Bed Bugs

So I have been researching things on the Camino forum and this morning, like many mornings, I was reading about the horrors of bed bugs.  Several years ago when my daughter, sister and I went to Europe, I woke up in Venice with what we Europe Trip 2010 Aidan - (734)called spider bites, on my forehead.  Largish, reddish, painless itchy welts.  Somewhat unsightly but I didn’t really think too much about it.  Could have been mosquito bites, or gnats etc.  But now, reading all the horrors of the  Camino alberques and the bed bug infestations, I’m thinking that may have been what got me in Venice.  So now, how to prevent the bites, and also the bringing home of the little darlings.  Treating sleeping bags and packs with permethrin is one of the preferred methods, but this insecticide is not available in Canada.  Therefore, do I want to use something not available in Canada?  Supposedly low toxicity to humans but deadly to cats (and bed bugs).  I can get it in Spain before I start.  I could also buy a commercially treated sheet that fits over the mattresses and stops the bugs from getting into my sleeping bag.  Many pilgrims report never seeing a bug their whole travels, but its the just in case thing.  Lavender is also supposed to slow them down, but many people report lavender is ineffective.  What to do?  Bites are one thing, but I really don’t want to be a vector and transport them anywhere–my relatives in Vienna or to my own home.  Several weeks in the freezer kills eggs, larvae and adult bugs–as does hot wash, hot dry, or dry cleaning.  I suppose once I reach the end I will  hot wash/ dry clean everything before heading to family, and throw everything into the freezer, (or an outside shed at home).  A Canadian winter should kill just about everything.  I’m going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

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