In many parts of the world, mosquitoes are a major source of worry for both residents and travellers. Greece is well known for its beautiful landscape and intriguing history, but it is not exempt from mosquito infestations. The presence of Mosquitoes in Greece can vary greatly from place to place – some locations have quite a few while others have next to none. The variation can be influenced by a wide range of factors, including climate, geography, and the availability of suitable breeding sites.
Where to find Mosquitoes in Greece
All over the world mosquitoes, called Gnupies in Greece, are commonly found in areas with stagnant water, as they require water for breeding.
Places such as:
- Coastal Areas: Mosquitoes can be found in coastal regions, especially in areas with marshes, wetlands, or stagnant water near the shoreline. These areas provide suitable breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Riverbanks: Mosquitoes thrive near riverbanks where there are slow-moving or stagnant water bodies. These areas often have vegetation and damp environments that mosquitoes prefer.
- Lakes and Ponds: Mosquitoes are frequently found around lakes and ponds, especially if they have still water or vegetation that provides suitable conditions for mosquito larvae to develop.
- Wetlands and Marshes: Wetlands and marshy areas are prime habitats for mosquitoes due to the presence of stagnant water. These areas often have abundant vegetation, which provides ample hiding places and breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Irrigated Areas: Agricultural regions that rely on irrigation can have mosquitoes in areas with poor drainage or where water accumulates, such as in fields or ditches.
The islands in the Cyclades and Dodecanese groups are most quite dry, in fact even arid. Islands like Santorini do not have a natural water source – no river, lake, or dam, so mosquitoes are quite uncommon. The only time they may appear is after a lot of rain when the water has pooled in things like empty containers or bins and need to be cleared.
On islands and coastal areas that receive a lot of rain, or have many lakes and rivers, then the chance of coming across insects such as mosquitoes is much higher.
Places in Greece that have more mosquitoes:
The Ionian Islands – Kefalonia, Corfu, Zakynthos, Lefkada
The Sporades Islands – Skiathos, Skopelos & Alonissos
The Cyclades – Andros
Northern Greece – especially Kavala and western Macedonia
Epirus – Zagori and the Pindus Mountains
Central Greece – Mount Parnassus
Peloponnese – especially Arcadia
Places in Greece that have little or no mosquitoes:
Cyclades Islands – especially Santorini, Mykonos, Paros & Milos
Dodecanese Islands – Rhodes, Kos, Symi & Halki especially
Attica – especially Athens
When are mosquitoes most active?
In Greece, mosquito activity often varies seasonally and is influenced by elements like temperature and precipitation. Breeding is common after rain, particularly in the warmer months and your are most likely to be bitten around dusk.
Health Risks Associated with Mosquitoes in Greece
In Greece, mosquitoes can pose a potential health risk through their ability to transmit diseases. The transmission of diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus, and dengue fever has been linked to mosquito populations in Greece.
The presence of mosquito-borne diseases highlights the importance of effective mosquito control measures to protect public health.
Studies have linked Greece’s mosquito numbers to the spread of illnesses like malaria, dengue, filariasis, and viral infections like West Nile virus. To lessen the possibility of malaria being reintroduced and re-established in Greece, mosquito control programmes are required in the northeastern prefectures of the country, notably those bordering Turkey and Bulgaria.
This is because malaria is endemic in Turkey and Bulgaria is struggling economically, which could increase the flow of potentially infected people via this border region.
How to avoid Mosquito bites in Greece
As someone who is allergic to mosquito bites and seem to attract even a rogue one in the next town I am very proactive when it comes to avoiding bites.
If they are common in the area you will often find the local hotels supply a plug-in ‘zapper’ in the rooms, hopefully with a full tablet or little bottle of whatever it uses to emit anit-mozzie smells.
- Use insect repellents with DEET or other suggested components which can be found readily in supermarkets and often pharmacies too
- some bracelet repellants and patches can work for some people – there’s some cute ones for kids
- Cover up any exposed flesh with long pants and sleeves
- burn Citronella candles late in the day and into the evening
- Avoid outdoor pursuits like hiking, at dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
The Greek Government’s efforts to mitigate mosquito populations
The Greek government has recognised how crucial it is to reduce mosquito populations and has taken a number of steps to do so.
Using GIS technology to create precise vegetation ecological maps is an important project that aids in predicting probable breeding places and directing control operations.
The mosquito management program that was put in place in the Regional Unit of Kavala has been a resounding success thanks in large part to these maps.
Therefore, the Greek government recognises the necessity of preventative measures and ongoing observation to lower mosquito populations and lessen the risk of diseases carried by mosquitoes.