Bugs in Hawaii – The Bad News!

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Bugs in Hawaii – The Bad News!2017-05-18T20:52:25+00:00

One problem many people contemplating a move to Hawaii consider is how many and what types of bugs in Hawaii they are going to encounter in their new home. Though I can catch a cobra, krait, or coral snake with my hands, I’m no fan of bugs that bite. I avoid them like the plague. Hawaii doesn’t have any venomous snakes, but they do have some biting and stinging bugs, some of which you are likely to encounter (fire ants, centipedes) and some you likely won’t see, like scorpions.


Big Centipede, on of the worst bugs in Hawaii.Ok, lets start with the worst thing I can possibly imagine getting bitten by in Hawaii – the lowly centipede. Centipedes come from the genus, Scolopendra, and there are three types in Hawaii. Scolopendra subspinipes is the only centipede to fear. The other two are harmless – Lethobius sp. and Mecistocephalus maxillaris (Gervais). I’ve been bitten by a large and a small Scolopendra. Both hurt a lot, and I can’t say which hurt worse. I do know the orange S. subspinipes centipedes can get to nearly a foot long. I’m not joking, I’ve seen numerous 10-11 inch centipedes on the sidewalk in Maui at dusk, near my home. I thought they were snakes, they were so big. They range in size from 1″ – 12″.  Centipedes scare me more than spiders, much more.

I have had centipede families living under my carpet in Hawaii – twice. Both times it was near the restroom, where the floor is frequently wet. I must have killed twenty of the buggahs, they were hard to see at only about an inch and a half in length. One got me in the morning as I had my coffee, it ran across my sandal covered foot and got my ankle. Not a great way to start the day. Once, I felt something moving in my inner thigh beneath my shorts and – you guessed it – a small centipede.

Probability of Encountering – High. They are very common in Hawaii and they seem to not mind a bit moving in with you to your home. They also enjoy cruising through the grass at night concerts – I have seen a couple people bitten while sitting on towels and blankets and watching musical events outside on the grass.

Bites – A bite that lasts a second or more, and they all do because centipedes don’t let go until you beat them senseless, starts with a slow burning in a very small spot at the bite-site. The pain location then grows to a couple inches in diameter. It can be excruciating, depending where it bit you – if it got you where you have a lot of nerve endings like the fingers or toes, it will hurt more.

Outcome Prognosis – Good. I’d say more than 90% of centipede bites heal up without any sort of complication. It’s like a strong bee sting. If you are allergic to the venom, or if the beast got you good, you could possibly end up in the hospital with an infection. I have seen feet swelled up very large from a bite in the case of allergies or sensitivity. My bites healed in 3-4 days.

Precautions – Keep your residence clean. I mean, clean it at least weekly. If there are any damp spots in your home, make sure you caulk whatever you need to, or dry it up some other way to keep centipedes from camping out there. They love warm, and dark environment. Block the area under your doors so they can’t slip in from outside. Don’t sleep on the floor.

Note – the guy with the large centipede on his arm is my friend in Thailand. He’s pretty fearless, but you should NEVER attempt this. I think he probably removed the pincers from this one. 


Biggest cockroach found in Hawaii was around 2 inches, not 6 like this one might be. The biggest bugs in Hawaii are probably the centipedes, not the roaches, contrary to what you may have heard.

OK, this is an obvious fake. I think the biggest cockroach found in Hawaii was just over 2.5 inches, not 6 inches!

There are nineteen different species of cockroach in Hawaii, and only three of them are often near humans. The three types are the American (Periplaneta americana), the German (Blattella germanica), and the Surinam (Pycnoscelus surinamensis).

I don’t know why people are so afraid of cockroaches, they don’t bite very often. This is one thing I’m not very scared of, I’ve seen so many I am accustomed to them I guess. One time I was coming out of a dream in my bed at my dorm room at Hickam Air Force Base, and I was kissing a girl in my dream. It was heavenly. Her lips were soft like pineapple sherbet, or something. As I came to and opened my eyes, I realized I wasn’t dreaming. But why were my lips still tickling? I had a giant cockroach on my lips, probably trying to get at the pieces of food stuck between my teeth! I smacked my own face and jumped off the bed cussing a storm. My roommate woke up horrified he was going to die because he didn’t know what had transpired. True story. I hope you know I’m giving you my worst stories ever for these bugs, you are not likely to have the same experience. ;)

So, cockroaches are all over the place. They fly. They crawl. They eat whatever food is around, even if it’s stuck in your teeth. They don’t have venom, but apparently they can inflict some sort of bite. I have not been bitten by one, and I’m knocking on wood right now.

Probability of Encountering – High. Guaranteed. Most residential buildings have a routine spraying schedule. You can be sure that nice accommodations are spending good money to keep the place bug free. Still, you’ll see some.

Bites – They bite, but rarely. I think only when you’re sleeping and roll over on them or something. OK, a bit of research turned this up from Orkin – the pest control specialists – “Cockroaches are omnivores that eat plants and meat. They have been recorded to eat human flesh of both the living and the dead, although they are more likely to take a bite of fingernails, eyelashes, feet and hands. The bites may cause irritation, lesions and swelling. Some have suffered from minor wound infections.” So there, nothing major. Apparently roaches don’t bite people unless there is a shortage of other food to eat.

Outcome Prognosis – Minor wound infections as a worst case scenario. For the record, I’ve never seen anyone bitten by one, or with bites after the fact.

Precautions – Like centipedes, you have to block up every hole in the walls or under doors, around light fixtures, and windows. Do not sleep with the windows open without a screen, or you WILL be visited by flying bugs at night. Cockroaches are known to spread disease and they are generally very dirty bugs. If you have an infestation, don’t ignore them, get them cleaned out right away.


There is one scorpion in Hawaii, it is the ‘lesser brown scorpion’, Isometrus maculates. A sting causes pain and swelling and is similar to a bee sting. If you are allergic to the venom, you will require immediate hospital care – so watch for any symptoms out of the ordinary swelling and pain.

Probability of Encounter – Low. I’ve only seen one while camping at the beach. One in six years.

Bites – Cause swelling and accompanied by bee-sting like pain.

Outcome Probability – As long as you’re not allergic to the venom, you’ll be fine.

Precautions – Don’t leave shoes outside. Check shoes for resident scorpions, dirty laundry, anything that touches the ground. If you camp, zip the tent.

Note – there is a bug called the Pseudoscorpionida, or ‘pseudoscorpion’. It lacks a tail and venom stinger, but otherwise looks very much like a scorpion. If in doubt, don’t pick it up!


In particular, the Stinging Nettle Caterpillar (Darna pallivitta) is a real pest in Hawaii.

Do not touch this one!

Do not touch this one!

Caterpillars are cute and fuzzy, but there are some species, the D. pallivitta is one, that will make you scream in pain if you are stung by it. The spiny hairs release an irritant to the skin that causes intense burning and itching later as the burning wears off. I have been stung by a caterpillar in Florida and Thailand that were both intensely painful. Caterpillars can cause more pain than any bee I’ve ever been stung by. Beginning in 2001, these caterpillars have made their way across the Hawaiian Islands and are now on Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and recently, Kauai. If you are allergic to the irritant, you can have trouble breathing and require emergency care. Problem is, you won’t know whether you’re allergic to the chemicals the caterpillar produces until you are stung.

Probability of Encounter – Low. Even if you are hiking a lot on the trails, you probably won’t encounter this caterpillar. I hiked often – 50 times per year, and was never affected by this stinging caterpillar.

Stings – There is no stinger like a bee, rather, the irritants are located on the spiny hairs of the caterpillar. All it needs to do is touch your skin lightly to cause intense pain.

Outcome Probability – Most people will be fine after the pain and itchiness goes away. Some will have allergic reactions and require medical treatment. If stung, pay attention to odd symptoms like breathing problems, sweating, cloudiness of mind. These things may indicate you are allergic to the venom and should get help immediately.

Precautions – Cover up your legs and arms when hiking, and be extra cautious as you are gardening. These have been found on palms, weeds, grasses and other foliage, so they could be just about anywhere.

[Image – Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture]


Hawaii has a lot of other bugs obviously. Many of them bite, but I think most people are aware of bees and spiders and there is no need to go into any depth about them. Hawaii does have the black widow and brown widow spiders – so caution should be taken when in cellars, or outdoor sheds and other dark places. Their bite is necrotic and can cause complications, possibly even death. Fire ants can cause a wicked sting for a short while, then insane itchiness for a night or two. Bed bugs? Who doesn’t have them? ;P

The major harmful terrestrial pests, you’ll find above – cockroaches, centipedes, and scorpions. Just be aware and take some precautions and you’ll be fine, like the other 1.292 million residents on the Hawaiian Islands! Don’t let your fear of bugs in Hawaii turn you off the idea of visiting or moving to the Hawaiian Islands. There are ways to deal with them and lessen their impact. Do whatever it takes, just come and see the islands!

More fun reading:


Peter Kay


  1. ron lukesh 08/14/2018 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    I have been working on a farm located west of Wailuku Maui for the past year. This is right in the dirt, the jungle actually. Yes the”bugs” are many and come in all sizes. There they are inside and they are outside. I have had spiders literally running in circles around me body. Centipedes that have fallen from inside a pant leg as I was putting my leg in. Roaches…..thrive there, in the houses, the soil, pretty much where ever they want. Ants too. Take a dead roach and put it near the floor and wall of the bathroom,where I had seen ants wandering…… within six hours the ants consumed the roach completly. I did that about every day and the ants ate every roach, one by one. I have yet to be bitten by any bugs, save mosquitos. Right through the freshly applied 100% DEET even. Bugs ARE everywhere. Come enjoy Hawai’i…..farm here and stay for free. A hui ho…Aloha

    • Peter Kay 08/14/2018 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      Good story. Very funny. Though it’s probably made up. Your IP address right now indicates you’re somewhere in Texas, not Maui. Did you move back?

      • Sassy 09/21/2018 at 9:39 pm - Reply

        There are apps such as ip vanish that will make it look like they are in other states.

    • jaley 11/02/2018 at 6:03 am - Reply

      I don’t know why they say they don’t bite. Those huge American roaches do. Those latch on for dear life and you are trying to swat them off and they are latched on. I don’t know if this is biting but that is what happens there. It takes three or four swats to get them off. Scared the living daylights out of me. It didn’t hurt it was just gross.

      • Peter Kay 11/02/2018 at 7:14 am - Reply

        If roaches in Hawaii bite, you’d know it because they are like everywhere. They don’t bite.

  2. Martu 12/12/2017 at 5:22 am - Reply

    Hi! I was thinking of staying in honolulu in a residence or a family house (I’m doing a student exchange) but I habe a huge phobia of all kinds of insects, roaches and reptiles like iguanas, what would you recommend to avoid them? Should I change my destiny and do the exchange somewhere else?

    • Peter Kay 12/12/2017 at 7:02 am - Reply

      We don’t have iguanas but we do have little geckos and small lizards. That said, your choice would be to face your fears and eliminate that phobia once and for all by coming to Hawaii or maintain an irrational fear (because there is nothing to be afraid of in Hawaii… No poisonous creatures) by avoiding the problem and going somewhere else. I say face your fears abs make this go away!

  3. Candy 07/17/2016 at 6:04 am - Reply

    we live part year on Maui, have learned to keep a pair of kitchen tongs on most surfaces, to grab centipedes — oddly enough they seem to drop from the ceiling, around the ceiling fan cutouts, unfortunately right over the beds, the big couch, and the dining table — have had both the large brown ones and the small black ones (and those bites are the worst so far), no encounters with the red-marked ones — there are the inside roaches and the outside roaches, neither seem particularly dirty; the HoyHoy Trap-A-Roach traps seem to work best (sticky substance inside cardboard sleeve) – and the feral chickens that come visit seem to keep the insect invasion down — we cherish the geckos and praying mantids that come live in our house too, since they hunt the ants, mosquitos, moths, and roaches — we’ve found that ants hate to cross ground cinnamon so we sprinkle that wherever they might enter

  4. Lina 07/10/2016 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    I was raking the leaves in the backyard and saw four scorpions, one ran up on my shoe. This was in Makakilo, Oahu. First run in with scorpions ever!! Freaked me out but as far as the other bugs, you get used to them and just keep it moving. Cockroaches will never die, they survived the dinosaur era, indestructible nasty buggahs. Just gotta patch up any holes and keep the place clean as much as possible.

    Anyone changing their mind about moving here over bugs most not realize there are all kinds of bugs everywhere in the world.

    Mahalo Nui for your post!

  5. W 07/07/2016 at 2:14 am - Reply

    Seriously you guys from the very first post are forgetting that Hawaii is Hawaii and bugs are everywhere in the world, not to mention bigger and much worse. Cockroaches are pests and even worse when you need professional help to get rid of them but the bugs live here too and won’t go away. We like to live in peace with them and you’ll find that they don’t want to harm you. I almost never kill a bug. Catch it in a jar and let it outside. Easy as that. It can even be fun sometimes. Giant centipedes are amazing little critters, why would you want to smash one? I am from Cali where we have black widows in ever dark corner in the summer, and giant wolf spiders that find their way crawling around the house. I Laughed At The Chicken part. Yeah you will love waking up at 4am everyday to the sound of at least 5 noisy chickens. Your neighbors may even pay you to catch and “relocate” them. Enjoy nature while it’s still here. That’s all I can say.

  6. Jaca 06/15/2016 at 6:08 am - Reply

    I lived on Oahu for several years and worked at a beachfront hotel restaurant.
    It wasn’t unusual to see a cockroach wander across the floor. They were easily 6 inches long and even longer.

    • Peter Kay 06/15/2016 at 8:34 am - Reply

      And let’s not forget about the giant flying cockroaches!

  7. Mandie 04/06/2016 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the article! We are planning on moving to Hawaii, but I am really afraid of bugs – especially ones that bite/sting! We are thinking of Maui, but we aren’t certain yet. Which areas of the island are drier and (therefore) have few centipedes? That sounds the scariest.

    • Laurie 06/15/2016 at 10:06 am - Reply

      Huge flying cockroaches house, roaches they live everywhere. you cannot Escape cockroaches. you are always going to have cockroaches you can fumigate, but they’ll be back. The centipedes you can fumigate. But they’ll be back. The bites from cockroaches house roaches and centipedes and mosquitoes are horrible.
      Ants in Hawaii has those too, red biting ones. Not fun!
      If your house is not spotless if you leave food crumbs around, live pet food out or your garbage doesn’t get emptied often you will have bugs and they are extremely hard to get rid of I speak from experience. My mom always kept a really neat house, vacuumed every day, house is always clean and spotless we still had bugs.
      Cockroaches love moist areas warm moist areas so they like to hang out in the kitchen and the bathroom imagine getting a shower or washing your hands or face in the sink and having a cockroach crawl up the drain in front of you, not fun!
      If you don’t like bugs and your kids are terrified of them Hawaii is not the place for you to live.

      • Peter Kay 06/15/2016 at 10:13 am - Reply

        Very well said! One thing is for sure, it forces you to have a clean house. When I was single, I was really messy, and I had thousands of roaches. It actually turned my life around forever. Now I’m super neat and clean. Thank you Hawaii!

  8. Mary Dixon 03/02/2016 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    yikes. Don’t mean to be a drama queen but the swelling has spread and is now red and hard. But I never even felt anything land or crawl on me!
    Whatever it was was extremely light. (sorry to keep adding details 8=)
    BTW I’m also from Pennsylvania and not over the shock of being back in this gray frozen world.

  9. Mary Dixon 03/02/2016 at 8:51 am - Reply

    I should have mentioned that I was in Hawaii Kai, near Kokohead.

  10. Mary Dixon 03/02/2016 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Thank you for your site—great information. I’m just back from visiting my brother on Oahu. I’ve been several times and have seen very little of bugs. But yesterday while walking down the sidewalk (next to an ornamental hedge and tree), I felt a sudden sting on my arm. There was a small pale gray thing sticking out, which I assumed was a stinger and removed. The site had a pinprick-type wound with a swelling of about a quarter inch. It felt like a mild bee sting, hurt and itched a bit. I forgot about it until today when I notice a swelling 1+1/2″ square toppd by a very itchy patch 1″ square. Any idea what the culprit might have been?
    Thank you!

    • Vern Lovic 03/07/2016 at 5:02 pm - Reply

      A bee! Lol… Sorry, I don’t have any more insight than that. One time I was hiking and there was a little white bug that stung me – looked like a fluffy blug – 3x bigger than head of a pin. That little bug make my knee swell for a week! Lots of bugs in the islands, and not sure what got you.

  11. Gunnar 02/23/2016 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    I got bit by a small scorpion after putting on my swim trunks. It was nothing at all, a mild sting that went away in 15 minutes. I was more worried that I had a centipede in my pants, that could have been worse.

  12. Pana 02/08/2016 at 11:32 am - Reply

    My family and I will be moving to Honolulu in June. My little girls are terrified of all bugs. I would consider getting a bearded dragon or something if it helps gobble up some of the pests. Also concerned for our pet dog who, of course, has her pet bed on the floor. Do you know if a bearded dragon or similar pet might help gobble up these pests?
    Thank you :)

    • Laurie 06/15/2016 at 10:16 am - Reply

      Huge flying cockroaches house, roaches they live everywhere. you cannot Escape cockroaches. you are always going to have cockroaches you can fumigate, but they’ll be back. The centipedes you can fumigate. But they’ll be back. The bites from cockroaches house roaches and centipedes and mosquitoes are horrible.
      Ants in Hawaii has those too, red biting ones. Not fun!
      If your house is not spotless if you leave food crumbs around, live pet food out or your garbage doesn’t get emptied often you will have bugs and they are extremely hard to get rid of I speak from experience. My mom always kept a really neat house, vacuumed every day, house is always clean and spotless we still had bugs.
      Cockroaches love moist areas warm moist areas so they like to hang out in the kitchen and the bathroom imagine getting a shower or washing your hands or face in the sink and having a cockroach crawl up the drain in front of you, not fun!
      Keep your dog’s bed up off the floor also wash your bedding and you dogsbedding frequently and bath and groom your dog weekly. Cockroaches, and house roaches thrive on skin dander. Also fleas are a big issue because they like the heat and the moist air and of course, dogs
      If you don’t like bugs and your kids are terrified of them, Hawaii is not the place for you to live.

    • Lina 07/10/2016 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure if you moved yet or not but I’m pretty sure bearded dragons are not allowed in Hawaii, most lizards aren’t. Call the Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Dept. for more information

  13. Sheela 01/23/2016 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Thanks a mil for this! I was planning on moving to Honolulu in my older days, but now I don’t think so. Really not in the mood to move to a place where the bugs hangout, don’t pay rent & bite the hell out of you. Peace!

    • Vern Lovic 01/29/2016 at 3:50 am - Reply

      ha! don’t pay rent… really the bugs are HARDLY a consideration for anybody – once you move there, you’ll not be affected hardly at all. Really you should reconsider if you are serious about bugs being the deciding factor for you. Aloha!

  14. Olden 01/16/2016 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    I love Maui. been there 6 times, stayed in condos and hotels from Kihei to Napili, and only experienced bugs and critters a little(lucky me). once I woke up to see what looked like a bird, but it was a flying cockroach on the sliding door screen, and it tried to escape, but didn’t die easily. Geckos eat bugs. so I like them. Didn’t see any in Napili, nor Kahana. Kihei is dry, so not many bugs. The Hana side has mosquitos, etc. Aloha, Mahalo for reading this..

    • Vern Lovic 01/29/2016 at 3:59 am - Reply

      I didn’t see many in Kahana, but some yeah. The big thing there was centipedes. There were 11 inch centipedes – biggest I’ve ever seen BY FAR, anywhere in the world.

  15. john 12/26/2015 at 10:31 am - Reply

    My son has lived on Oahu for nearly 10 years after growing up in dry, lifeless Colorado(compared to Hawaii!). I wanted to experience something moist and green on vacation so I rented a cabin near Hilo. All’s well until sombody on Oahu mentions centipedes and that Hilo is full of them! I googled that and didn’t sleep well thereafter! The Madagascar Lizard, geckos and coquis were great to see and hear but no,no thank you for a centipede!

    • Vern Lovic 12/27/2015 at 2:20 am - Reply

      Yeah, centipedes are scary beasts! They thrive in warm, damp, and dark environments. I was bitten on my foot in my house in Maui in the morning while eating breakfast. Not fun. I wouldn’t base my vacation on it though – I saw centipedes only a couple times a year. You probably didn’t see one either – right?

      • Alisia Ellmore 01/21/2016 at 4:55 pm - Reply

        I’ve lived all over the island of Maui for 38 years. Six years ago, living in Pukalani, about 2AM I felt a sting & a large centipede had stung me on my right cheek….had to go to Kula Hospital for treatment. My husband & I found him upon returning from hospital, & husband got rid of it!! Night before last Jan 20th at 3:15A, I got bit again by a smaller centipede on my left breast, my husband treated the pain with numbing OTC supplies we had, & then we found it & again he got rid of it!! He thinks they bite me because my body temp runs warm-hot due to a “hyperthyroid” problem. Also I question in Jan because centipedes don’t normally come out until the warmer months of the year. Always in our bed & the sheets/room is clean…..how, where are these ugly creatures coming from? Better yet, we do not want to use “chemicals”, does anyone know if there are any ways to protect ourselves from these creatures? Please share…… thank you in advance.

        • Vern Lovic 01/29/2016 at 3:54 am

          They tend to be under the rugs – between rugs and concrete – especially if damp too. We had 2 different ‘families’ of centipedes in our home in Maui and we too didn’t want to spray chemicals. I don’t know if there is any way to keep them out. Be aware of them, and follow them a while to see if they go back to a home where there might be more. Aloha!

  16. Darci 12/10/2015 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    On Kauai, I got stung on my palm by a wasp at a luau. Has such bad pain for several days. Benadryl and ice really helped. Worse then a bee sting. We saw one cockroach, named him Fred. Tough little bugger to catch. He finally made his way to the door and my husband assisted him outside.

  17. Lynn 12/08/2015 at 8:44 am - Reply

    The best (least toxic to children and animals) methed to rid your home from roaches or other exoskeletons is to sprinkle food grade Diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your home, as well as under sinks or any other area they may travel through. The tiny shell particles in the DE gets into the roach’s exoskeleton and literally cuts them up.
    For ants, I set dry grits out wherever I find an ant trail. They seem to like the grits, and once they consume water, the grits expand and “pop”! No more ant.
    Both processes are not the quickest of fixes, but they are inexpensive, easy to find, and non toxic to children or pets.

    • Vern Lovic 12/09/2015 at 6:52 pm - Reply

      Is that right? Seems too easy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to try it… anybody else have experience with this?

    • Monika 06/18/2016 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      Grits!! Lmao… I’m gonna try that!! Not so sure of other advice, especially on centipedes, we got them in Kapolei on the west side all the time… Have had 4 here in Pearl City in the last week (all 6+ in.) because of recent rains. Luckily, they are lethargic from outside perimeter spraying! Funny that’s there no ‘squito info since it’s the biggest threat now…

    • Diane 12/31/2017 at 3:20 am - Reply

      Very true Lynn your information is correct and DE does work .

  18. Guy DeWhitney 12/05/2015 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    I love visiting Hawaii; I’ve only seen Kauai, Oahu and Hawaii though.

  19. Doug 11/08/2015 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    I live on my sailboat in Keehi Marine center. Last evening a large cockroach (German) flew into side of my bare upper leg. I instinctively swatted it hard, killing it. A day later my leg skin has several red swollen spots half inch apart that itch where the roach was against my skin. I wonder if they’re bites, leg debris from roach feet, or “poison” I squeezed out of it when I smashed the flying critter against my skin. I put the dead roach in the trash. It left significant red welts on my skin that itch.

    • Lisa Capozio 02/16/2016 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      I would love to move to Hawaii or one of the islands and finish my career as a Personal Assitant. As a female scared of bugs and spiders is this a huge concern for me? I am a girly girl I’m worried once out of the resort What problems might I have :)

      • Laurie 06/15/2016 at 10:20 am - Reply

        Huge flying cockroaches house, roaches they live everywhere. you cannot Escape cockroaches. you are always going to have cockroaches you can fumigate, but they’ll be back. The centipedes you can fumigate. But they’ll be back. The bites from cockroaches house roaches and centipedes and mosquitoes are horrible.
        Ants in Hawaii has those too, red biting ones. Not fun!
        If your house is not spotless if you leave food crumbs around, live pet food out or your garbage doesn’t get emptied often you will have bugs and they are extremely hard to get rid of I speak from experience. My mom always kept a really neat house, vacuumed every day, house is always clean and spotless we still had bugs.
        Cockroaches love moist areas warm moist areas so they like to hang out in the kitchen and the bathroom imagine getting a shower or washing your hands or face in the sink and having a cockroach crawl up the drain in front of you, not fun!
        Keep your dog’s bed up off the floor also wash your bedding and you dogsbedding frequently and bath and groom your dog weekly. Cockroaches, and house roaches thrive on skin dander. Also fleas are a big issue because they like the heat and the moist air and of course, dogs
        If you don’t like bugs and your kids are terrified of them, Hawaii is not the place for you to live.

  20. Kris 11/02/2015 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    We’ve been in Kauai for three days. We walked into the garage tonight and saw a centipede. Okay, no biggy….but inside the house we had the not so lovely opportunity of meeting the giant centipede. It was about 5 to 6 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide from leg to opposite leg. It ran fairly fast. We tried to pick it up on a long paper so we could dump it outside. No go. This thing was creepy. We ended up using a magazine to try to cut it off at the head. No go. We finally used a sharp knife to cut the head off after disabling it with the magazine. After beheading, It CONTINUED to run around HEADLESS for 20 more seconds. We picked up the two parts with duct tape. It was by far the creepiest thing ever. I’m glad I live in a dry state. Cockroaches we have seen as well. Seems this rental needs a good cleaning. It also has some casebearers, but I never want to see another giant centipede. Disgusting!! Now I’m terrified I’ll be bitten whole asleep.

    • Vern Lovic 11/07/2015 at 5:38 am - Reply

      Cockroaches are all over. They’re impossible to really get rid of. If you ever open your door or windows without a screen, bam, they’re in the house because they fly. Centipedes are not as common, but they love damp and warm places. Under carpets especially. I had some there. Had a bite from one there. Not fun. Just kill them, they are evil things that bite for no reason at all.

      • Kona Honi 03/02/2016 at 11:20 pm - Reply

        Just to Clarify a few things… growing up on the mainland it was thought to be a “dirty, awful, unkept, disgusting environment”, if you were ever to find anykind of cockroaches in your home. However here in in our tropical environment we live in and desire in our lovely Hawaii it is their ideal climate that they breed and populate. It is almost impossible to not have any “run-in’s” with these flying-non piloted air buses!! Even in the finest of resorts and hotels.
        Same goes for the centipedes unfortunately…Hawaiian saying-if there is one, then there are probably three more hiding!! It’s all about being smarter than them. The one good thing is that one item of their diet are cockroaches!! How ironic! Keep your tongs handy so that you can
        relocate them outside or to the lua (toilet), or scissors to disect them to the lua (toilet)!!
        Enjoy Paradise,
        A Hui Ho

        • Vern Lovic 03/07/2016 at 5:05 pm

          Thanks for your comment – I think you’re right on with that. We had no cockroaches in Pennsylvania where I grew up. In Miami and Tampa I saw some fairly often. In Hawaii – about same as Florida. You’ll see them, but it’s like anything… houseflies which land on feces of all sorts and then come into your house and land on your food – are worse than cockroaches. I haven’t seen cockroaches eating or sitting on feces. It’s just an adjustment of the mind.

          I’ve also heard a saying like that about the centipedes!


  21. Elizabeth 08/12/2015 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    I am house sitting for two months. Last night I felt a horrible stinging,pain in my left ankle. It got swollen and was sending shooting, burning pain up my leg. No sight of a culprit. I took two ibuprofen and a Benadryl. Not quite as bad this morning, but still painful and swollen. Almost called 911 last night, but managed to get to sleep for awhile.

    Has anyone ever soaked with Epsom Salts for something like this?

    • Lisa Capozio 02/16/2016 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      Maybe I should consider house sitting first. I am a Personal Assistant who has had a job offer in Hawaii and I just am not sure I can do it if there are a lot of bugs. This way I could live there for short periods of time for house sitting and decide later. Thank you Elizabeth

  22. Jen 08/11/2015 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Cockroaches are disgusting and filthy, they carry disease and people can be allergic to them.

  23. Kymberlee 08/05/2015 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    I have been here 5 days and have more than 30 bites on my legs and arm. Everyday/evening/morning I discover more. Large painful and then itchy. We had ants and coach roaches in our rental. Exchanged it today. I’m hoping I don’t find any tomorrow. Our rental in Kihei seems clean and bugless. Any clues as to the culprit? Any ideas for relief?


    • Vern Lovic 08/06/2015 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Sounds like bedbugs or mosquitos. Hope you resolve it with the move! When I first moved to Hawaii I remember being bitten alive by mozzies.

    • Jen 08/11/2015 at 11:13 am - Reply

      Bedbugs.. Sadly they can follow through your clothing and bags.

  24. Isabella 07/05/2015 at 3:38 am - Reply

    If you wanna get rid of centipedes and millipedes I suggest buying some chickens. I live by punchbowl and we used to get a bunch of centipedes and millipedes. Then one day my neighbor from the top of the street got chickens and she let them run all over the street. At first I thought, these are gonna be a problem, but no they were the heros! I haven’t seen a centipede or millipede in about 6 years! They even help keep the roach population down too. also this was a great article

    • Vern Lovic 07/07/2015 at 4:43 pm - Reply

      That’s a great idea. Chickens eat ANYTHING. One time I fed them chicken. I have a video of that somewhere. Wait, I’ll find it… this is SO wrong <-- click for it.

      • Laurie 06/15/2016 at 10:26 am - Reply

        Chickens aren’t gping to be a solution for everyone. Check the Country and city guidelines.

  25. Brandon 05/01/2015 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Forget the scorpions. Their none aggressive. However, you failed to emphasize how the cockaroaches tend to go all kamikaze on people when flying around. Also, what about the intimidating cane spider?

  26. Faith 04/27/2015 at 12:20 am - Reply

    I love your good work because now i know how to go about bugs in hawaii


  27. sally Joyce 04/25/2015 at 1:22 pm - Reply


    I just had my first encounter with a American Scorpion…OMG !!!
    He was hiding on my patio chair under the cushion…I killed him with WASP spray and he would not die easily…I drenched him… I am on the dry side of the Island of Maui…Maui Meadows…
    As for Centipedes… I have had more encounters with these scary Big Bugs
    in my infested place in Haiku.. Maui…I also was stung by one in my sleep and believe me…not fun at at…I found myself on a IV Drip in the emergency room here…Warning…be safe… I feared for my Girl Hampton… my yellow Lab who passed to early from the mold in my apartment in Haiku not to long ago where I was living on Ulamalu Road… Slumlord and Rain equals Poison…
    The mold is nasty too… I am fighting for good health now…
    Mahalo Nui…

  28. Anna 04/22/2015 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Hi, enjoying your site! We lived in Hawaii for 4 years way back when (1988-1992), and are thinking of moving back in the future. It worries me to read about the insects, I dislike them very strongly. We lived in the Hawaii Kai area of Oahu, where it is very dry, except in winter (and not as upscale then as it is now!). When we moved into our house, we had a problem with cockroaches in the garage, where we were storing our moving boxes as we unpacked. These huge things would fly in every time we opened the door to the garage. Yuuck! We figured they came from the port/ship or warehouse where our goods were stored, because after we were unpacked and got rid of the boxes (we may have sprayed once), we never saw any more. We did have a buffo frog in the house once and lots of geckos, that’s about it. I don’t remember any centipedes, but I’d never heard of them then, so maybe we were just lucky. And.. I had a job where I went all over the island measuring peoples’ windows for blinds, worst I saw was gecko poop on the window sills (ugh). And I did have a gecko fall on me once in the bathroom. But they’re good luck. The best part to me was, no snakes, which I am very afraid of. So, I’m wondering if our lack of insect problems (other than the things I mentioned) was because we lived on the dry side, or has the insect population gotten worse since then. I also keep a very clean and tidy house, but we had kids then, so not as much then. Anna

    • Vern Lovic 04/23/2015 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Hi Anna,

      Sounds like you lucked out on the dry side. On the wetter sides of the island I think we have more bugs. Centipedes like damp, wet and warm environments and I saw them often on Oahu – in Honolulu, Bellows AFB, and on Maui in Honokawai, Honolua, Lahaina.

      But, you’ll be fine. Nobody dies from bugs. Well, very few people! :P

  29. claudia 02/20/2015 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    I enjoyed reading the valuable in formation. It was very helpful.

  30. carol Williams 01/16/2015 at 6:30 am - Reply

    Cleaning lady recommended Combat Source Kill – comes in a tube and you put little dots around house. She said you will never see another roach and she was RIGHT. If you hate roaches, that is the stuff to use!

    • Vern 01/25/2015 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      I wonder how long before it totally disappears and people aren’t breathing it in though. Gel dots maybe sit there for a long time. Thanks for the tip though! Advise people to check out the half-life of this stuff. Roaches and other bugs build up immunity to pesticides over time. If this stuff works it’s because it’s either a new formula or a very strong formula. Get the facts and let me know how it works out for you! Aloha, Vern

  31. Shannon 01/08/2015 at 11:53 am - Reply

    I have lived in Hawaii for two years and have found it to be extremely pest free. Yes, anywhere you live that is warm year round will have roaches. If you keep a clean home you will not see them very often. This topic came up at work and people who have lived her their whole lives have never seen a scorpion or that odd Caterpillar. Centipedes are NOT common. I have seen one and I am an outdoors enthusiast. I have not had one bug bite. Maybe the article is making it sound worse that is really is to keep the population down in paradise.

    • Vern 01/14/2015 at 2:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Shannon, thanks for your comment!

      People have different experiences. I have seen many centipedes on Oahu and Maui. I have been bitten, and well, just about everyone I know has been bitten by a centipede. They’re very common. I don’t have any interest in keeping the population of Hawaii down. lol.

    • Shirley 02/25/2015 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      Please tell me what island and section you live in! I hate bugs and am hesitant to now move there, but if I am in your area, I would maintain my moving plans!

    • Gary 11/02/2015 at 7:15 pm - Reply

      I have been visiting in Kapolei for about 6 weeks now. I have never in my life seen a worst fly and roach problem. You simply can’t eat outside for the flys

      • Vern Lovic 11/07/2015 at 5:39 am - Reply

        Yeah, it’s seasonal. Everyone gets used to it to some degree… :P

    • JJ 02/21/2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Shannon, it heavily depends where you live on an island. I’ve lived in Hawaii for 8 years now, and the first 4 I was living in Waipahu where I never saw any centipede, just roaches and plenty of them. In 2012 we moved to Mililani, and I’ve dealt with more centipedes than I ever thought I would. The difference is the local climate really, Waipahu is very dry while Mililani is very humid.

  32. Shirlee 09/29/2014 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for that informational on bugs my 4 year old daughter and I have been looking up all the different insects in Hawaii. We will be living there for a few months and I’ll admit I’ve heard a lot of horror stories (about the roaches mainly) of all the stinging insects, bed bugs and just weird creepy crawlers and needed a more realistic view of the whole situation. Thanks bunches!

    • Vern 10/01/2014 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      ha! Many people are overly concerned about bugs in Hawaii. I hardly noticed them at all. Cockroaches are the real pest, but they’ll eat any food available before they ever bite a person. There is plenty of food – trash – available for them to eat. I don’t think I’ve ever known someone bitten by a… oops. Nope, now that I said that, I do know someone that lived in the projects in Tampa that was bitten regularly. Their home was totally infested though. Nobody in Hawaii that I know though! lol. Best of luck, please don’t worry much…

  33. jason 08/19/2014 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    I have a friend in Hawaii who was stung (on the face!) by a large…. hornet/wasp?
    as only an insect enthusiast I could not identify it. i’ll send you a picture of the corpse if you’d like to add it to the list…

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