Ticks and mosquitoes suck actually. Well, termites might not suck, but they definitely chew. Before humans, Hawaii had no native species of termites, ants, ticks or mosquitoes. What a paradise it must have been! I mean, it’s a paradise now, but can you imagine a warm, breezy lush climate… with no mosquitoes? no ticks? Absolute heaven. Well, that didn’t last long. From the Polynesians to the Europeans, humans have been introducing ticks, mosquitoes, ants and termites accidentally and many other invasive species on purpose. So, anyway, we are stuck with the nasty creatures (ticks, ants, ticks and mosquitoes I mean .
We have a short paragraph on how to keep mosquitoes at bay, repellent, mosquito coils, and picking the right time of the day. I won’t recommend a repellent, but this Consumer Reports study suggests effectiveness of different repellents. Mosquitoes are an annoyance for the most part, luckily so far Hawaii has had no cases of West Nile Virus and only rare small (a half-dozen people or so) outbreaks of Dengue fever and even rarer larger (100 people) outbreaks, the last being in 2001 ( there have been no deaths). They are an annoyance, but with a little repellent we’ve not been bothered much and rarely at the beach. Oh, and as to the question as why they bite you more than other people? Not sure.
Ticks just suck. There are several species of ticks now on the islands. And with them come rare, but reoccurring, cases of lyme disease. Frankly, I’ve never had a tick in Hawaii, I’ve walked a lot through the greenery and never had a tick. Doesn’t mean there won’t be a first time, but I get a lot more when I’m in my home state of Virginia than I ever do here. Still, the same repellent you put on for mosquitoes? Put some on your ankles and legs for ticks and check your body (and your kids’) if you’ve been traipsing through the greenery.
Ticks you’ll never have to deal with if you are just visiting. But sadly we do. It’s what has prompted me to write this post about the nasties. There are several termite species on the islands and they are extremely voracious eaters and very destructive. Our house is actually two homes connected by a lanai. The 3 bdrm home is older and not built to resist termites. The other half is 3 units and newer using building techniques with termite abatement (link is a pdf) in mind. The older half of our home is infested with termites. So, today our house is being tented. Luckily we don’t have any short term visitors, but we and our long-term tenants have to go to a hotel tonight as our house is gassed with poison. Before we left the house this morning we had to double bag all our food and medicines and remove living plants and animals from the house (that we wanted to remain living) and remove plants from around the house. It’s a nasty business. But, it’s that or a pile of termite poop instead of a house. They assure us that since it’s a gas it dissipates and does not remain on surfaces. They’ll check after it’s all said and done. I think next time if we build a house in Hawaii, we are going to make it termite proof.