Monday, January 29, 2007

Bed Bugs

There is a story on Boing Boing today about a bed bug plague in New York that reminded me about a not so nice side to backpacking in Australia. They were almost eradicated in the 1950s but have come back with a vengence in the last few years. Experts are theorising that international travel is to blame with bed bugs being carried back in luggage.

I fucking hate bed bugs. The east coast of Australia seemed to be crawling with them. All the way up the coast people were talking about where they had gotten bitten and how bad it was or wasn't. Some people, girls especially, were completely freaked out by the idea of them. Hygiene is an issue but some of the cleanest and most expensive hostels had beds with bed bugs, big hostels and small, cities and small towns, even some boats on the Whitsundays. It's all down to idiots bringing and using their own sleeping bags. The bed bugs get into the sleeping bags and then get carried from hostel to hostel. They also get into people backpacks when they leave them on beds. Most hostels ban sleeping bags and that helps but you still get people that insist on using their own sleeping bags instead of paying a deposit for linen.

Unfortunately for me it turned out I was allergic to the little bastards. I got bitten in Brisbane, ironically not in bed but after falling asleep in an arm chair in a TV room. Nothing I could do, except have anti-histamines handy, which cured any bites quickly and make sure I regularly used a clothes drier on high heat to kill any that made it into my stuff. Another handy tip from an Oz guide was to put backpacks into a black bin liner bag and leave it out in the sun to fry the little bastards.
[via Boing Boing]

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