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Alpine Hikers Battle Bed Bugs

Credit: DAV/Thilo Brunner

Bed bugs are on the rise around the world and are far from being only a city hotel problem. Though they do not transmit diseases to humans, they cause itching and are disgusting to most people.

Not a new problem in the dormitories of mountain refuges, a rise in infestation has prompted the DAV (German Alpine Club) to launch a campaign to raise awareness and tackle the issue.

According to the DAV, its mountain huts are very suitable habitats for bedbugs because of the many corners, cracks and crevices. Their distribution is aided by infected objects as, without realising it, walkers and climbers may carry hitchhiking bugs in their backpacks from hut to hut.

Of course, their clothes and sleeping bags can also offer handy refuges for bed bug nomads.

According to The Guardian, the M√ľnchner Haus, at almost 3000 metres on the Zugspitze on the German-Austrian border, requires hikers to microwave their sleeping bags on the way in to kill the bugs.

For the DAV, Robert Kolbitsch said, We have bugs on our mountain huts. I estimate that at least ten percent are affected. The good news is that there are very effective measures against bugs. We ask our guests to keep their backpacks from the sleeping rooms.” Happily, that is not the only suggestion in the advice available online and in the huts.

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