Are There Ticks in Hawaii? A Guide to Hawaii Tick Species

When you think of Hawaii, you probably picture serene beaches, coconuts, and grass skirts. The last thing on your mind is parasitic pests that suck your blood and ruin your vacation. However, it’s important to be on the lookout for Hawaii ticks while you’re there. 

Hawaii has not traditionally been home to tick species. However, with plenty of tourists and travelers frequently populating the area, ticks can be present on the islands. Learn more about the ticks Hawaii tourists may encounter and how to combat them. 

Hawaiian Coast landscape

Does Hawaii Have Ticks?

There are no tick species that are native to Hawaii. This means the beautiful islands that make up Hawaii don’t house these larger-order arachnids naturally. In past years, no one had to worry about tick-borne diseases in Hawaii. However, things have changed a bit since air travel has advanced so much, but generally speaking, Hawaii has no native ticks. 

How Common Are Ticks in Hawaii?

Ticks are not commonly found anywhere on the Hawaiian islands. However, cases of transferred ticks do happen. Ticks that are originally from other parts of the world can travel to Hawaii through livestock and pets. This introduces some tick species to the islands, which can spell trouble for visitors and natives. 

Not all ticks are harmful to human health, but some species are. It’s important to know which ones to look out for while you’re enjoying the gorgeous waters and tropical vistas in Hawaii. 

Types of Ticks in Hawaii

The tick species in Hawaii that can harm humans are the most important to know about. Remember that Hawaii has no native ticks, so all of these tick species originate in other parts of the world. This means that air and water travel can spread harmful diseases and illnesses to the Hawaiian islands, even if travelers are extremely careful. 

Brown Dog Ticks

As the name implies, brown dog ticks are known for targeting domesticated dogs. If you have a pet dog in Hawaii, be on the lookout for these reddish-brown pests. Pet kennels and shelters are other popular locations where brown dog ticks thrive, as they have plenty of hosts available.

Brown dog ticks can transmit a variety of canine diseases between pets. Some of these diseases are dangerous or even fatal for your beloved animals. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is the most notable disease that often comes from brown dog ticks. 

Spinose Ear Ticks

Livestock owners listen up: spinose ear ticks can easily infest herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. There are no known diseases carried by spinose ear ticks, and they primarily affect animal production. However, it’s good to know about them so you can check your animals for them regularly. 

Spinose ear ticks take up residence in the ears of well-known livestock. If a human comes into close contact with infested livestock, they risk infestation as well. The good news is that spinose ear ticks are merely a nuisance and not a danger to humans. 

When Is Tick Season in Hawaii?

All of the ticks in Hawaii can be present year-round. However, ticks tend to be most active on the islands during the warmest months of the year. During spring and summer, remain vigilant and keep an eye out for these parasitic pests. 

Mountain landscape in Hawaii

How to Protect Yourself From Ticks in Hawaii

Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent tick bites and infestations in Hawaii. Since the area is so sparsely populated with ticks, you don’t have to worry as much about contracting them in most areas. However, ticks can still thrive in grassy, wooded, and rural areas. If you visit a trail or place with dense undergrowth, check your body and clothing afterward. 

Wear Gaiters 

Ticks tend to attach to your pants and crawl up your leg, seeking blood, so it’s important to minimize their probability of doing so. One way you can accomplish this is by wearing gaiters. 

Gaiters are special additions to boots that are made for hiking, traveling on trails, and other intense outdoor activities. They strap on over your boots to prevent ticks from attaching to your pant legs. These contraptions are also helpful in preventing scratches and contact with poison ivy while spending time outdoors. 

Tuck Your Pants Into Your Socks

If you don’t have a pair of gaiters, tuck each of your pant legs into your socks. This will minimize the surface area that ticks can attach to and subsequently crawl on. If they have a harder time attaching to your leg, chances are you won’t get bitten. 

Avoid Dense Vegetation 

Ticks thrive in dense, grassy areas. Hawaiian islands have several rural areas with dense vegetation. We recommend avoiding them whenever possible to minimize tick exposure. 

Instead, opt for well-maintained trails and areas with shorter grass. These areas will be home to fewer ticks, making your experience in Hawaii much more pleasant. 

Wear Insect-Repellent Clothing From Insect Shield

Our collections of permethrin-treated clothing can help deter ticks, mosquitos and other biting insects. These EPA-registered pieces are designed to repel ticks and other pests, keeping your clothing and skin free and clear. This way, you can avoid exposure to ticks that may carry tick-borne diseases in Hawaii. 

Permethrin is a well-studied, effective insect-repellent. It’s used as an insecticide in many products, including our clothing. Many people and companies use permethrin because of its stellar safety profile. 

When you wear clothing treated with permethrin, ticks will run the other way. On the off chance that you do get a tick near your clothing, it will be repulsed by this chemical and avoid attaching to you. 

Shop Our Collection of Tick-Repellent Clothing

Want to get rid of pesky ticks as well as other insects while you’re in Hawaii? We understand. You shouldn’t have to risk your health to enjoy the great outdoors. At Insect Shield, we have you covered. Wear our EPA-registered tick-repellent clothing to help repel ticks all year round!

Additional Information on Ticks

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