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How bad are the mosquitos in August?


mpk

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I'm doing a northbound August cruise and spending a few days at Denali. Exactly how bad are the mosquitos? With all those stories about the Alaskan "state bird", we're wondering what we will be up against.

 

Also, what seems to work? I'm not inclined to slather DEET on myself or my family icon_smile.gif

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In Denali Park early August the problem can be significant- so much so that I will NOT go to Wonder Lake before the end of August now. Almost got carried away once. icon_smile.gif Do a search of Kennicott's posts- last year?? he wrote an excellent report on suggestions. I used Deet- anything less was useless, also had a bug hat and was still running out of there. icon_frown.gif

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Alaskan mosquitoes will be fine in August. They should be fat and happy at that time. Humans who encounter them though will not be pleased. I agree with BQ. I haven't had success with any non deet products thus far.

 

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We had the opposite experience last summer in August.....no mosquitoes anywhere except for along the riverbanks of the YUkon River! No mosquitoes in Denali at all and we had come prepared with head nets. Never used them.

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>>Would the situation be any different in early July?<<

 

Yes, but not in the way you'd like to hear. In most areas, that's the peak of the mosquito season. In Alaska, if it doesn't have a heavy dose of DEET, the mosquitos won't be deterred by it (They use Avon Skin-So-Soft as a martini mix!). Don't use the DEET stuff (such as Deep Woods Off, my favourite) unless the problem is bad, but carry it in case you need it.

 

Murray

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Thanks Budget Queen, so sorry I missed you, I was down in Cordova on the 28th, turned out my trip was longer than anticipated.

 

I love these Alaska mosquito questions. Since, what ever I predict for the forthcoming season is almost certain to be wrong. Maybe I better use reverse psychology. In the interior, for a lot of years we had almost forgotten about mosquitoes, I had bug dope and coils stored away that I thought I would never use. Then over the last three years I used my entire inventory plus more as we have had three consecutive pretty bad mosquito years . But last year wasn’t as bad as the year before.

 

Anyway, I used to figure that the mosquito season in the interior of Alaska, the coast was never much of a big deal, let up soon after the 4th of July. But during the last couple of years I was still wondering why they still were so bad in early August. Matter of fact, it was still not good by the end of August. Maybe global warming.

 

So, I predict that next summer will be a bug free season. Ha, Ha. Here are the posts from a couple of years ago, that Budget Queen mentioned.-------

 

I spend my summer seasons out in bush Alaska and every once in while we really get hit with a bad bug year. Last summer was one of those. We made up for about 7 years or so with very few mosquitoes. I personally prefer late August or early September in Alaska partly because of the absence of bugs then. Some summers we don't have many bugs at all. For cruising along the coast of Alaska I really don't consider the mosquitoes to be a problem at any time, except for a short time in specific areas.I never use 100% DEET. When the steering wheel of my truck melts in my hands with the lesser stuff on I believe that tells me something. Consumer Reports had a good article on this a few years back. Here is what I do and it works for me even when the mosquitoes are incredibly bad. On my skin I use the very light DEET, say 9% or less and I reapply fairly often. Then on my clothes, and hat, I use the heavier stuff like "Deep Woods OFF" Think it is around 20%-30% Deet. I work a lot in the woods during the summer and wear short sleeve shirts a lot. The mosquitoes seem to be at their worst after about 5:00 PM. They aren't very bad in the bright sun. In the evening, last summer, they were so bad they wouldn't bight with the DEET on but they would hover all around your arms giving a tickling sensation, enough to drive you nuts. Head nets are probably the best for you but I can't stand to have them on. I’ve only found DEET to be effective. I’ve tried other things, not the products you mention, and they weren’t any good. We use the real light DEET on my granddaughters and it works. Some say products like “Skin so Soft†works but it didn’t on my kids. For not on the skin help, burn the coils that you find almost everywhere. But don’t just light one and let in go, particularly indoors. I break off a small piece, say about an inch and a half and it kills all the bugs in my 20 by 30 cabin. Cytronelo (not sure of the spelling) they put it in candles, kerosene, some say it is real good to keep mosquitoes away. I have tried it more than once and it doesn’t work.

 

There is an old tale telling that when the foreigers first came to Alaska the natives would strip them of their clothes, set them loose in the woods letting the mosquitoes finish them off.

 

Budget Queen mentioned such things as eating bananas. I'm not certain about that one but I used to think similar theories were all baloney. Until last summer. I had heard people say that dark colored clothes attracted more mosquitoes than light ones. I didn't believe it until I was sitting along side a friend who had black pants on and I had light ones and his pants had hundreds, maybe thousands, of mosquitoes on them and mine had hardly any. Mine didn't have bug dope on either

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In my experience- there can be a significant difference in Denali Park locations. As mentioned- I will never go to Wonder Lake again before the end of August- BUT Eielson was fine- the Tundra Wilderness even less of a problem. From these boards- it doesn't seem a lot of people go past Eielson??

 

So sorry to have missed you too Mr. Smith, I also missed seeing "Tater's" in Fairbanks. icon_frown.gif Maybe, we'll have another chance end of August?? icon_smile.gif

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Thanks for this info. This was a concern of mine. I have a rare extreme sensitivity to mosquito bites (massive purple welts, burning pain, 3-4X swollen body parts), and mosquitoes *luv* me! (My dh and I were vacationing in IL, together every step of the way. I got 17 mosquito bites in 2 hrs; he got none!)

 

We will be doing a land tour 8/20 following a NB Celebrity Summit cruise. From your info, we may be late enough in the season to escape the worst. But if there's only one mosquito left in Alaska, she'll find me! I'm stocking up on DEET.

 

M/R

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BQ, I had read on usenet that Wonder Lake is loaded with mosquitoes, as you said. Those posts also say that there is another biting bug called "no-see-ums" that are also a problem.

 

I guess I'll head up with a bottle of DEET and head nets. On second thought, maybe I'll buy the DEET in Anchorage. Bottles of stuff tend to burst in checked luggage...

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I remember years ago, when I taught school, and they still had sandboxes for the kids to play in. I got bitten all the time... finally had to use deet. I take it the ports of Juneau, Skagway (Lake Emerald) and Ketchikan in August won't be a problem?

 

Sandy

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OK - July and August have been discussed, but when does this winged season of terror begin? We're southbound out of Seward on June 11th with time in Skagway (driving to Emerald Lake), Ketchikan, Juneau, and Icy Strait. So... to Deet or not to Deet?

 

Thanks! Teri

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  • 2 weeks later...

They get really bad in the interior about mid May, it really depends on if it is a dry spring or a wet one. It's been pretty dry this spring so hopefully they won't be as bad.

I'd only suggest bug spray like "OFF", we call it the "Alaskan tanning lotion" anything weaker and you'll be iching all over. icon_smile.gif

 

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tinydancer...

 

What about mosquitos on the coast (i.e. inside passage) in Mid-may?

 

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If it's windy enough you shouldn't have a probelm with them. They are out there though, I would still suggest OFF bug spray, especially if your going to be in the woods.

 

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We are cruising July 24 northbound, and we should be cicada crazed by then....Here in the Washington, DC area, they are starting to come out of the ground. 17 year cycle and we are expecting swarms and complete coverage of these ugly critters....I may welcome the mosquitos by the time I get to Alaska. At least they are cuter... icon_biggrin.gif

 

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