It is known that mosquitoes in Alaska are plentiful and large. In fact, due to their size, they’re often jokingly referred to as the “Alaska State Bird.” The Last Frontier harbors 35 mosquito species, and a University of Alaska Fairbanks professor estimates more than 17 trillion mosquitoes hatch in Alaska every year!
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While the large mosquito population may sound daunting, these pests shouldn’t deter you from visiting one of the most beautiful states in America. There are many ways to avoid encountering mosquitoes, starting with the tips in this post.
When Are Mosquitoes Most Active in Alaska?
Mosquitoes are most prevalent in mid-June, around the week of June 20th, to the end of July and the beginning of August. They are the least active when the winds are strong even in dense mosquito areas like Denali.
Where Are Mosquitoes Most Common in Alaska?
Mosquitoes are common throughout most of Alaska, but areas that get more rain or snowmelt —particularly northern Alaska—are more prone to harbor mosquito swarms in the summer.
You’re most likely going to encounter larger mosquito populations in heavily wooded areas, near streams, lakes, or stagnant bodies of water.
Denali National Park is notorious for mosquitoes in the summer. Fortunately, major cities like Anchorage and Juneau don’t usually get large swarms of buzzing pests, so you can enjoy your summer evenings without smelling like bug repellent.
How to Avoid Mosquitoes in Alaska
At dawn and dusk, you’re likely going to encounter mosquitoes, especially if you’re working in Denali or smaller northern cities. There are several easy precautions to take if you want to avoid large swarms of nibbling pests.
First, it matters what clothing you wear. Mosquitoes adore dark-colored clothes, especially deep blues. Loose synthetic clothing also attracts mosquitoes because the fibers are easy to pass through to your skin. Instead of ending your evening romp by looking like bumpy citrus fruit, Alaska Trekker recommends you follow this checklist:
- Wear tight-weave long sleeve shirts and pants that are made from pure cotton
- Wear khaki or neutral colors and avoid dark ones
- Avoid using scented soaps, lotions, or shampoos
- For areas with dense mosquito populations or day trips near stagnant water, consider wearing a head net to protect your face
- Always use bug repellent
The Best Mosquito Repellant To Use in Alaska
DEET is by far the best (and most effective) mosquito repellant.
Alaska Trekker recommends applying DEET directly to difficult-to-cover areas, like your face, hair, neck, and hands. Afterward, be sure to spray your clothes vigorously.
Be careful about the type of clothing or material you spray with DEET. Depending on the potency, DEET can melt or burn some common clothing materials, backpacks, rain jackets, and more. When using DEET, try to stick to natural fibers like cotton or wool.
If you prefer to avoid the harsh chemicals in DEET then use bug spray made with Picaridin. Picaridin is a synthetic compound that won’t damage fabrics, and it doesn’t have the potent smell of DEET. However, Picaridin isn’t as effective at keeping Alaska mosquitos at bay.
And remember, the trick to effective mosquito repellant is to apply the spray or ointment prior to walking outside. If you’re already being bitten, it’s too late.
Do Alaska Mosquitoes Carry Diseases?
Although mosquito bites can leave you with itchy and irritated skin, you’re not likely to contract any severe illnesses from mosquito bites in Alaska. Only two of the 35 species can transfer West Nile Virus while Malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus are also non-factors for Alaska mosquitoes.
If you work in Alaska during the summer, encountering mosquitoes is inevitable. But with a few precautions, you can avoid the swarms and enjoy your time in the outdoors.
Now that you know how to avoid Alaska’s buzzing pests, are you ready to work in Alaska? Take a look at our current job openings and start your next adventure!