Mosquitoes carry and spread disease that can cause illness. Severe infections from diseases carried by mosquitoes can even result in death. As such, the prevention of mosquito bites is an important aspect of travel health that needs to be planned for well in advance of a trip.
As a tropical destination, Jamaica is not completely free from the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses. As such, it is important to prevent mosquito and insect bites, so as to enjoy your island vacation. Read on for the ultimate guide to protecting yourself from mosquitoes and other bugs in Jamaica.
Are Mosquitos a Problem in Jamaica?
Of course, there are mosquitos in Jamaica. And yes, you need to bring and use repellant. However, mosquitoes are not a big problem in Jamaica as long as you always protect yourself from mosquito bites, especially at dusk.
Do I Need Mosquito Repellent in Jamaica?
Yes, you do need mosquito repellent in Jamaica. Keep in mind that while it is possible to purchase mosquito repellent in Jamaica, prices for tourists tend to be significantly higher. It is therefore recommended that you bring your own repellent to protect against mosquitoes.
How Do I Choose the Right Repellant?
Here are some points to consider when selecting an appropriate insect repellent:
- For how long do you need protection? 8 hours a day for two weeks, or simply a few hours while hiking in the Blue Mountains?
- Are insect repellent products available locally in Jamaica? If yes, are they affordable?
- How will you transport the repellent to Jamaica? How much space will it require in your suitcase/ carry-on/ backpack?
Should I Use Natural or Commercial Repellants?
Despite the efficacy and safety profiles of commercial repellents such as Picaridin and DEET, some travelers may choose to protect themselves using natural mosquito repellents.
Many natural compounds have been found to contain anti-mosquito properties. These include garlic, eucalyptus, citronella and vitamin B. Citronella, derived from cymbopogon grass, has been found to be the most effective.
That said, although natural compounds like citronella have been found to provide protection from bites, they do so for shorter periods than commercial repellents. As such, they require more frequent applications for effective protection.
Citronella candles and incense have been found to deter mosquitoes in rooms, porches and backyards. Studies have shown a reduction in bites from people sitting near the candles as opposed to those who had no protection.
What is the Best Mosquito Repellent for Jamaica?
Picaridin is the best mosquito repellent for Jamaica. Picaridin is better than DEET because it discourages mosquitoes from landing on you in the first place. That said, if you prefer to use DEET, choose a mosquito repellent that contains 20% DEET.
How Do I Reduce the Risk of Mosquito Bites?
Here are some preventative measures to minimize the chance of being bitten by a mosquito:
- Whenever there are insects that bite around, be sure to cover up.
- When outdoors, always use mosquito repellent on exposed skin, as well as on your clothing.
- Avoid using scents as they may attract mosquitoes.
- Always sleep under a mosquito net treated with mosquito repellent.
- In the absence of a net, use mosquito coils or an electric mosquito killer.
- Spray your hotel room with bug spray every evening.
- If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, be sure to use mosquito repellent on your clothing.
How Do Jamaicans Avoid Mosquito Bites?
To avoid mosquito bites, Jamaicans use mosquito repellent. They also wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts, baggy pants, socks and shoes. This helps to minimize exposure of skin and sensitive bite spots such as the ankles and arms. Tourists should avoid wearing spandex as it is very easy for a mosquito to bite through.
What Smells Do Mosquitoes Hate?
Oranges, lemons, catnip, basil and lavender naturally produce oils that tend to repel mosquitoes. While these scents are pleasant to the human nose, mosquitoes tend to avoid the bitter citrus smell – unless they’re very hungry.
When is Mosquito Season in Jamaica?
Summer is mosquito season in Jamaica.
Are there also Mosquitoes in Jamaica in December?
Yes, there are mosquitoes in Jamaica in December. Although December marks the start of the non-rainy or driest season of the year in Jamaica, it is still possible to get bitten by mosquitoes if you fail to protect yourself.
It doesn’t really make much of a difference in what month of the year you visit Jamaica as some people will get bitten, while others seldom will. The general rule is to always bring a good mosquito repellent when visiting any tropical region.
Is There Malaria in Jamaica?
No, malaria is not endemic to Jamaica. In fact, there are no special restrictions set by the WHO with regards to travel to or from Jamaica. Therefore there’s no need to be concerned about getting malaria during your trip to Jamaica.
However, mosquitoes native to the region do carry mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and the Zika virus, which especially occur after long periods of rain. That said, such cases are less common and the illnesses are not life threatening.
Do I Need Malaria Tablets in Jamaica?
No. Anti-malaria medication is not required nor recommended in Jamaica.
Are there Other Bugs in Jamaica?
Yes. Jamaica is a tropical country, therefore it has different types of bugs. One of the most problematic bugs in Jamaica is the sand flea, which is hard to see and seemingly immune to everything. You may use insect repellent to protect against bites from sand fleas. Also bring some anti-itch cream to protect against itching and allergies that arise from sand flea bites.
Do I Need Bug Spray or Insect Repellent?
Yes, you do need bug spray or insect repellent when traveling to Jamaica.