These Alaskan mosquitoeswere caught by a mosquito magnet

Simple Items Make A Difference

You'll find that relatively simple steps can take mosquitoes from unbearable to simply annoying. One good thing is that mosquito season in Alaska is pretty short. On the other hand, white sox appear as soon as mosquitoes start to die off.

smallcheckboxredbrown Bug Repellent
Bug repellent has gotten better in recent years. It can last six or seven hours, but you'll find it doesn't last as long when you are sweating while hiking. Some effective repellents contain "deet", which should be used with caution on children, and should be avoided altogether with very young children. From our practical experience, repellents without deet can work well. But when mosquitoes get out of control, you'll appreciate stronger measures. Our advice is to bring along several kinds of repellent and see which works best for you. Use as little as possible.

smallcheckboxredbrown A Hat or Hood on Your Jacket
Bring along a good hat with a brim, that will help hold your head net away from your face.

smallcheckboxredbrown A Head Net
Head nets get in the way of binoculars and cameras and can be hot when you're hiking. But when you find yourself being driven crazy, get your head net out and wear it. They are especially helpful with white sox, which like to bite around your ears and eyes.

smallcheckboxredbrown Long Socks for White Sox
High fashion goes out the window when it comes to bugs. You'll find yourself pulling your tall socks over your pant legs on the outside. White sox (a little fly-like bug), in particular, like to bite ankles, right where your socks end. They also bite just under your sleeve cuff at your wrist. Use repellent on your ears, wrists, waist and ankles.

smallcheckboxredbrown Special "Bug" Clothing
Bug clothing ranges from jackets to shirts to pants and gaiters. Some is made from mosquito netting and some is regular fabric with repellent in it.

smallcheckboxredbrown Mosquito Coils
These coils are made from pyrethrum powder. Pyrethrum is a biodegradable natural insecticide made of chrysanthemums. Alaskans rely on coils in the summer. They are sold in little boxes, in stores across Alaska. Two coils come entwined together and you have to separate them. You put a coil or the pieces of one (if you broke it trying to get the coils untangled) on a little metal stand and light it. The smoke is extremely effective at killing mosquitoes and keeping them at bay. Normally, Alaskans put them in open doorways during the day. If you want to clear your RV of mosquitoes, start a coil going in your RV and take a walk. You don't want to be inside with one that is burning. The smoke can give you quite a headache.

smallcheckboxredbrown Windy Hillsides
When you stop for lunch or to set up your tent, "choose wisely," as Yoda would say. Even on a rainy day, stopping in a low brushy area will be uncomfortably buggy. Wind is your friend in mosquito country.

smallcheckboxredbrown A Smokey Fire or a Citronella Candle
Thoreau recounts a story of a a trip with Maine guide on which the bugs got so bad they ended up sticking their heads in the smoke from their campfire. A less drastic approach many people use is a citronella candle. They aren't as effective as mosquito coils, but they smell better. Again, as with mosquito coils, this is for outdoor use. You'll find people put them on their picnic tables while they eat supper.

smallcheckboxredbrown Ointment
If you aren't used to mosquito bites you may find you get big red dots and start to itch where they bit you. Bring along something like an Aloe Vera gel or skin care ointment. After a few days, most people stop experiencing swelling and after a few weeks we barely notice the bites.

smallcheckboxredbrown Mosquito Magnets
You'll see this relatively new invention in Alaskan's yards and around hotel properties. This propane-driven device gives off carbon dioxide which attracts mosquitoes. (Bugs think the warm carbon dioxide is given off by a breathing animal, and head straight for it.) Once mosquitoes approach the mosquito magnet, a small fan sucks them into a net, where they meet their end. See the picture at the top of the page.

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Yikes. Don't let bugs ruin your trip!