This may surprise you, or you may have already heard stories from friends who’ve been to Alaska – Alaskan mosquitoes are a force to be reckoned with. Alaskans say there are two types of mosquitoes in Alaska; One is small enough to fit through the bug screen, and the other is big enough to just open the door and come on in. I wish that was true, cause there are a lot more than two types of mosquitoes in Alaska.
The abundance of vegetation and standing water make Alaska a mosquito paradise, and tourists who do not take this into account are hereby warned that they are seriously risking their sanity. The mosquito population is at its peak in June and early July, while in August and especially in September it’s virtually unnoticeable. So far the not-so-good news.
How to protect yourself?
The good news are a good anti-mosquito spray will do the trick. The active ingredient in most repellents is called DEET. It may not be very healthy but it works very well (repellents with 25%-30% DEET are usually enough, but there are others with much higher concentrations). If you get the chance to venture into a local supermarket, look for a spray called Off. It usually comes in green containers and is normally located near the gardening department. Off spray is enough for 99% of cases.
In extreme cases (see image), if the spray isn’t enough, a combination of head net and long clothes will solve the problem. If that doesn’t help either, try a combination of Zen Buddhism and deep breaths. It won’t keep the mosquitoes away, but you may reach enlightenment.
By the way, there is no malaria, dengue fever or other such ailments in Alaska. The mosquitoes do not transfer diseases – they are just annoying.
Outdoor Research Mosquito Headnet – an excellent head net, recommended for those of you planning long treks and long-term camping, especially in the beginning of summer.