Alaska's King

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Location: Alaska, United States

Welcome from the King of Alaska.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Alaska weather creates ideal conditions for mosquitoes

If you're visiting Alaska for the first time, you may think that we have a lot of bugs. And you would be right. If you've lived here for only a few years, you may be thinking that there are a lot more mosquitoes, gnats, wasps, and other bugs this year compared to previous years. Again, you would be correct.

But the fact is, there really is not an unusual number of flying, biting bugs this year. It's just that we got used to having it good.

The past few years were unusually dry and hot, and the snow cover, which mosquitoes use to survive the winter, was not sufficient to protect them. Because the summers were dry, there were fewer places for them to breed.

This past winter, we had a more normal snow cover, and that was followed by a wetter, cooler spring.

Among the upsides, the salmon, trout, and other fish, as well as some birds, will be fatter and larger than in those previous years. So get some bug dope, a head net, some fishing gear, and a license (of course), and make the best of it.

The other good news is that, so far, Alaska has not had any cases of West Nile Virus, Malaria, or Yellow Fever, all increasingly common mosquito-borne diseases. Also, we haven't had any scorpions, ticks, or snakes for a very long time.

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