site has some good advice on getting rid of them.

You know, I should copy this over to the wiki health thing... I think I may do that....

...and it's done: Bed Bugs on Travellerspoint Travel Guide


[ Edit: Edited on Jul 6, 2007, at 6:50 AM by GregW ]

5. Posted by john7buck (Respected Member 458 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I have been the victim of bed bugs, in Tahiti of all places, and I can't say they were too fun. Plus, I really felt violated in the night.

I'm not sure if this is actually the best means to get rid of them, but when I arrived in the Cook Islands and showed my spots to the man running the hostel, he made me strip down, threw all of the contents from my backpack into a plastic garbage bag and then sprayed the crap out of all of my belongings with insect killer. Afterwhich, I obviously gave my stuff a good washing.

The spots/lumps lasted an annoyingly long time, they did eventually go away. As for whether you have been a victim of them in Europe, I think you would know it if you have. Aside from just "scratchy things in the night"; this is what happened to me:

-A trail of red dots developed in a line up my arm. (Not too itchy at first)

-Each dot developed a ring around it, kind of like a reef around an island.

-Dots became very itching and when I scratched them, they welted up to golf ball size bumps. (I think I have a picture in my photo gallery at the very end)

-Eventually they go down leaving red marks for like a month or more.

Oh yeah, and while I was in this dodgy little hostel, I could actually see tiny little bugs filing up the walls next to my bed. So I think Greg is right, they'll be visible.

Good luck. Hope you don't have'em!

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 6, 2007, at 1:52 PM by john7buck ]

6. Posted by Clanger (Full Member 201 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Yeah we get bed bugs in the UK...they are everywhere...!

It sounds like you've got it sussed with your spray technique. Tell the hotel/hostel owner about them if you encounter them and yeah heat treat your clothes, bags, self. The only thing I found to stop the itchyness was something similar to Tiger balm which I bought when I was in Cambodia.

There isnt really a way of stopping yourself getting eaten, and the bloody spots can stay with you for as long as 3 weeks.

I travelled the world for 8 mths and experienced them in my last 3 weeks in NZ.

7. Posted by lil_lisa (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I guess what i have experienced is not anything severe... within about half an hour of lying on the bed we (myself and also my fellow traveller have found this) notice feelings like things are crawling over us, i'm guessing these things are tiny as, and it's rarely a bite feeling. more of an itchyness from things crawling. i haven't found any big bites, my mate has.
on one occasion i resorted to spraying the whole bed, ditching the blanket and pillow and lying on top of a towel. bloody freezing but not as itchy.

it can't be an allergy. some beds are fine, but when they're not i know within a little while of laying/sitting on the bed. definitely an invasion kinda feeling.

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