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Mosquitoes !


Alaska has gotten a reputation for voracious mosquitoes.  Like many 'reputations', this one has elements of truth, which are often exaggerated to a ridiculous extent.  (See photo...)

Alaska has generated this reputation largely because of two of the  largest attractions have been hunting and fishing.

If I wanted to attract mosquitoes I would go to a wet, wooded area and stand still.  Hunters and fishermen do exactly that, and yes, they will get eaten alive.  

I have been in Alaska for 33 years now, and the worst mosquitoes I have ever seen were in Idaho.  In second and third places come Minnesota and Northern California.  I'm sure many of you have seen places that can beat any of the ones I mentioned.   The fact is, anyplace on the planet with woods and water will have mosquitoes!

The typical maximum airspeed of an Alaskan mosquito is about four miles per hour.  (You won't find that kind of information in an encyclopedia.)  I have been walking away from mosquitoes for years now, and I have observed the speed at which they can no longer keep up.  When hiking, you can just walk fast or trot for twenty yards or so and you will lose them for awhile. 

On a bicycle, they can't keep up except when you have a tailwind that is going exactly the same speed as you are.  How often does that happen?

Most of the other bugs I get asked about either don't exist in Alaska, or are here in such small numbers as to not have annoyed me in 33 years.   These include the dreaded Black Flies which exist on the east coast of the US.