Travel Bugs Are Missing In Action!?

Posted in Geocaching on Apr 19, 2008

Are Travel Bugs like socks that get lost in the wash or, like Bermuda, is there a Geocaching Triangle? Or is it just us? Three of the four Travel Bugs that we moved have gone missing!

Last month we received a notice via the TB Watchlist that Pepper, a small, huggable stuffed bear, that we moved across the country last September is no where to be found. After viewing the logs of the other three TB’s we see that two of them were picked up but never released again.

Travel Bugs Are Missing In Action

We found Pepper on 9/17/2007 in Gathai’s Secret Stash, near a great park just off the Crowsnest Highway, BC on our way to beautiful Christina Lake. Once home, or over 4000Kms later, we dropped him off at The Troll on 10/03/2007. On 03/24/2008 a log entry noted that Pepper was not in the cache. :(


Another one of the TB’s we moved, Ezhou, China, was a Unite For Diabetes Travel Bug who’s goal was to raise awareness of diabetes by traveling to Ezhou and within Ezhou, collecting photographs and geocaching logs along the way. We picked this one up on 09/16/07 at Sudden Exposure with teamsketch and because it had a mission to go to China, which was much closer to British Columbia that our home in Nova Scotia we dropped it off at the Key To Trail on 09/18/07. It was picked up again on 10/08/2007 but never released again. :(

The third TB that has gone missing was Hugable’s Cache Cow Geocoin #1. We found this one at Rossland-Trail Cache with teamsketch also on 09/16/2007. We released it on 10/03/2007 at Stoney Sandwich. It was picked up shortly after on 10/07/2007 but again, never released. :(

So, to date 75% of the Travel Bugs we have moved have gone missing. Is this normal? Have you released Travel Bugs only to see them disappear?

We find this very disappointing since we enjoy following the travels of these items. It must be even more disappointing for the owners to watch as their ‘babies’ go MIA.

Update 04/27/08 – It appears that GeoCachers Pasha&Kralice found the ‘Hugable’s Cache Cow Geocoin #1′ Travel Bug in a nearby cache and they moved it on to another cache to complete its journey! I guess that it had been moved earlier but never registered.

Keep on cachin’!

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16 Responses to “ Travel Bugs Are Missing In Action!? ”


  1. Hick@Heart -

    I’ve run some data analysis on this and I have found some common cause variation in the process. It seems that it is you. My recommendation is to isolate you from the process, a possible redeployment is in order. Have you considered knitting as an alternative hobby?

    Seriously, that is a bummer. One thing I’ve noticed people doing is stationg that they’ve picked up the TB and will move it along soon. Yet the TB remains in the cache’s inventory. Maybe they are just planning to “retrieve and drop off” in one step???????????

    Geocaching With Team Hick@Heart

  2. go_man -

    Knitting?! Gawd, man, we’re not allowed to play with such dangerous objects as knitting needles! It is nice to see that your 6 Sigma training is getting some use. :)

    Seriously also, yes, a bummer.

  3. P.J. -

    I’ve never analyzed these, but I know what you mean with it all. A lot of Bugs I pick up, I like to watch and track to see where they go after I drop them off. It’s upsetting when those that you place disappear. I haven’t released any of my own yet, but have one ready and am hoping it won’t go missing. :)

  4. A-Ron -

    I feel your pain.

    Today, I marked one Geocoin MIA, sent two EMail to other cachers who have held my TBs for more than a month and updated another 3 caches with requests to move along my Geocoins/TBs, if they’re still present in the cache. :(

  5. go_man -

    PJ, keep an eye on it ;)

    A-Ron, sounds like you’re in this 75% range too. :)

  6. tonka_boy -

    I released two more TBs this week. We’ll see what happens to them. I hope they last longer than my Christmas Golfer TB. I even drilled a hole right through its belly to make it less attractive to a collector. Who would want a Christmas ornament with a hole through it?

    And what’s wrong with people anyway? Mine was tagged with a statement that it was not an ordinary trading item! It’s goal is to move from cache to cache. Are there so many geocachers that are ignorant to what TBs are? Or is it just over indulgent parents that allow their kids to raid a geocache just to keep them happy? I don’t get it.

    And never mind that hick@heart. He’s just showing off his new Six Sigma, black belt skills.

  7. Princess Mother -

    I think that the website should host a lost TB section. We have sadly lost a few TBs and it is very disheartening to watch them go for a bit then disappear into thin air. It would be nice to find out why they go missing? Is it because lack of knowledge on the “finder”? Is it dark human nature to gleefully find and then “toss” TBs? I choose to believe that the “finder” didn’t know what to do with it. We lost Princess Bear many years ago and there isn’t a day that passes that I wonder if Princess got tossed, got taken to a good home and loved or what? We decided that Princess Bear was too cute. Purple care bear. She did give some people some good wishes as one geocacher reported that she took it home to her grandkids to admire and share stories of when she was a girl and played with care bears. I am always hopeful that she will appear to continue her journey and bring happiness to “finders”. Her tag was 7BK510. LaPine Nuts missing travel bugs are TBK5GG and TBK9BY. Any news of any of these travel bugs is appreciated by SkipperMike.

  8. northernpenguin -

    While reading this article I had to chuckle. That last update – Pasha&Kralice brought the bug from Nova Scotia to Ontario and dropped it off during an event cache I was hosting, and I’m just reading this article now.

    On the more serious note, I’m running at 75% bug theft from the ones I’ve released as well. :(

  9. i brive a dus -

    I am watching 15 TBs that I have moved along….only 2 have been active in the last six months. Most of the others have been reported missing from the cache where last placed. And surprisingly, not all of them were “cute” or in anyway attractive. But people collect anything.
    My own releases vanished quickly without a trace. One was placed in a highly complex puzzle cache where it languished for months before being grabbed and since has been MIA. No more TBs from this player.

  10. Cottage Man -

    Coins go missing all the time! I started a coin in Cole Harbour and it made it’s way across the world only to be dropped in a cache in Bagdad. Great now let someone move it from there I thought, but yes it was reported missing. It was reported the cache was muggled by some kids in the area, O Well. Hope the kid takes good care of it, one of the Nova Scotia 1st coins.

    Two weeks ago some kids from the Cole Harbour area decided to break into cars in the area. They managed to do several on our street, my SUV was one. They took all the loose change and a couple of Geocoins that I had grabbed from caches as well. Good thing was that in all the cars they only took small change and placed any items like GPS’s, cell phones, and Palms on the seats to let you know they were there.

    Hope those kids from also enjoy there finds.

    CM

  11. cricket5_24 -

    I’m so glad I found this site. I’ll know not to start an “emotional” bug traveling as I was planning for a little dog I lost. Maybe I will still buy some travelbugs, but with this knowledge, at least I’ll be prepared.

  12. Richelle -

    Oh Dear. I have lost both my travel bugs in the last 6 months. One hasnt been seen since July 2008 last year, and the other one missing since October (2008) now. Its awful. I emailed all the people that visited the cache between then and when it was reported missing. Both were cute bugs, one was a lightning mcqueen pixar car, and the other was a cuddle australian soft stuffed Koala. I dont think i will be releasing any more travel bugs, or picking up any either :( What a shame.

  13. Kim -

    I know exactly what you mean….over the last 8 years or so, we’ve lost about 6 travel bugs including the new ‘cachekinz’ TB’s that we just purchased and set out on their journey a month ago. The sad part about it is, our children (3, 9 and 11 years old) really look forward to keeping track of their journeys. We have a huge map and we mark off the progress of our TB’s and it ends up being a little of a geography lesson along the way.
    I have emailed the last people to pick them up numerous times, and they can’t even respond back. Some of the people are cachers with over 1000 caches under their belt. You would think that someone with that many obviously takes it seriously, and would understand that these are items to keep.
    Does anyone have any thoughts on ways to keep this from happening?

  14. englandndak -

    i love to find TB and move them on But i find their is not many caches big enougth to take them so that is one reason i have to hold on to one longer than i like . That may be why others are taking so long to move the Tb bugs along.We need more biger caches in most areas.

  15. GoldenGateCacher -

    Sadly I have had a 100% loss rate of travel bugs. I still have a few more TB tags in pairs that are unused/never been released, as well as the single tags that have the same TB number as the ones lost in the field.

    ??Has anyone who has lost a TB in the field, used that second TB tag (with a new toy) to get it back out on the road? I figure this is ok since we own both tags, but I haven’t tried it yet. I am interested to hear what others have or have not done.

    If geocachers keep getting burnt in the field as well as stories of TBs gone missing, in the future the sales of TB tags might drop considerably. I guess we have to take into consideration how much happiness we got while our TB was traveling before it went MIA and decide is it worth it to buy more tags?

    GGC

  16. Ken_and_Stacy -

    How about this for weird? The first TB we released was in an out of the way cache…..not soemthien that anyone is going to stumble onto. 2 groups of people went through there and no one can find the bug!!! It didn’t even get to GO anywhere! WE have 3 more out now, I am hoping I can watch some of them move around.


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