Mosquitoes in Sweden – fact and fiction

Sweden has something of a reputation when it comes to mosquitoes – but which stories are really true? We have tried to answer some of the questions we are frequently asked below:

What is a Swedish mosquito?

Confusingly, the Swedish work for mosquito, “mygg”, sounds less like “mosquito” and more like the English word “midge”, those small, fast-flying clouds of biting insects which have been the bane of many a camping trip in Scotland. Swedish “mygg” are larger, slower, and much easier to catch, and what is more they do not share the tendency of their smaller cousins in Scotland to mount kamikaze attacks on your dinner cooking quietly over the campfire…


Some areas of Sweden, particularly the north, do also have midges, or “knott”, but mosquitoes are much more widespread, distributed in varying densities throughout the country.

Are there a lot of mosquitoes in Sweden?

Yes, and no. The density and number of mosquitoes varies greatly depending on the time of year, the part of the country you are in and the degree of rainfall during the breeding season in spring and early summer. They generally appear around mid-June and disappear again towards the end of September, with numbers lowest at the beginning and end of the season. Since mosquitoes like water and birch forest they are not often found on the high plains away from the mountain stations. Although mosquitoes are present throughout Sweden, numbers are highest in the north of the country.

Mosquitoes go through four stages in their lifecycle: from egg to larva to pupa before finally becoming an adult. Water is essential for mosquitoes to breed, as mosquitoes spend the larval and pupal stages of their lifecycle in water. Most mosquitoes will become food for a wide variety of animals, but those that are not may live for 2-3 months.


Do Swedish mosquitoes bite?

Yes, they do. Sweden has 47 species of mosquito, 45 of which are the biting kind, though not all of these will bite humans. Only female mosquitoes bite humans, as they require the protein to breed.

Some people are particularly sensitive to insect bites and develop itchy red spots, while others seem to be little affected. Mosquitoes in Sweden can be a nuisance, but with some simple precautions the problem can be managed.

How can I avoid being bitten?

Generally, mosquitoes in Sweden are only a particular problem during dusk hours, and more in the north of the country than elsewhere. Wear long-sleeved (bite-proof!) shirts and trousers, and use a repellent if you wish. Cover your head with a hat or scarf. If you are particularly bothered by mosquitoes, you may find a net for your face helpful.


What repellent should I use?

Everyone has their own individual preference regarding repellent. However, in general we recommend you buy your repellent in Sweden, as this may be more effective against Swedish biting insects than repellents purchased elsewhere.

Do Swedish mosquitoes carry malaria?

No. Malaria was present in Sweden until the 18th and 19th centuries, when people lived in much closer proximity to their cattle, but disappeared from the country in the early 20th century.

Are mosquitoes all bad?

While most humans consider them a curse, there are a number of positive sides to the presence of mosquitoes:

  • Mosquitoes provide an important source of food for many animals, from the tadpoles and fish which eat their larvae to the birds and bats which hunt for adults on the wing.
  • In some countries, mosquitoes assist in the pollination of certain plant species, including Cattleya orchids. These plants in turn have leaves which collect small pools of water and host mini ecosystems of their own containing frogs, newts and toads.
  • Spreading disease may seem like a negative, but maintaining the flow of bacteria and viruses around an ecosystem builds immunity and helps to strengthen populations as a whole by culling weaker animals.
  • Finally, it is sometimes said that without the deterrent that mosquitoes provide to human settlement, some of our wildest and most beautiful places would have been colonised and developed to a far greater degree. So mosquitoes are actually powerful conservationists!


Mosquitoes are present in Sweden, and in some cases they can be a nuisance. But with simple precautions there is no reason why they should be more than a minor annoyance or spoil your enjoyment of some of the world’s most spectacular wild places. The Nature Travels Team feels strongly from personal experience that if you can survive a camping trip on the west coast of Scotland and live to tell the tale, you will have little difficulty dealing with Swedish mosquitoes!


Best regards
The Nature Travels Team

Nature Travels offers a wide range of outdoor holidays in Sweden, from canoeing to dog sledding to romantic log cabin breaks, for independents, families and groups of all ages and levels of experience.

29 thoughts on “Mosquitoes in Sweden – fact and fiction

  1. Geoff Bockman

    Thanks for the information about mosquitoes in Sweden. One additional piece of information would be helpful. Where would one ‘draw the line’ between ‘the north’ and the rest of Sweden.
    We propose to travel as far north as Sundsvall in July 2010. Have we reached ‘the north’ yet please? My guess is ‘no’.

  2. Hi Geoff

    Many thanks for your question. Although Sundsvall is only around halfway up Sweden, you are likely to find midges in this area. Take some basic precautions and you should have a very enjoyable visit. If you are travelling north towards Sundsvall, you will pass our Summer Fun on a Forest Farm experience, which may be of interest, located near Soderhamn. For details, please see

  3. Ivar

    Hi! We’re planning a 7-day hike near Sarek and it would be quite useful to know how much of a pain we can expect from flies, ticks, etc.

    Here in Estonia, we’re having a boom of every flying biter. Is it same there this year?

    1. Hi Ivar. Sarek is in the far north of Sweden, and you should expect to find mosquitoes and midges in the region if travelling in summertime, though this does depend when in the season you go and the particular conditions that year. You are very unlikely to find ticks that far north. You might find our Sarek National Park Expedition of interest. For details, please see

  4. paul connolly

    Hi there. We’ll be in northern Sweden around October 5 – 8. What will the weather and mosquito situation be like? Many thanks….P

    1. Hi Paul. Many thanks for your question. By mid-September you would normally expect few mosquitoes in the north, so it would be unlikely you will encounter many, if any, mosquitoes and midges in October. In early October in the far north of Sweden (e.g. around Kiruna), average daytime temperature is around 7 degrees C, average nighttime around 0 degrees. Best wishes for a very enjoyable visit!

  5. Bunny Olesen

    I moved to Sweden from Memphis, TN. Memphis has so many mosquitos they spray poison off of trucks.

    The mosquitos in Sweden, I call them VIKING mosquitos. They are insane and awful. They are so big when you try to bat one away you can feel it bounce off your hand. Every bite I got turned giant, hard, and even left scars !!!

  6. Hi Bunny. “Viking” mosquitoes is a great name! Sorry to hear that you’ve had some strong reactions to Swedish mosquitoes. In our experience, people vary greatly in the strength of their reactions. Some may experience severe reactions as you obviously have, other people may hardly notice the same bite. What you might find is that you have some natural resistance to your “native” mosquitoes in Memphis but a stronger reaction to “unfamiliar” mosquitoes in Sweden, which may improve over time. We’d certainly recommend wearing long sleeves and trousers in the evenings when travelling in Sweden, and even a face net can be useful if numbers are particularly high – prevention is always better than cure! We certainly hope you are enjoying living in Sweden, though, despite the beasties!

  7. James

    Haha, Viking mosquitoes, yes that is appropriate. I can vouch for the same type of experience. I used to visit Sweden regularly to see a girlfriend I had at the time and friends I had made there. I can tell you, I have had bites from mosquitoes in my home country, England, and they pale in insignificance when compared to the bites I was receiving from the Viking mosquitoes. I absolutely think that the Nature Travels Team are right to say that it is a native thing because the Swedish natives didn’t seem too bothered about them, nor did their bites seem as bad as mine. Linkoping was the main area I would visit, but sometimes we would travel out to less built up areas to truly appreciate the glorious nature, not more than an hour away and certain areas there were many MANY mosquitoes! At dusk, a simple walk through the forest near a lake and I would be encountering several mosquitoes a minute. But the hassle is worth it because Sweden is the most beautiful country I have ever had the fortune to lay eyes on.

  8. Hi James

    Many thanks for your comment – very interesting to read your view, and we’re pleased that you love Sweden despite the little monsters! I would certainly say from my own experience that sensitivity decreases over time. When I first lived and worked in Sweden, I did get some bites which were annoyingly itchy during the first couple of summers, but since then have been much less bothered. But a good antihistamine cream is always a good thing to pack in the rucksack just in case and I find reduces any itching or discomfort quickly.

    Best regards
    Bob from The Nature Travels Team

  9. Scott


    My wife & I will be trekking Kungsleden (Abisko – Nikkaluokta) July 2 – July 9 of 2012. We have mosquito jackets and expect heavy numbers.. but can you answer what this years rainfall expectation is and how that will effect the population during our visit?


    1. Hi Scott.

      Many thanks for your mail. Mosquito numbers vary greatly both from year to year and within the season depending on factors such as rainfall during the spring and also just shortly before your arrival. It is of course a good idea to be prepared with suitable barrier clothing/repellent as you have mentioned. You may find that you have more or fewer mosquitoes than you expect.I am not aware of information for predicted rainfall, but you can find average temperature and precipitation information for the region at As a mountain tour, you should of course bear in mind that conditions can change swiftly.

      Best wishes for a very enjoy hike on the King’s Trail.

  10. Just a warning… You can’t buy antihistamine cream in Sweden, so pack some before you go. The pharmacists will offer only hydrocortisone, (separately) lidocaine cream and oral antihistamine tablets.

    1. Hi Susan. Many thanks for your comment – that’s very helpful advice. It’s an interesting point – I don’t recall having ever having had difficulties purchasing bite cream in Sweden, but as you say this may be hydrocortisone rather than antihistamine cream. We will certainly investigate this further.

  11. Max Spengles

    We’ll be visiting Lofsdalen next week. We’re in August and if i got it right, we should expect aggressive mosquitoes and ticks as well? Are tigas equipped with mosquito bed nets?

  12. Hi Max. You may well have some mosquitoes and midges in the Lofsdalen area – as Sweden has had quite high rainfall this year, mosquito numbers do seem to be quite high so we would recommend you take appropriate clothing, etc. You may find ticks in this area, though note that the Lofsdalen region is not considered a risk area for TBE – see for map of the small areas of Sweden in which this is currently a concern. I’m not sure I’m afraid what you mean by “tiga”, but if you are referring to “stuga” (the Swedish word for cabin), you will not normally find that cabins in Sweden have nets around the beds. It is more common to have mosquito netting on the windows. Hope this is of help. Best wishes for a very enjoyable visit.

  13. Pingback: Swedish mosquito | Everythingturb

  14. Amy

    Hello- We will be hiking the King’s trail in just a few weeks- from June 23-July 4. We are beginning in Abisko and ending in Kvikkjokk. Does anyone know if it is a big year for mosquitos? I am VERY sensitive to bites, and am also getting married two weeks after our hiking trip, so I am quite scared of being maimed by mosquitos before having to put on a wedding dress. I do have bite-proof clothing and a face net, but am still quite concerned about the potential bites I will face… Any tips are appreciated!

  15. Amy

    Thanks for the reply. Should we expect mosquitos to be a constant issue along the entire route from Abisko to Kvikkjokk, or will some sections have less than others? Also, do the mosquitos tend to be out all day, or are there times of day that they tend to come out more than others?

  16. Hi Amy – thank you for your comments and we hope you have a wonderful time hiking the King’s Trail. As Paul mentions above, rainfall in the spring affects the number of mosquitoes, and numbers vary greatly both from year to year and within the season depending on rainfall in preceding weeks. Bite-proof clothing and a face-net, as well as a repellent, are certainly a good idea, as well as taking some “anti-itch” cream or antihistamines, etc. Also take long-sleeved and long-legged layers for the evenings. You won’t tend to notice mosquitoes nearly as much in the more open/windy areas away from water and forest, and they will be more active in the evening time than during the main part of the day or where the air is still. Assuming you’re staying in cabins along the route rather than camping, you’ll of course have the opportunity to be inside in the evenings if you wish. Note that you might have midges as well as mosquitoes in the north also. That said, you shouldn’t let that put you off – although mosquitoes can certainly be a feature of any outdoor experience in the north in summertime, we’ve never had comments from guests doing the King’s Trail tour that they felt mosquitoes were a significant issue in their enjoyment of the trip, and provided you take sensible precautions to avoid bites and keep yourself comfortable, you should have a wonderful time!

  17. Amy

    Thank you for your reply! That is very reassuring and I am feeling better about the mosquitos already. Has it been a particularly warm spring? Any idea what the temperatures might be like during late June/early July this year?

  18. Hi Amy – you’re welcome. There’s was a lot of snow in the mountains this winter, so still probably quite a bit about around the King’s Trail area. They have had warm weather earlier in May, but today this week it’s about 6 degrees daytime/2 degrees nighttime in Abisko. You can see average data for the Kiruna area here, but bear in mind that Kiruna is in the lowlands – conditions in the mountains can of course be quite different and always variable. Hope this helps. Have a good trip! And should you be interested in other hiking experiences in Sweden for the future (including guided and self-guided options on the King’s Trail), please see

  19. Ben

    Just moved to Öland from England…having spent the last 12 years in the Navy travelling the world never getting bitten. I have been bitten 3 times this week…literally sucks!! There was me thinking I was immune. Do love my terrace in the evening sun tho.
    And what the hell is this flying insect going around my garden like a chinook helicopter…large and shiny green?? I knew I should have moved to Australia!!
    Only kidding I love it here

  20. Karlyle

    I wish I saw this article before i moved here in Sweden. I literally got mosquito bites all over my body and I think I got an allergic reaction that caused me many rashes and trouble in breathing. I’m used to mosquito bites before back in Philippines. I wish the wounds will heal before school. It’s sooooo embarrassing.:(

    1. Oh dear, we’re sorry to hear that Karlyle! It’s often the case that the mozzies in one’s home country affect people much less, but it takes a while to get used to them somewhere new. Hopefully you’ll be more comfortable soon!

  21. Esther

    I am in harads at the moment and yes there were/are a lot of mosquito here, especially close to wetter area’s, i got bitten yesterday by the bigger mosquitos near Boden and for the first time in my life i got big knobs in my neck and a fever. So do take the precautions cause it will make your stay awesome. I love the swedish surroundings! And the people are so relaxed and friendly!

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