eFirst microwave. Whoever arrives at the Knorr hut on the way to the Zugspitze and wants to spend the night in front of the climb to Germany's highest mountain, has to put his hut sleeping bag at the entrance into the kitchen appliance for 30 seconds at 600 watts. Because in the sleeping bag occasionally uninvited guests travel with: bugs.
Also neighboring huts have purchased such devices. Not only in the Zugspitze region, but also in the Kaisergebirge, in the Allgäu and in Austria, the plague spirits had in the past lodged in some accommodations of the German Alpine Club (DAV). Now the hosts are intensifying their actions.
“The mountain hiking tourism has increased – and thus the possibility of spreading bed bugs,” says Thomas Gesell, hut keeper of the DAV section Munich. The hut sleeping bag is the transmission route number one; to 70 percent of the animals would be introduced. The microwave has already proven itself. That was sensible and easy to handle, “and the guests accept that.”
There are even bug-dogs
Wires on bedsteads Part of twine traps made of double sticky tape, so that the bloodsuckers get stuck when they crawl out of their hiding places at night, to approach the sleepers. Some hosts let sniffer dogs sniff through the dormitories.
A dog was inspecting the Jamtalhütte near Galtür in Austria. “We received bedbugs last summer,” says master forwarder Gottlieb Lorenz. Tucked in from a neighboring hut. “We treated the whole house and then rested all winter.” Mild desperation resonates in his voice: “Now we have found that we have bugs in two rooms again.”
Only on 30 June Lorenz has opened for the summer season. Now it's time again: “Going away baseboards, drilling holes in wooden walls, unscrewing sockets.” So that the exterminator can catch the animals in cracks and under bars. The expert will come three times: once, then after two weeks and again after another two weeks.
They are attracted by the sweat
Alexander Egger, host of the Anton Karg-Haus in the Kaiser area, swears by “bug bags”, sacks where backpacks, sleeping bags and clothes stay outside the sleeping quarters. Especially in used laundry bugs like to sit. “What attracts them is sweat.” He promises the proximity of a human – and his blood.
Guests receive a fresh hut sleeping bag from Egger. “We have large washing machines where we wash the sleeping bags every day.” In remote huts, this effort would be unthinkable.
The DAV section Garmisch-Partenkirchen has just partially replaced their blankets: instead of brown or reddish now light blue. “Blood spots are better there,” says Toni Bräckle, responsible for huts at the section. Even the one to eight millimeters large animals are better to recognize, the blankets are made of 50 percent polyester and are washed at up to 60 degrees.
A bug can survive the 30-degree wash cycle of a blanket. These blankets are warmer, but also scratchy, says Bräckle. “Nobody likes that anymore anyway.”
“Has nothing to do with cheap or expensive”
The cabins are not alone with the problem. Accommodations worldwide are struggling with the plague. It was bad for a while in Australia, from the US homecomers report from the annoying bedfellows. “Since the 1990s, an increase in the occurrence of these bugs has been observed worldwide,” says the biologist and pest expert at the Federal Environment Agency, Carola Kuhn. The animals are taken home from vacation in their luggage, for example in second-hand purchased items.
“Traveling around the world – that's the typical way of spreading the bugs,” says Kuhn. “The main cause of the increase is seen as being resistant to drugs, which makes them harder to combat and spread more.”
Mario Heising, chairman of the Land Association Berlin / Brandenburg of the German Pest Control Association, reports an increase in the work of member companies in this region and his own experiences. “In the GDR, maybe I had to fight a bed bug every year because students from Moscow came back and brought books with them,” says Heising. In the mid-1990s, after the opening of the borders, it had been about once a month. “Now it is every day.”
Cheap descents are just as affected as expensive hotels. “That has nothing to do with cheap or expensive. The biggest problem I see is dishonesty, “says Heising. For a long time the topic was taboo. Many did not even know what was crawling: there were those who thought they had crushed a beetle in the hotel, “and wondered why they were bitten.”
Heising fights the animals partly by extremely heating rooms, or by chemical means, which prevent the molting of the animals or disturb their metabolism.
No hygiene problem
Bed bugs have nothing to do with hygiene deficiencies, says biologist Kuhn. “The problem is that they often do not sit in the blankets, but behind bars or in cracks. There you can clean as you like – you can not do that. “
Many people reacted strongly to the stings – and some of them made the creepy cubs psychologically. “Many complain about sleep disorders and psychological stress, because the animals live in people's retreats – for example in bed,” says Kuhn.
Nevertheless, there is good news: In addition, bugs are safe. “They are not known and you have never been able to show that they transmit pathogens to humans.”
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