Bed bugs in Patagonia, can’t use dryer, with backpack: what to do?

by nobugsonme on March 26, 2007 · 3 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs and travel

Travelbug writes in the forums from an awkward position (I moved this here since the forum is temporarily out of service).


We are a couple and right now in Ushuaia, Argentina, the end of the world. Right now we are stuck here because we found bedbugs in our bed, 2.
The owner first didn’t believe us, told us they were insect bites form a hike in the national park. But guess, we did’t hike here. Day later we found one adult bedbug, took a picture and showed it to the owner. The owner called a doctor and the doctor told us they where ticks, no worries. We didn’t believe them, we know how ticks
look. We went to the internet to find pictures and yes, bedbugs. Bugs here in general are rare, cats and dogs don’t have fleas for example. So the people here have no experience with bedbugs.

All these things I find on this site is about your home, but our problem is a little different. We want to know what is the best strategy for us. Here in Ushuaia there is no PCO so won’t be able to ask them to help.

This is what we did:

Put all our stuff outside, so if there are bugs right now they cannot bite us anymore, All our clothing is washed, not put in the dryer because most of our syntetic clothing cannot stand hot dryers. Every evening before we go to bed we take a shower and go buttnaked into a new room as far as possible from the first room.
We checked all our stuff, everything that could soke in hot water was soked. Most of it is right now unpacked trying to dry in the rain.
We checked the down sleepingbag for signs, several times didn’t see anything and put it in a plastic bag and sprayed some Raid inside. This is the only insecticide you can find here.

The owners called Buenos Aires and asked advice. Right now some chemicals are coming by bus (not allowed to fly) and they going to smoke out the place. In a week’s time the hostel is closing, smoke the place and then they close all heating and it will be freezing temperatures inside for a couple of months. The hostel is an alone standing building.

Our main concerns are the backpacks. There soaked in boiling water but is this enough?

see photos of travelbug’s “Argentinian souvenirs”…

Travelbug, sorry the forum is having problems.

Let me get this straight: you’re now in a room that you believe has no bed bugs? Have you seen any (or carcasses, or black specks or black smudges? The feces can be small and hard like a poppyseed, or damp, or make black stains on clothing, beds etc.)

If your new room is not infested, and you see nothing on your stuff, you may be fine. The most important thing is when you get somewhere else, you try and (as a back-up) treat your stuff again. For example, you could put many things in a dryer, often (though not always) even if they say not to. You can also dry clean (though its best to ask the dry cleaner to keep your items separate). Maybe you can find a company that has a huge freezer and freeze everything for a week (we’re told that -29 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 days kills adults and nymphs).

If you were bitten in the old room, and aren’t bitten now, maybe you are okay.

If you’re still being bitten, or start to be, that will be another matter. The real problem is not so much being exposed to a few bed bugs that might have come with you to a different room. The real problem is if you take those bugs when you leave the hotel. So are you going anywhere after this where you can treat them?

1 willow-the-wisp March 30, 2007 at 12:45 am

that’s tough. Your traveling and so you could have gotten them anywhere… I’d think that boiling water would kill–but I’m not positive. An hour of boiling water kills just about anything and everything. I’ve put some of my packpacks into the dryer … The cheaper ones melted slightly. But I’m guessing you mean packs so large that they won’t even fit into the dryer.
Good that they are doing so much at the hostle–you seem very proactive.
91% rubbing alcohol supposedly kills on contact. I’ve used that to at least keep them at bay. You need to use a spray bottle and caution becasue of flammability though. Most of this you probalby alreeady know.
Best I’ve learned about the bb is that it takes months to get rid of them because of the 5 molts and the small size–and the fact that you can rarely see them.
on return trips–can you maybe put the packs into heavy duty duct tape sealed shut–can you mail your stuff back home at the end of your trip–after it is sealed up like that?
Just some suggestions you might not have thought of.
Best wishes

2 lil_bit_obsessed December 15, 2007 at 9:22 pm

i have a large 80 L expedition pack, which i’m assuming is probably similar to what you are traveling with?? i soaked mine in a tub of steaming hot water for about a half hour, allowed it to hang dry (hanging from the shower bar), and then once dry i took it to a local laundromat and placed it in one of the oversize dryers for well over an hour on high heat (from bone dry, note). i JUST managed to squeeze it into the dryer, and as far as i can tell, it hasn’t done any damage to the pack. with the thick thick hip bands on the larger expedition packs, it’s hard to know if the hot water and dryer heat is enough, but i have my fingers crossed that it has been safely de-infested (if it was ever infested to begin with, i’m not sure…)

3 lil_bit_obsessed December 15, 2007 at 9:24 pm

p.s. i realize having access to a dryer while traveling is touch and go… but if you have already soaked it in boiling water, you can use a dryer as a backup method when you are in a place that does have one? (aka. home, but before you go to your house)

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