hey guys, I was looking up some bungalows on koh phangan through tripadvisor, and something i didn't think about came up. Bed bugs! Is it true that pretty much all cheaper bungalows got bed bugs? There's no way in hell i can sleep with those bastards, is there some kind of prevention method I'm not aware of? Also, do those bungalows have locked doors/windows? i mean can i lock my luggage in there?
thanks in advance!
#1 bananapunk has been a member since 7/9/2008. Posts: 6
No, it's not true that all low budget places have bed bugs. They don't distinguish between low budget and high end. They go wherever the person carrying them goes, and we all taste the same to them regardless of how much money we have.
Bed bug infestations are on the rise throughout the world and they can be found anywhere and everywhere.
Look for bloodstains on the walls. You can check the bedsheets for bloodstains, too, but sometimes these are created when engorged mozzies get squished. If there are bloodstains on the walls around the bed, look for another place.
Unless you're in a dorm room, you should be able to lock up. And unless you're staying in a rustic, thatched bungalow, your rooms will probably be quite secure.
Don't bring anything of great value with you especially when you travel and choose to stay in really cheap places. Some hostel/hotels have security boxes that you can use. Your greatest chance to have something stolen from your room may be from a fellow tourist NOT necessarily the hotel staff!
"Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite!" (Several definitions.) One definition is that travelers of old would wrap themselves in a tight sheet to keep the critters out - kind of uncomfortable though! Another definition is to wrap the mattress real tight with your own sheet and keep the buggers confined! Most common definition is to tighten the ropes on your hammock type bed to make it less droopy, maybe not touch the floor and have bed bugs walk up your linen for their dinner.
In over 14 years of travel all over the world, in particular in Asia, I have never come across any - and I stay in places always under $25 US. Could there have been some bed bugs in my mattress - maybe - but I never noticed any!
#3 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
I've stayed in $2/night places and never been bitten by bed bugs ...not in Asia anyway. I never travel without a sarong (buy one locally) They are very useful multi-purpose things and can be used as a sheet if necessary.
You can always buy a can of insecticide spray when you're there if you want....even the smallest stores usually have them.
I've only experienced them once, and that was in Bangkok. The problem was addressed immediately (in the middle of the night) by the owner. The last thing any guest house owner wants is a bed bug infestation. Word travels quickly.
Also, in most of the smaller places, the family has to live there, too, and bed bugs will migrate up to 100 ft. They don't want to live with them!
In my case, the bed bugs were brought in by the person who stayed in the bed before me, and that person, according to the people who knew her, just came from India and had some hygiene issues.
I also woke up once with a rat sitting on my chest ... in Chiangmai. No spray was going to help with that.
Again, check the walls around the bed. And if you're really nervous about it, do this ...
1) move the bed about 1 ft. away from the wall(s)
2) check the mattress thoroughly, especially in the seams that run lengthwise along it
3) check for blood spots on the mattress (if you see them, go somewhere else)
4) make sure the sheet lining your mattress is tightly tucked in beneath the mattress
5) as mentioned above, make sure that your sheets don't go down to the floor, especially when you're in bed
6) buy a small tube of vaseline and smear a 3" long area around EACH bed leg
Most bed bugs don't live in or on the bed, especially in guest houses where the bedding is changed and the bed is disturbed often. They are more commonly found under baseboards, cracks in floors, etc. and only come out at night. The only way up to the dinner table is via the bed legs, wall, or bedding. So, cut off those routes and you'll be fine.
Ah yes rats... there are rats on all the islands and you often see them at night in the streets of BKK too.
Also often frogs in the bathrooms of cheap beach huts. They come in via the hole in the wall where the shower water drains out (plumbing is very basic in beach huts) and sometimes other things get in too.... big centipedes that can give a nasty bite and I once found a king cobra on the floor of my hut right next to my bed in the middle of the night on Ko Phayam. It was after one of the frogs but I managed to shoo it out the door OK with the light from my torch (while standing well away on the bed I might add). This only happened once though, so don't worry too much. Just be aware that there are a few pit vipers and cobras about so best to use a torch when walking at night and watch where you're putting your feet. I've seen two green pit vipers too but outside, not in my hut.
There are also gheckos everywhere. Noisy things but they eat mosquitoes so they are good. Mosquito nets in beach huts prevent ghecko shit falling on your bed as well as keeping the mozzies out.
To add to what tilapia wrote :
(7) Make sure the mosquito net is draped over the sides and ends of your bed, it's not much use if it just covers the part of the bed you're on.
(8) Sleep in some clothes that cover your whole body. I used a thin pair of leggings bought at an op shop and a long-sleeved tee-shirt. You could probably pick something up cheaply at a Thai market.
Having said all that, don't let worrying about what may go wrong ruin your holiday. I've heard stories about people convinced they will be sick/robbed/hurt on their holiday and eventually nothing happens except they have a rotten time. I even know of one case where a girl who went overseas was so sure she would get ill from the local food that she became ill and had to cut short her holiday. And guess what? When she got home her doctor found nothing wrong with her.
#7 mic59 has been a member since 30/7/2008. Posts: 107
thanks for all the input guys, VERY useful tips, i found the one with Vaseline pretty amusing, i can already see those buggers sliding , trying to climb the bed :)
i'll also get one of those super thin "sleeping bags" too.
#8 bananapunk has been a member since 7/9/2008. Posts: 6
Hey Bananapunk ... the vaseline won't cause them to slide back down the bed leg. If they wander into the stuff they'll get stuck there.
But, yes, I can see them lining up to take turns trying to surf across the stuff.
As mentioned, more than anything else, don't worry about it. I'd be very surprised if you came across them on your travels.
I am more worried about taking some cockroaches back home in my luggage! When I arrive at my home I immediately wash all dirty clothes. I check out my bags and other gear to see if there are any "riders" I picked up. In the winter when I arrive back at my house I sometimes leave my bags out in the freezing cold for a day to kill any tropical pests that may be in them. I still examine everything thoroughly!
#10 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
I once came back from the islands and bunged all my dirty washing into the washing machine and found this when I came to take the washing out. ;-)
there's this special chalk you can use, you draw a circle around your bags once you get home and roaches ca't cross it.
#12 bananapunk has been a member since 7/9/2008. Posts: 6
Sirhalberd ... you can freeze them, but it probably won't kill them. A cockroach's (as well as crickets and grasshopppers) hemolymph does a cracking job of keeping it alive under severe conditions. I froze a bunch of American cockroaches for 3 days, accidentally, and they all came back to life when I put the jar on top of the rad in my apartment. Incredible!!!
Bananapunk ... the chalk circle thing doesn't work. They will walk across/through it. The "chalk" will scratch up their exoskeleton and they will eventually dehydrate, but the insect chalk certainly does not prevent them from moving around until they are about to die.