Alaska Mosquito and Mosquitoes

Alaska Mosquito – Mosquitoes guide myths and facts

The Mosquito is Alaska’s Unofficial State Bird

The Alaska mosquito population is the stuff of legend. There are 35 species of Alaska mosquito. All but a few of these will feed on humans. Mosquitoes are by far the most prevalent bugs, which is why they remain lord of the flies. Every year, they congregate in hordes that are thickest from the Yukon River north to the Arctic Ocean and torment the Caribou and humans relentlessly. There are “safe” times in Alaska if you just don’t want to fight the mosquitoes. That’s before about the 20th of June and after the end of July. They really “bloom” then but that’s the only bad time. There are white socks and no-see-ums too, and they can be bad in some places.

Alaska Mosquito

West Nile Virus:

Only two of the state’s 35 species of Alaska mosquito have been found to carry the virus in the Lower 48. Chances of the virus taking hold in Alaska are slim, according to wildlife veterinarian Kimberlee Beckmen and Jim Kruse, an insect expert at the University of Alaska Museum. Birds carry the virus, and mosquitoes spread the virus by biting infected birds and injecting it into other birds, people or horses. Alaska has natural limitations for the spread of the virus. The scientists at the CDC agree that it’s a long shot for the West Nile Virus to establish itself in Alaska. The disease has not made it to higher latitudes of Europe and the two mosquito species that have transmitted the virus most often in the Lower 48 don’t live in Alaska. “Until we start getting dead birds up here, there’s no reason to worry,” Kruse said.


Northern Alaska Mosquito:

Mosquitoes are more than a nuisance in the summer in northern Alaska; they are a genuine problem. Be vigilant. Keep your windows rolled up, enter and exit the vehicle quickly and close the doors, or dozens of the little devils will enter in a minute. Don’t park near water for picnics or overnight, if possible. Beware of walking into the shade. Mosquitoes love the shade. Buy high-quality bug repellent and purchase mosquito coils, available in most general merchandise stores in Alaska. Burn a coil for 20 minutes while you are out of the vehicle; that will kill the mosquitoes. It doesn’t smell too good, though. Don’t become a mosquito dinette: wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants.

Alaska Mosquito Tips:

If you do find yourself in a heavy congregation (mosquitoes seem to be most active at dawn and twilight), there are easy steps you can take to block out the nuisance: Try to expose as little skin as possible. Wear shoes, long sleeves, and long pants with the cuffs tucked into socks.

  • Tight-weave cotton shirts and pants work better than more porous synthetics
  • Wear khaki or neutral colors. mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, especially blue
  • Don’t use scented soaps, lotions, or shampoos
  • If you’re taking a multi-day backpacking or float trip, bring a headnet for backup
  • Use repellent

Alaska Mosquito Repellent:

No question, DEET is the most effective method of combating the Alaska Mosquito. You’ll always want at least 20 – 30% DEET in your repellent. If you’re in a heavy bug territory, 95% (or 99%) DEET completely protects you. The bugs will come near, then fly away-as if you’re protected by an invisible shield.
DEET doesn’t smell obnoxious, but it’s a strong chemical (you can sometimes taste it in your mouth from being absorbed through the skin) so only apply it directly on the skin of your face, hair, neck, and hands. For the rest of your body, rub it on your clothes. And never use 95% or more DEET on small children.

When using DEET:

Follow the product directions-it WILL melt certain camera cases and jacket fabrics!
If used with a sunscreen, apply the repellent 30 minutes to one hour after the sunscreen.
Never use it on wounds or irritated skin (it stings and gets absorbed)

Wash it off as soon as you’re out of Alaska Mosquito land.


  1. M of London Ontario

    I will be cruising the Inside Passage June 5 and then spending 1 week in Alaska sightseeing tour … how bad will they be ???

    1. Dennis

      It’s not like you have to wear a headnet around in town. If you go out into the forest farther north they can get thick. On a trip through Southeast Alaska you won’t even remember there were bugs.

        1. Dennis

          You’ll be here at the peak of the mosquito season. Make sure your will is up to date! Just kidding. It depends where you go. Along the rivers at sundown seem to be the worst. I you walk around in the forest on a day the wind isn’t blowing, then you’ll really notice them. Get some bug spray when you get here. You don’t really need it for walking around town anywhere.

  2. Cheresse

    I plan on flying my cub to Nome and Kotzebue in late June. I’m guessing mosquitoes will be a problem, but will there be wind in the afternoon to help clear them out?

  3. Kate

    Ill be in Alaska mid June -July. I guess mosquitoes aren’t dangerous in Alaska in general? Like South east asia for example?


  4. Ladybird

    Will be in homer end after July 20 for about two weeks. How bad will the no seeums and mosquitos be? I attract them like no other ugh

  5. Budd

    Dennis – not a mosquito question but sounds like you know what you’re talking about. Looking to visit Denali, Fairbanks, and Seward. Either mid-August or early September. Any difference in the weather patterns (rain). Does Seward really get over 10 inches of rain in September? Thank you!

    1. Dennis

      I ALWAYS tell people that on August 15th everything changes here in Anchorage. Just like clockwork this year there was snow on the Anchorage mountain tops the morning of the 16th for the first time this fall. The wind starts blowing, the temperature drops and you can smell the fall leaves in the air around the 15th. It also usually starts raining steadily in mid-August everywhere from Seward on north to Fairbanks. 10 inches in Seward in September? Who knows what it’ll be next year but yes it can easily get 10 inches. It rains something like 70 inches a year there. Not much in May through July but September certainly is duck weather.

  6. Laura

    We were thinking the end of May first of June 2018 might be a good time to come and miss the mosquitos. If not, can you suggest a good or better time.

    1. Dennis

      I’d never tell anyone not to come to Alaska at a certain time of year. In Anchorage, the end of May and first of June is the high season for mosquitoes. BUT, I live in Anchorage and was outside all day every weekend in May and June and only got one tiny mosquito bite this entire year. I was on the water, in the forests, and all over town without bug spray on. Don’t worry about them.

  7. Jeanne

    I’m thinking of doing a 30-day NOLS course from JULY 18 – AUG. 16, 2018 where I’ll be kayaking on the Prince William Sound and backpacking in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the Talkeetna Mountains, or the Kenai Mountains. I’m really prone to mosquito bites and am a little worried about this ruining my trip. We’ll be completely in the backcountry for the majority of the 30-days. Should I be concerned the mosquitos will hamper my experience?

    1. Dennis

      Depends on the weather. This year I got one single mosquito bite. I traveled all over from Cordova to Ketchikan to Juneau and back. In my 27+ years here I’ve never heard of anyone’s trip ruined by mosquitoes. After the first of July there are a lot less of them anyways. The Talkeetna mountains is the only place they may be thick. Buy a net for your face and some light gloves if you’re worried about it.

  8. Cynthia MacDonald

    We’re looking to go up to Coldfoot and Deadhorse in the 3rd week in May. What will the mosquitoes be like at that time?


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