Are There Mosquitoes in Hawaii? (What Are They and How to Avoid Them)

Are you planning a trip and wondering if there are mosquitos in Hawaii?

A warm tropical paradise, Hawaii is no stranger to pests— including those buzzing nuisances.

If you’re going to these beautiful islands read on to learn all you need to know about the mosquitoes of Hawaii and how to avoid them!

Aerial view of Hawaii under the blue sky
Hawaii – Photo from Canva

Table of Contents

Are there mosquitoes in Hawaii?

Unfortunately, there are eight different species of mosquitos in Hawaii.

Six of them bite humans, and two only feed on plants. 

While mosquitoes are known for transmitting diseases, at the time of writing this article, no mosquito-transmitted human diseases are present in Hawaii. 

However, these invasive insects are damaging the ecosystems on the island. In particular, they’re endangering native bird species!

When is mosquito season in Hawaii?

Hawai’i has a warm temperate climate perfect for mosquitoes, all year long. While the insects appear 12 months out of the year, they are more prevalent during the warmer months. 

So if you want to avoid mosquitoes, don’t go to Hawaii from March through the beginning of November! 

a mosquito on a white flower
Photo from Canva

2 Most Common Species of Mosquitoes in Hawaii

The two most common species of mosquitoes in Hawaii are the Asian Tiger Mosquitoes and the Southern House Mosquitoes. 

Unfortunately, they both feed (i.e. bite you) at opposite times of day, so morning, noon, and night, there’s a mosquito hunting for its next meal! 

👉🏽 Day-biter Mosquitoes: Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus)

Considered a day-biter, the Asian tiger mosquito is responsible for transmitting dengue fever. 

An aggressive daytime biter, these mosquitoes tend to bite the most during the early morning and late afternoon. These fast-flyers breed quickly in water-holding containers, including bamboo!  

Don’t worry, currently, dengue is not a disease you need to worry about in Hawaii.

Akaka Falls with a rainbow below it
Akaka Falls, Hawaii – Photo from Canva

👉🏽 Night-biter Mosquitoes: Southern House Mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus)

This highly adaptive and invasive mosquito, the Southern House Mosquito, is only active at night. 

Considered a floodwater mosquito, females hatch their eggs in areas prone to flooding. The rising waters cause the previously dormant eggs to hatch. 

Unassuming, these mosquitoes are a plain brown color and have a migratory range of several miles. Even if you see them, they might not be breeding nearby.

These mosquitoes pose a huge risk to native species of birds in Hawaii, but, thankfully, haven’t caused any human-borne illnesses yet. 

6 Other Types of Mosquitoes in Hawaii

Even though the two types of mosquitos listed above are the most common, there are 8 different mosquito varieties in the Hawaiian islands.

Read on to learn more about the others!

A mosquito on a leaf
Photo from Canva

👉🏻 Yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti)

As you might have guessed, the Aedes aegypti is responsible for spreading yellow fever. 

They’re also the main type of mosquito that spreads Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. This is in part because they tend to live near humans and prefer to feed on their blood. 

Found only on the Big Island and Molokai, these mosquitos have not caused any illnesses in Hawaii. 

👉🏻 Rock-pool mosquito (Aedes japonicus)

Aedes japonicus, otherwise known as the rock-pool mosquito, was first identified on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2003, and Oahu in 2012. 

Highly invasive, this species is more resistant to the cold than others.

While this mosquito can transmit diseases such as Japanese encephalitis, so far, in Hawaii, these mosquitos haven’t been carriers. 

A mosquito on an arm
Photo from Canva

👉🏻 Elephant mosquitoes (Toxorhynchites)

Elephant mosquitoes are sometimes also nicknamed “the mosquito eater” because— you guessed it— they eat other varieties of mosquitoes. 

One of the many types of mosquitos that don’t consume blood, they are relatively colorful. These mosquitoes subsist off saps and juices from plants, fruit, nectar, and refuse.

The larvae of this mosquito prey on the larva of other mosquitos, making them a beneficial type to have around!

👉🏻 Floodwater mosquito (Aedes vexans)

Floodwater mosquitos get their name because of their breeding habits, as females lay their eggs in areas that flood easily. Once the eggs get swept up in the flood water, they hatch.

Only the females feed on blood such as humans and cattle. The males feed on nectars, honeydew, and sap. 

These mosquitoes were first found in Hawaii in 1962.

👉🏻 Bromeliad mosquito (Wyeomyia mitchellii)

Wyeomyia Mitchelli mosquitos breed in the leaves of pineapple lilies. A day biter, these mosquitoes can be annoying but they aren’t known to transmit diseases to humans. 

So even if you get bit by one of these guys, you have nothing to fear.

👉🏻 Common malaria mosquito (Anopheles)

The most commonly known mosquito-borne disease, malaria, is spread by the anopheles mosquito. 

Thankfully, this is not one of the mosquitos found in the Hawaiian islands! 

Anyone who has been diagnosed with malaria in Hawaii became infected somewhere else and then diagnosed once they arrived on an island. 

So you can toss out your malaria medicine- you won’t need it when visiting the Hawaiian Isles! 

A mosquito on a leaf with water droplets
Photo from Canva

Where in Hawaii are mosquitoes mostly found?

The mosquitos in Hawaii are typically found in areas with lots of standing water or decomposing natural materials.

You’re more likely to see them hiking around the jungle than walking through one of the beach towns. 

However, mosquitos are attracted to water, so you might encounter them at the beach or by your lanai.  

📌 Kauai and Maui: Most mosquito-ridden islands 

Maui, also known as the ‘Valley Isle’, mostly has the Asian tiger mosquito, which requires clean standing water to breed.

However, if you’re on Kauai, the night-biting southern house mosquito is the most prevalent. As the climate warms, these mosquitoes have been appearing higher up the mountains.

Unfortunately, the mosquitos are spreading disease amongst the native bird populations and damaging the local ecosystem.  

Maui beach under the blue sky
Maui – Photo from Canva

📌 Oahu: Has few areas that are prone to mosquitoes

If you’re spending time in Waikiki and try scuba diving and any other activities, you’re unlikely to encounter mosquitos. Head out towards the lush, tropical areas and you’ll see a few of these buzzing pests. 

Be extra aware of mosquitos at sunset, as this is when they’re most active.

📌 Big Island: Relatively mosquito-free

The porous volcanic soil on the Big Island prevents standing water (which mosquitoes need to breed). This helps keep mosquito populations down.

 It’s still worth taking mosquito repellant because you will encounter some. Plus, there have been mosquito repellant shortages on the island!  

Waipio Valley in Big Island
Big Island – Photo from Canva

How did mosquitoes get in Hawaii?

Hawaii, with its relative isolation from the rest of the world, was one of the few places without mosquitoes.

However, less than 200 years ago, mosquitoes were first introduced to the islands.

Climate change and rising temperatures have since allowed mosquito populations to migrate into new areas on the islands that previously were too cool for the mosquitoes to breed. 

Mosquito control projects are working to protect native bird species by curbing mosquito populations.

💡 When did mosquitoes get in Hawaii?

First arriving in Hawaii in 1826, mosquitoes came over on a whaling vessel. The tropical climate was ideal for them, and they thrived and quickly spread across the islands. 

A swarm of mosquitoes in Hawaii on man's hand
Photo from Canva

💡 Why do mosquitoes thrive in Hawaii?

Mosquitoes are capable of thriving in a variety of locations. However, the environment in Hawaii is ideal for mosquitoes and has contributed to their survival and growth. 

👉🏽 Climate

The hot, humid environment in Hawaii is ideal for mosquitoes to breed and survive.  These cold-blooded creatures aren’t able to regulate their body heat.

This means that mosquitoes function best at 80 degrees F— the average temperature in Hawaii!

👉🏽 Standing water

Mosquitoes need water to lay eggs, and for their larvae to grow and develop through various stages (egg, larval, and pupal). 

Some mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of stagnant water, and other mosquitoes lay their eggs in dry ground that is prone to flooding. 

👉🏽 Saltwater

Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes can lay eggs and survive in saltwater. So, you might encounter a few mosquitoes when you’re hanging out at the beach! 

Thankfully, it’s not normal to be plagued by mosquitoes at the beach. 

👉🏽 Topography, and ocean currents

Mosquitoes have been known to fly across the ocean! Some migratory mosquito breeds often travel across the Atlantic Ocean. 

Sometimes these mosquitoes travel 40 miles away from their original destination without the help of winds and updrafts!

👉🏽 Volcanic eruptions

With so much of Hawaii being volcanic- which is porous and prevents standing water- you might be wondering how mosquitoes could survive on the dry areas of the islands.

However, pigs on the islands eat lots of native tree ferns. The cavities left behind in the consumed ferns collect water. This allows mosquitoes to breed even in dry volcanic areas.

road to Hana Maui
Hana, Maui – Photo from Canva

When is mosquito season in Hawaii?

Mosquitoes particularly thrive during the warmer months of March through November but are present all year long.

🦟 Are there mosquitoes in Hawaii in December?

There are mosquitoes in Hawaii in December, however, there are fewer due to the slightly cooler temperatures. 

🦟 Are there mosquitoes in Hawaii in January?

You might encounter a few mosquitoes in Hawaii during January. However, you’re less likely to encounter mosquitoes in January as it’s one of the cooler months of the year in the Hawaiian Isles. 

Mauna Kea crater
Mauna Kea, Big Island – Photo from Canva

🦟 Are mosquitoes year-round in Hawaii?

Unfortunately, there are mosquitoes year-round in Hawaii.

The year-long temperate climate which makes it an excellent place to visit also means mosquitoes thrive all year long.

What diseases are caused by mosquitoes in Hawaii?

While there are mosquitoes in Hawaii that typically carry diseases, at this time none of those diseases are present in Hawaii. 

A child's legs filled with mosquito bites
Photo from Canva

👎🏼 Chikungunya

There have been zero cases of Chikungunya in Hawaii in the last three years. 

Symptoms of Chikungunya will begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, severe joint pain, nausea, vomiting, redness around the eyes, or rash. 

Not normally fatal, Chikungunya passes within 7-10 days. 

👎🏼 Zika virus

Zika virus is transmitted primarily by the Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day. 

Most infected people don’t show symptoms, and if they do it includes rash, fever, and conjunctivitis. These symptoms will only show for 2-7 days.

In the last three years, there have been zero cases of Zika in the state of Hawaii.

👎🏼 Dengue

While there were three cases recently reported of Dengue in Hawaii, everyone contracted the disease out of state. Common symptoms of Dengue are nausea, vomiting, and rash. 

Mosquito bites on the nape of a boy
Photo from Canva

How to avoid mosquito bites in Hawaii?

The best way to avoid mosquito bites in Hawaii is to wear long sleeve shirts, pants, socks, and shoes. 

You can also use insect repellant when hiking in jungle areas or areas with lots of active mosquitoes. 

If your accommodation includes air-conditioning, you may want to keep the windows closed and use the AC to keep mosquitoes outside. 

A woman spraying an insect repellent on her arm
Photo from Canva

Treatment of mosquito bites: What to do if you get bitten by a mosquito?

If you do get bitten by a mosquito you’ll know because you’ll have an itchy, raised bump! 

While there’s not much you can do once a mosquito has bit you, you can wash the area with soap and water.

If you’re experiencing a lot of discomfort and swelling, apply an ice pack to the area or use a mix of baking soda and water to help reduce the itching. 

Oahu Beach under a cloudy sky
Oahu, Hawaii – Photo from Canva

Tips for Preparing for Mosquito Season in Hawaii

Although mosquitoes are found year-round, you’ll encounter the most mosquitoes during the summer months.

If you’re planning on visiting Hawaii during those months, bring long-sleeved, light-colored clothing and insect repellant. 

Tip: If you forget insect repellent you can buy some at an ABC store! 

Aerial view of Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach, Hawaii – Photo from Canva

Frequently Asked Questions About Mosquitoes In Hawaii

Read on for basic information about mosquitoes in Hawaii so you can be prepared for your tropical island vacation! 

Are mosquitos native to Hawaii?

All mosquitoes in Hawaii are invasive species and non-native. 

Are there mosquitos in the beach areas as well?

Mosquitoes are drawn to water, so (while not common) you may find some in the beach areas of Hawaii.

Rainbow falls with a rainbow in Hilo
Rainbow Falls in Hilo, Big Island – Photo from Canva

Is dengue or chikungunya common in Hawaii?

Neither dengue nor chikungunya are common in Hawaii and there have been 0 reported cases of either in the last three years.

What smell does a mosquito hate?

Mosquitoes don’t like the smell of lavender, citronella, clove, peppermint, lemongrass, and rosemary. 

Aerial view of Napali Coast
Napali Coast – Photo from Canva

Conclusion: Are there mosquitoes in Hawaii?

While there are 8 different types of mosquitoes in Hawaii year-round, they aren’t known to infect humans with diseases. 

Avoid the hottest months in Hawaii to avoid these nuisances, and bring insect repellant and long-sleeved shirts. Follow the tips above and you’re sure to have a worry-free vacation!