Mosquitoes are one of those creatures that you can find almost everywhere in the world – maybe just not Antarctica. With a widespread population of approximately 3,500 known species, mosquitos are amongst the most popular- at 110 trillion in the world (1). So, what about mosquitoes in Thailand?
As mosquitoes prefer to live in places where the weather is warm and humid, like the tropical regions, places like southeast Asian countries are no strangers to mosquitoes and their problems. And out of all the countries in the area, Thailand is one of the countries where it is believed to have the highest numbers of mosquito species globally.
Thailand, together with Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia, has one of the largest populations of mosquitoes (1). Known as a tropical country with common weather all year round, mosquitos are most specifically found in the northern area, where mosquitoes lay their eggs in rainy and gloomy weather.
During the rainy season of May to October, Thailand’s northern areas are full of mosquitoes building homes amongst the jungles and forests. In contrast, the southern island regions see a much smaller amount (2).
To learn more about what varieties of mosquitos are popular, keep on reading as we go through the history of Thailand’s mosquitos and why they can be bad.
How Bad Are Mosquitoes in Thailand?
Most, if not all, people hate mosquitoes for many reasons. The first reason for hating mosquitos is the feeling; mosquito bites leave behind an irritating red bump that itches for the first few hours. Furthermore, mosquitoes can cause various diseases, and some are even life-threatening.
In Thailand, mosquitoes can cause serious health concerns, such as dengue fever, malaria, lymphatic filariasis, and Japanese encephalitis (3). One such example is the Zika Virus which grew in Thailand around September 2019, leaving around 123 reported cases (4). Due to the high number of instances found and their severity, mosquito-related diseases are considered the major tropical diseases in Thailand.
Among the tropical diseases found in the country, malaria is one of the most severe concerns in Thailand (5). This virus can be highly life-threatening due to increased morbidity and mortality (6).
In the Mekong area, the vast development of malaria parasite resistance to the medicines has reached more than 20 to 50 percent.
According to the PR Thai Government page on Facebook, 3415 reported Malaria cases from 51 provinces and one fatality. Among these patients, 73% were residents, while the other 27% or 936 patients were foreigners (7). The Anopheles mosquito type causes malaria fever.
According to data, malaria, alongside Japanese encephalitis, is more commonly found in rural areas and the country’s border areas where it nests between forests, such as the borders near neighboring countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. As for lymphatic filariasis disease, it is sometimes found in urban and semi-urban areas (3).
Dengue fever is another common virus found throughout the country, even in big cities like the Bangkok Metropolitan area and urban areas, making Thailand at the top list for infectious diseases in 2018 (5). dengue fever is carried through by the Aedes mosquito, which is the most active during the daytime.
As of 2019, it has been reported by Thailand health officials that around 57,926 patients from all 77 provinces of the country were recorded to be infected with dengue fever. Most incidences related to dengue fever had happened the most in places like Chiang Rai, Rayong, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Chanthaburi (4).
The rainy season showed the most dengue fever cases; therefore, if you travel to Thailand from May to October, be ready to prepare against dengue fever (and other diseases related to mosquitoes).
One of the most common species of mosquitoes in Thailand is the Anopheles mosquito, Aedes mosquito, and Culex mosquito (2).
Ways to Protect Yourself Against Mosquitoes in Thailand
As the data made it clear how bad mosquitoes can be in Thailand, it’s necessary to know how to protect against mosquitoes and the potential diseases they can cause.
First, it would be good to stay clear from the places where mosquitoes are found. Mosquitoes usually breed near or in stagnant water, such as ponds, lakes, swamps, or small puddles left from the rain. That’s why it is essential to clean and change the water regularly if you have pools or places where you store water in your house.
Moreover, adult mosquitoes can be found in places that are commonly found in dark and humid areas, such as tall grasses, bushes, hollow trees, and under leaves (8). Forests and border areas of Thailand are reported to find the most cases related to mosquitoes. So, if you need to go to such places or live nearby, wear mosquito repellent and prepare for your trip wisely.
It is also well-known that mosquitoes in Thailand are primarily active during sunrise (5:30 AM to 7:00 AM) and sunset (5:00 PM to 6:30 PM). Therefore, it would be a good idea to take extra precautions during these hours. However, it is still very much possible to get bitten by mosquitoes at any point of the day, and it is best if one tries and stays protected all day long, no matter when or where (2).
And as for how one can protect themselves against mosquitoes, here are some of the tips shared by the health officials and the local people of Thailand.
1. Wear mosquito repellent bracelets
This is the easiest way to protect against mosquitoes. All mosquito-repellent bracelets, wristbands, and anklets are easy to find, inexpensive, and also most of them are natural and DEET-free (9).
These wristbands and bracelets come in many colors, designs, and sizes available for adults and kids. They are usually effective for around two weeks and are waterproof. One can just wear them on the wrists, ankles or hang them on the backpacks to ward off the mosquitoes wherever they go.
2. Spray mosquito repellents
Another life hack is the classic mosquito repellent spray. These sprays are suitable for easy use on the go. The sprays are cheap and can be found in every convenience store across Thailand. One small bottle of mosquito repellent spray usually costs around 50-80 bahts and can last for 1-2 weeks.
Once you spray them on your legs and arms, it will repel against the mosquitoes for a few hours and once it wears off, just respray them if needed. And for those who dislike the strong scents, there are a variety of scents to choose from as well!
Spray them on your body parts exposed every time you go out, significantly when camping or going to areas where most mosquito-related diseases occur. It will save you from itchy bites and potentially dangerous fevers.
3. Mosquito nets and bats
This tip is more for those going on camping trips in the forest areas or those traveling to the rural side of Thailand. Electronic nets are an essential weapon for campers; they are an easy attack against ruthless mosquitos.
These tennis racket-looking bats are an easy and quick way to get rid of mosquitoes but can also kill them completely, which is why they are not the go-to move for all animal lovers. The bats are also banned in the airports for both carry-on and checked-in luggage, so it won’t be a good idea to get them as a souvenir from Thailand (9).
4. Pack more light colors and long-sleeved clothing
Long sleeves are the best option for targeting those mosquitos. Dark colors such as black and dark blue can attract more mosquitoes, so it is more common to wear lighter tones such as pink, beige, etc.
5. Be prepared for how to react
In the case that a mosquito has already bitten you, do not freak out! It is relatively common for most people to get bit by a mosquito while out on a hot summer day. Remember to wash the area with soap and water and apply ice if it is extra itchy. Additionally, anti-itch cream is a fantastic product available across local drug stores and markets, which can help relieve itching.
Now that you know how bad the mosquitoes can be in Thailand, make sure you plan ahead of your trip. Pack wisely and make a list of essential items you will need to survive your adventurous days out because nothing, not even a mosquito, should stop us from having time in the sun.
While mosquito-borne diseases continue to exist in the region, the best we can do is be prepared and stay conscious of our surroundings.
1. Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC. Worst Places In The World For Mosquitoes. Mosquito Squad. [Online] July 12, 2014. https://www.mosquitosquad.com/greater-dc/about-us/blog/2014/july/worst-places-in-the-world-for-mosquitoes/.
2. Mariska. Mosquitoes In Thailand: Everything You Need to Know! Go To Thailand. [Online] August 16, 2017. https://gotothailand.com/mosquitoes-thailand/.
3. Bumrungrad International Hospital. Stay Safe Against Thailand’s Mosquitoes. Bumrungrad International Hospital. [Online] August 4, 2015. https://www.bumrungrad.com/en/health-blog/july-2015/stay-safe-against-thailand-s-mosquitoes.
4. NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews. Thailand: Mosquito-borne Disease In 2019 To Date. Outbreak News Today. [Online] September 16, 2019. http://outbreaknewstoday.com/thailand-mosquito-borne-disease-in-2019-to-date-90186/.
5. Luma Health. Guide To Common Diseases In Thailand. Luma Health. [Online] https://www.lumahealth.com/guides/thailand/common-diseases-in-thailand/.
6. CDC. Drug Resistance In the Malaria-Endemic World. CDC. [Online] July 23, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/malaria_worldwide/reduction/drug_resistance.html.
7. PR Thai Government. The Department Of Disease Control Has Urged The Public To Beware Of Malaria, Which Is Spread By Mosquitos During The Rainy Season. PR Thai Government . [Online] September 22, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/thailandprd/posts/the-department-of-disease-control-has-urged-the-public-to-beware-of-malaria-whic/3597242406965814/.
8. The Terminix International Company Limited Partnership. Where Do Mosquitoes Live? Terminx. [Online] https://www.terminix.com/blog/education/where-do-mosquitoes-live/.
9. The Koh Samui Guide. How To Avoid Mosquitoes In Thailand. The Koh Samui Guide. [Online] November 4, 2021. https://www.thekohsamuiguide.com/mosquitoes-in-thailand/.
10. CDC. Mosquito Bite Symptoms And Treatment. CDC. [Online] March 6, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/mosquitoes/mosquito-bites/symptoms.html/.