When people call to make reservations, a commonly asked question is “How are the mosquitoes up there in Alaska?” Everyone has heard horror stories about the bird-sized mosquitoes or people getting weak from loss of blood due to attacks of mosquito swarms numbering in the millions, but it’s not that bad. Though there are about 35 species of mosquito in Alaska, most of which bite, mosquitoes are a minor issue and there are strategies that can be employed to minimize discomfort.
Mosquitoes are most abundant from early June until late July, probably related to the increased warmth and rain-fall during this time. They are numerous and bothersome in certain environments, including interior forests, moist tundra and areas with stagnant pools. Swarming is not common, but in these areas the mosquitoes are more constant and even more active at dawn and twilight.
Here is a list of preventative measures you can utilize while outside:
1. Hike above the treeline. The decreased vegetation reduces the number of mosquitoes and a slight breeze in these open areas will further decrease mosquito activity.
2. Wear neutral colors, like beige. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, particularly blue.
3. Wear tight-weave cotton shirts and pants.
4. Avoid use of perfumes and scented hygiene products.
5. Take a head net. This is a common item sold in Alaska, we carry them in our camping supply section.
6. Use mosquito repellent. Deet is the most effective but use a product that contains at least 30% deet and carefully follow application instructions.
7. Camp in open areas. This is one of the advantages of an RV park with less vegetation. Not only do you have unobstructed views of the surrounding vistas, you can sit outside your tent or RV in peace and comfort.
So don’t get scared off the horror stories. Just be prepared. Mosquitoes, like bear, moose and rain, are part of the Alaska experience. If you are adequately protected, your outdoor adventures will be comftorable, safe and rewarding.