As we are experiencing our very first Spring and Summer here in Juneau, I am noticing some differences between Alaska and the lower 48. Today I’m going to talk bugs.
Life in Alaska: Bugs Bugs Bugs
I hate bugs. I know they are part of the circle of life and all have a very serious role in the ecosystem. That does not make me find them any less creepy and a little scary.
Secretly I was hoping to move up here to find zero bugs. Haha. As I have done some research there are actually 151 different kinds of bugs that can be found here in Alaska. (Cite: http://www.insectidentification.org/insects-by-state.asp?thisState=Alaska) Bummer.
Two big differences I have found up here. No crickets. I do not hear crickets chirp at night. I remember going outside and spraying Raid on the side of the house to get those darn crickets to stop chirping so I could sleep in the lower 48. Not here, no crickets!
Alaska has 35 species of mosquitoes. What? White Sox and No-see-ums (because they are so tiny you don’t see them) are the two most popular. There are “safe” times in Alaska if you just don’t want to fight the mosquitoes. Before the third week of June and after the end of July, although I was here at the end of August in 2012 and no-see-ums were crazy.
Just like anywhere else one should take precautions to not get bitten by mosquitoes. Here are some tips:
Try to expose as little skin as possible. Wear shoes, long sleeves, and long pants with the cuffs tucked into socks.
Tight-weave cotton shirts and pants work better than more porous synthetics.
Wear khaki or neutral colors. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, especially blue.
Don’t use scented soaps, lotions, or shampoos.
If you’re taking a multi-day backpacking or float trip, bring a head net for backup.
I hear dryer sheets work. Apparently mosquitoes don’t like the smell. Keep them around you.