What is your worst nightmare to happen to you while travelling? Getting lost? Losing all your stuff? Losing your cell-phone? Running out of money?

How about bed-bugs? That was one of my worst nightmares…and one I encountered one month into our travel/work lifestyle. Not too worry…I learned very quickly how to deal with it. Here’s the story.

We booked a 3-start hotel in Pasadena on our way to Murphys so we could visit with some new friends we met in Las Vegas. The hotel looked a little run-down when we arrived but not horribly bad. It had really good ratings and no complaints. It said it was clean, had free breakfast, and was close to everything. Perfect, right?

We brought our stuff in, unpacked what we needed for the next two days, and set up our computers to do some school (me) and work (David). A couple of hours went by and I decided to repack the suitcase. I laid all my clothes out on the bed and rolled them up to make everything more organized. I saw a bug on a pillow. I screamed, of course, and called David over. I asked him what it was and he said, ‘oh, it’s just a bug…we are in California, there are lots of bugs here’. I’d never seen a bed-bug so I believed him and he killed it and we continued and went to bed.

The next morning I saw little blood drops on the sheets on my side of the bed and little brown things (which I found out later was bed-bug poop). Needless to say, I was horrified, frantic, and suddenly felt super itchy and sick to my stomach. I then saw another of the same kind of bug on the cover. I knew it was bed-bugs then. I had David put the bug in a cup and bring it to the front desk. They apologized and offered to refund our money, which of course I agreed. We packed up and left.

The thing about bed-bug bites is they don’t usually show for a couple of days. Apparently, they inject a little anesthetic before they bite so you can’t feel it and the bump doesn’t show up for a couple of days. That’s what happened to me. And, they also prefer certain blood types – of which mine was on the top of their list – and don’t care for others – of which applied to David. He did not have one bite.

When we got to our next place we went through the whole suitcase, one piece of clothing at a time, and found nothing…thank goodness. I’ve heard horror stories of major infestations and it is a major pain in the butt to get rid of bed-bugs. Even though we never found anything, even a week later, I would still rip back the covers on the bed quickly to see if anything scattered. I was still shaking things out to see if anything fell to the ground.

I thought all was well until I started getting little pimple-like bumps on my arms, hands, and neck. I knew it wasn’t bed-bugs so it had to be something different. I never did find out what it was but I did consider everything from fleas to scabies. It was not fun research.

I knew I had to do something so I began to review my knowledge of essential oils and natural treatments for mites and bugs and remembered that clove essential oil is one of the best oils for dealing with pretty much any type of bug, as eugenol — the essential oil found in cloves — kills insects on contact. Here’s some more information about clove essential oil and bugs.

Essential oils can’t be directly applied to the skin – they need a carrier oil – so I used 99% pure Aloe Vera gel. A 2009 study found that aloe vera gel was as successful as benzyl benzoate (a common prescription treatment) in treating scabies and no side effects were noted. I was not going to take a chance, so I chose Aloe Vera gel. I mixed a couple of drops of clove essential oil in a blop of aloe vera gel and rubbed it all over my arms, back, and neck. The next morning, the bumps were reduced greatly and I’ve not had another bite since. Thank you, Jesus!

Needless to say, Aloe Vera gel and Clove essential oil are added to our ‘must-haves‘ everywhere we go now. You can create a ‘bug’ spray for hotel beds, cloth furniture, etc. when you sleep in a new place. You also have a non-toxic bug repellant and bug killer recipe (aloe vera gel and clove essential oil) in case you need it. Oh…and I also started taking a couple of drops of clove essential oil internally just in case I picked up some sort of parasite along the way. This is a good idea, anyway. Everyone should do a parasite cleanse a couple of times a year. You can only ingest clove essential oil for a maximum of 10 days, though, as it is a bit hard on the liver beyond that time frame.

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