Remote Alpine mountain refuges are battling an infestation of bed bugs transferred from hut to hut by hikers in their luggage and sleeping bags.
I've never experienced bed bugs in my life before but just returned from one of the huts on the Tour du Mont Blanc with a few nasty bites on my back.
Have you managed to identify which hut?
They'd have one hell of a job shifting them out of an old hut (we had friends who ran a B&B that got infested - cost them a small fortune and huge amount of hassle to get rid of them and that was in a modern building) - and I bet the huts in question aren't going to be too happy telling the world!
I'd also like to know, as I'm gonna be on the TMB in September.
Any tips on how to look for/deal with bed bugs?
They are not necessarily "Alpine" only, we encountered them in Fort William in a very nice established and clean hostel. They hosts were mortified, but any dirty sleeping bag can bring them in...Most unpleasant!!!
I have been had by the b*stards three times, all in Norway, in the little camping cabins. Unexpected in such a civilised country and pretty unpleasant,
Several DAV huts now microwave all sleeping bags. Knorrhuette is one example.
> Any tips on how to look for/deal with bed bugs?
"looking for bed bugs": Yes - this is based on lots of experience - keep well away from dirty doss houses, hostels, and other delightful places to sleep. Keep well away from the horrible sleeping bags/ gear/ blankets used by some people, and / or kept or found in the above-mentioned places to sleep. Bed bugs love dirty and dusty places/ sleeping gear which are not cleaned regularly
In such conditions, it's a very good idea to sleep in your own tent or other clean place and keep well away from places like the above
> They'd have one hell of a job shifting them out of an old hut (we had friends who ran a B&B that got infested - cost them a small fortune and huge amount of hassle to get rid of them and that was in a modern building) - and I bet the huts in question aren't going to be too happy telling the world!
Once moved into an old flat in London that came fully equipped with the little b'stards.
Landlord sent the pest control guys round with sprays to no avail.
After a bit of reading up, we got permethrin smoke bombs and successfully fumigated the place - if anyone brings them home I'd recommend it.
The eggs hatch on a two week cycle so you need to do it at least twice. We went for a third one a week after to make sure we didn't miss a late hatcher.
Got well munched by bed bugs in a buddhist monastery in Ladakh once. My wife, being much more sensible, used her sleeping bag and was spared. Don't they itch!
Now, pubic lice are an altogether different ball game (scuse the pun). Got furious itching round the old John Thomas after dossing on a dirty mattress in a squat...well, itches need scratching, right? Noticed that I'd scratched off a wee scab...decided to examine it...while I was squinting at it, it started walking away! Freaky...made more freaky cos I was doing a lot of acid and mushrooms at the time. Went to chemist to get the medicated shampoo stuff, then had to call the girlfriend I had recently split up from (my call) and tell her that, no, I wasn't calling to get back together, and that she should probably get down to the chemist's...
I brought one home on my suitcase last year. Nightmare. An hour's work on the bed with the vacuum cleaner and max temp wash for the bedding worked fortunately.
Never put luggage on the bed. If you know there's a risk, use plastic bags for everything.
I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Seriously, once had an infestation of them in New Zealand and did a lot of research and essentially you have to take all your stuff and put it in storage for six months, then burn it. Horrible, horrible bastards.
Stayed in a camping pod in kinlochlevan last year that was full of them - woke up eye to eye with one on the mattress. Did lots of research to avoid bringing them home. Luckily I was using an old sleeping bag which I binned. Put all my kit in bin bags outside the house and put them in a chest freezer for a couple of weeks ( you need to beat the egg/hatching cycle) and kept them away.
Worth remembering that they’re not fussy about class and quite happy to live in a 5 star hotel as well as hostels etc.
I used to work in a large basic accommodation place and one thing we did to reduce the chance of getting bed bugs was to insist guests used our bedding. No sleeping bags allowed!
This is... not the thread I wanted to read before heading off for a week or so of hut-to-hut in the Pyrenees.
Any more advice for things to do to minimize the risk of having to burn all my gear when we get back?
I got bitten in a small hotel in Abidjan. The owner was scandalised when I told her the next morning... "Ah non monsieur - c'est IMPOSSIBLE!"
They hide by day in nooks and crevices in the bed frame and mattress and emerge at night to get a meal of blood. Best way to avoid spreading them is always to place your luggage on the stand or the floor and not on the bed. When I got back from Abidjan Mrs RR went absolutely bonkers and insisted I sprayed then washed out my suitcase.
I think the big worry for me is stopping in an unstaffed hut (with no bedding) and having them get into my proper sleeping bag. Is there much we can do about that, short of just putting a tent up outside every time?
If you get bitten I would freeze the sleeping bag, then wash it, dry it, and freeze it again.
> Several DAV huts now microwave all sleeping bags. Knorrhuette is one example.
If read this too. How does that work with metal zips etc?
In alpine huts you normally don't use your regular outdoor sleeping bag, but hut bags resembling sleeping bag liners.
> I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
> Seriously, once had an infestation of them in New Zealand and did a lot of research and essentially you have to take all your stuff and put it in storage for six months, then burn it. Horrible, horrible bastards.
Why don't you just burn it straight away?
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