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Recently, I booked a vacation to Sweden (the south). Because I was so happy to go there, I bought a few books about it. Then, I noticed that there is a chance that you can be bitten by mosquitoes and another bug (which I don't know the name of) that causes Lyme disease. To verify if that was true I went to my doctor and she adviced me to take three syringes. I was completly shocked. I'm not really a city tripper, but I want to discover Sweden's nature. Is there a big chance that you can get a bite?

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    I think the lyme-disease-spreading bugs you are talking about are ticks, they're common through much of Europe (including Belgium) and North America especially in wooded areas. There are things you can do to reduce the risk of a tick bite e.g. tucking trouser legs into socks while treating trousers with bug repellent, it's not the sort of thing people would often reconsider a trip over – user568458 Apr 19 '17 at 15:40
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    Many of the small flying insects seen in large swarms in Scandinavia, Scotland and other similar regions are not actually mosquitoes. They are a different insect family known as midges.en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_midge – Sarriesfan Apr 19 '17 at 21:51
  • @Sarriesfan Having lived in Lapland experiencing both mosquitoes and knotts, and having experienced the Highland Midge while on vacation, I can tell you they are very different from each other. – gerrit Apr 20 '17 at 11:25
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    This article might help clear up the confusion: Mosquitoes in Sweden – fact and fiction. Basically: "knott" = midge, generally less common than mosquitoes, and less of a pain, mostly in the north; "mygg" = mosquito, most common inland, north, and near fresh water and birch forests, mid-June to September, during dusk hours. One American commentor calls them "viking mosquitos": bigger and more aggressive than what they were used to in the US – user568458 Apr 20 '17 at 16:06
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Is Sweden full of mosquitos during the summer?

Full, no, but mosquitos are pretty much everywhere. The most recent ECDPC data indicate little to no invasive mosquito activity in Sweden so at least Zika is not a specific concern. Details at Mosquito Maps

Is there a big chance that you can get a bite?

The chances of getting bit by Ticks or anything in Sweden are not meaningfully higher or lower than anywhere else. You should apply the same precautions you would in any wooded area. Preventing Tick Bites

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    The map you've linked to is for invasive, exotic mosquito species, and doesn't cover any of Sweden's 50-ish native mosquito species. – Pont Apr 19 '17 at 17:32
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    @Pont Dang it, that's the last time I relay on the EU for any clear information! Thanks for allowing a helpful modification and not downvoting like too many are want to do. – Johns-305 Apr 19 '17 at 17:39
  • Still wondering why...so... – Johns-305 Apr 19 '17 at 19:33
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    Northern Sweden/Lapland actually can be full (as in, big buzzing black clouds) of mosquitos in the summer, but this is highly seasonal and weather dependent. Some years are fine, some are terrible. – jpatokal Apr 19 '17 at 21:13
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I've lived at the place in Sweden with the most mosquitos and I'm a certified ecologist.


Sweden is a fairly large country. To know if Sweden will be "full of mosquitos" where you will be you need to know why there are mosquitos at some places.

You can only find mosquitos near water sources like lakes, rivers and bogs. If you're not close to any water then you'll not find any.

Mosquitos also need air that isn't moving. Southern of Sweden is full of fields which makes it an unnatural habitat and they'll be hard to find. But near ditches with trees you'll still find them.

If there's sunlight you shouldn't see them either, so dress up at dawn and use protection like sprays. If you're in a house there are devices you can plug into the socket that emit a smell they don't like.

Having read this you'll know what to expect - also you'll never find yourself covered in mosquitos like the person below.

Hand covered in mosquitos.


Swedish mosquitos don't carry any diseases at all. If you can, let them suck the blood once they have started - it will prevent most of the itching. You can find "Salubrin" at pretty much any shop, apply it on the itching location and the itching will go away.

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Don't worry and enjoy your holiday. I will!

Some info:

Mosquitoes. Yes, Sweden can be full of mosquitoes, especially near still standing water such as a wet forest. However, the density strongly differs from one place to another and from one time to time. A little wind can make a huge difference. Some places are so full that the best is to keep moving, in other places one can have a pick-nick without any problem. If you want to avoid getting stung, use an insect repellant with DEET.

Midges The bite of these small flies differs from a mosquito because it hurts more. In general, these occur more locally, but if they occur then usually in large numbers.

Ticks Ticks are totally different from mosquitoes and midges because they are actually related to spiders. They can't fly and crawl up your shoes and pants to find your skin to bite. There they will stay for a few days to suck blood, unless you remove them. You should do this asap, because that decreases the chance of getting Lyme disease. An insect-repellant with DEET also works against thicks; there are even trousers and socks with DEET, this actually works very well in my experience.

I'm baffled by your doctor suggesting the three syringes, as there is no vaccine against Lyme. I think your doctor was thinking of tick-borne encephalitis, which requires three syringes. I find this rather far-fetched, but can't really advise you on this.

Source: I've travelled to Sweden a number of times and am actually going there this summer. I am also a European field biologist, and as such, belong to a risk category for Lyme disease (we get Lyme tests every year). And I do go into nature as much as I can and do not always stay on the track.

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