The summer of 2013 could easily be described as the summer of the mosquito; with massive swarms surfacing throughout much of the United States. One such state that has seen the most mosquito activity, with clouds of mosquitoes swarming, happens to be Alaska. It’s so bad in Alaska, many of the local’s joke that the mosquito is the state bird.
Massive Mosquito Swarms In Alaska
Alaskan mosquitoes are infamous for not only their size, but the size of their swarms. Nobody knows this more than the scientific researchers at the Toolik Field Station; that happened to be caught in a massive swarm on Alaska’s North Slope.
From late June through the month of July, the Alaskan horizon is nothing but mosquitoes. It appears that the ground is on fire, as smoke rises up over the fields. This smoke apparition is not caused by fire, but are actually clouds of buzzing mosquitoes hovering above the ground. It’s quite a site to behold, but definitely not a time you want to be caught in shorts and tank top without any bug spray.
With So Many Mosquitoes, How Big Is The West Nile Threat?
According to scientists, the deadly West Nile Virus doesn’t pose much threat in Alaska. With two different species of Alaskan mosquitoes being vectors of West Nile, the deadly virus has not been able to take hold in higher latitudes. The resident’s of Alaska, and those looking to vacation in the beautiful state this summer, will have to deal with the massive and menacing swarms of mosquitoes, but need not lose much sleep over the probability of catching West Nile.
The main problem that these pesky mosquito swarms project, is physiological stress among residents and tourists alike. Preparing for a summer in Alaska can seem like quite the burden; from buying the right repellent, to wearing the right clothing, to not being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Still, with the threat of West Nile, not only in Alaska but throughout much of North America, special precautions must be taken as to not contract the frightening virus.
- When outdoors, wear suitable attire. I know it is really alluring to want to go sleeveless, and wear short shorts during the warm and sunny summer months, but this will only expose you to the mosquito’s bite. Don’t become an easy meal. Cover up!
- Make sure you have ample mosquito defenses. I’m talking of course about mosquito repellent that is loaded with DEET. Mosquito coils, mosquito dunks, and citronella candles and torches also help in fighting the mosquito battle.
- Wear light-colored clothing. Mosquitoes are naturally attracted to certain colors; especially dark colors. Opt for whites, creams, and beiges when outdoors.
- Limit outdoor activity at dusk and dawn. These hours happen to be the prime feeding time for the blood-sucking mosquito.
- Ditch the perfumes, scented lotions, and shampoos. These happen to be mosquito attractants.
- Eliminate free-standing water. Free-standing water on or near your property gives mosquitoes the perfect place to breed and lay their larvae.
The West Nile Virus
As mentioned before, out of the 35 different species of mosquito that are commonly found in Alaska, only two species actually pose the threat of carrying West Nile Virus.
For those of us living in the lower 48 states, including those of us in Las Vegas, NV, West Nile is much more common. So far in 2013, there have been 296 total West Nile Virus cases resulting in 11 deaths; according to the Center For Disease Control.
West Nile Virus causes illness, inflammation of the brain, or inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.
Author Bio: Heydi Ruelas is a journalism student and blogger for Bulwark Exterminating, an industry leader in providing high quality pest control service. When I’m not playing with my two gorgeous nieces, I’m jamming out to the newest One Direction song.
August 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)