Mosquitoes: They're Back – After Three Years On Vacation!

  This Year Is Very, Very Different There Were So Few Mosquitoes The Last Couple Of Years That It Actually Worried Folks That The Bugs Were ...


This Year Is Very, Very Different

There Were So Few Mosquitoes The Last Couple Of Years That It Actually Worried Folks That The Bugs Were In Trouble 

In August, 2017, Diane Ellsworth, who was working the Wrangell-St. Elias desk at the Park, told us that she was concerned about how few mosquitoes there were at NPS. 

We wrote up the story about the lack of mosquitoes in our Bearfoot Travel Guide newsletter – after interviewing people all over the state. There was an almost universal lack of bugs all over the road system, not just here in the Copper Valley. This went on for several glorious and unusual summers. 

But now, according to entomologist quoted on Alaska Public Media, the bugs are back. What a difference a year makes.  

Here's our 2017 August report. Read it as you look back on better days  – and rummage around  looking for your Pic, mosquito magnets and bug dope.  


Mosquitoes In Short Supply In Alaska
(But Hey, Who's Complaining?)


Sitting outside on our deck for the first time this summer in Gakona, we were marveling at how comfortable it was without mosquitoes.  As we travel the state we're finding others, too, have noticed they're not needing Pic, or mosquito magnets, or bug dope. Here's a look at this summer's unusual mosquito situation, in our August 2017 Bearfoot Bug Report

Delta Junction: 
"It's weird"
We really don't have much in the way of mosquitoes. At least for a period of time, every summer, we always have lots of mosquitoes. And this year, we haven't had hardly any. It's weird. Usually, when you're working outside it's miserable. Where are the mosquitoes? 
Susie Sandy, at Kelly's Alaska Inn

Byer's Lake: 
"A lack of mosquitoes"
There's been a general lack of mosquitoes, at large. I don't know why. It's great from the standpoint of personal comfort. But it's been a topic of discussion: Where are they?
Brian, working at Byers Lake Campground in DENALI STATE PARK

"It's not awful"
It's hard for us to tell. We have three magnets. If we run out of propane we do get an increased activity. But it's not awful. 
Tracy Hulett, at Sourdough Campground in TOK

"How lovely"
I was just walking outdoors and thinking how lovely it was. I don't know what causes the mosquitoes to be in swarms. It is not as bad as usual. I remember once years and years ago we went fishing. I remember we got out of the car, we had to walk through this area. There must have been 10 million mosquitoes… The air was thick. It was like walking in a sandstorm of mosquitoes. 
Judy White at Nenana Raft in HEALY

Copper Valley:
"We haven't had any"
I've been a ranger four years. The first years I was here -- we had three of those mosquito magnets. The maintenance guys would empty that net every day or every other day. I counted the mosquitoes in the magnet and I scooped out one tablespoon of them and I found 500 mosquitoes per tablespoon. I used the tablespoon and counted how many and it was 35,000 in a container in two days. A 50-foot radius! That's a lot of biomass. 

This year we haven't had any mosquitoes flying around to justify lighting them. 
Diane Ellsworth, Ranger at Wrangell St. Elias Park, COPPER CENTER

(Coincidentally, the bug situation was so noticeable to Diane that she actually posted scientific concerns about this phenomenon on the Wrangell-St. Elias Park Facebook site, about a week ago. Diane wrote: "Although it's been delightful not having to wear extra clothes or bug spray, this is a concern as male mosquitoes are the primary pollinators of the boreal forest." )


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