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Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

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Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 18,177
reviews: 38
Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

I know you will all laugh, lol! But I live in the desert and we only have 3 or 4 mosquitoes a year! When I get bit, I have huge allergic reaction, so I am trying to plan an Alaska trip around my bug phobia! Plans right now include 7 day cruise from Vancouver then to Denali, Fairbanks, and then 3 days of fishing before flying home. Total of 2 1/2 weeks.

Will early/mid June be best? I'm a teacher so we can only visit during summer! We want to do some fishing, I would like to catch a salmon, dh wants to get a halibut and the teen just wants to catch something! I don't plan on too many backcountry hikes.

I have head net etc. Deet seems so toxic, but I'm sure needed.

Thanks for any replies...I know silly question of the day!

Manitoba, Canada
posts: 6,895
1. Re: Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

Not a silly question. But the time of year you chose is not what I'd choose.

I've been to Alaska twice, 2 cruises plus landtours, at the end of August/first week of Sept. During that entire time I saw a grand total of one mosquito, at Denali. It became an ex-mosquito before it could bite me.

I'm not saying others weren't around, especially if someone hiked in the bush, but I never once used the bug repellent I'd brought. With that in mind, my suggestion would be to cruise up to Alaska in mid-August and do your landtour the last week of August. Other benefits would be a chance to see Denali's autumn colors starting, and a small chance of seeing the aurora.

However, you say you want to fish for 3 days, so if there is a certain kind of salmon you want, that might affect when you go. Here is some more info on skeeters: http://alaska.org/mosquitoes.jsp

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 18,177
reviews: 38
2. Re: Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

Thanks. We have a choice of early to mid June and early August. I have to be back at work by 3rd week in August!

I have been researching fishing, looks like we can afford 2 days, so just halibut and some kind of salmon, we aren't picky, lol!

Here's my plan so far... We won't be doing any plane tours, just ground based, other that a few days fishing.

Day 1 - 7 Cruise from Vancouver (or Seattle) to Seward area.

Day 8 Anchorage

Day 9 To Denali

Day 10 Denali

Day 11 Fairbanks

Day 12 Far north somewhere.

Day 13 Fairbanks

Day 14 back to Anchorage

Day 15 Fishing somewhere

Day 16 Fishing

Day 17 Anchorage area

Day 18 Depart.

Anchorage Alaska
posts: 663
reviews: 22
3. Re: Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

SUMMER!!!!........there are so many variables to the mosquitoes: Temperature, moisture, how cold the winter was, wind, and it all depends on location. One area may be totally “infected” and a few miles away may be nearly bug free.

After a few warm days there will be mosquitoes even with snow on the ground. The first hatches seem to be the big slower mosquitoes and later hatches seem to be the small fast ones. I prefer the slow big ones, there does not seem to be as many of them, and they are....slow.

As the days cool off in the fall there are less mosquitoes. Then the no-see-ums and white socks come out. They can be worse than the Mosquitoes.

There are all kinds of repellents from Avon Skin So Soft to 100% Deet. There are many with various amounts of Deet. I have battled mosquitoes all over Alaska and have found that products with Deet work the best. Skin So Soft works for some people but I’ve found that it seems to work when the bugs are not too bad. In my experience the worse the bugs the higher Deet you need. There is a newer product (can’t think of the name) that is not as “harsh” as Deet. In my experience it is only slightly better than Skin So Soft.

I would suggest that you start with products that have at least 25% Deet and go up if that doesn’t work well. You can try Skin So Soft but have Deet products with you. Also the higher the Deet the longer it lasts. Some say it should not be used on small children. We use it on our young kids; we used the 15-25% on them and had to reapply more often. As they get older we use higher %. Be careful with Deet and plastic. Deet melts plastic.

What ever chemical you use try a small amount out on the inside of an arm to see if you are sensitive to it before you slather it on.

Some claim that it’s better to wear light colored clothing, I’ve found that when there are mosquitoes it doesn’t seem to matter what color you wear. I’ve had them bite through blue jeans and tan cargo pants. If you get head nets get ones that you will actually wear. There is also clothing that is mosquito resistant. The ones that I've used are infused with Deet and needs to be “re-charged”.

There is a thing call Themacell that is a personel mosquito repellent that a lot of people say works well. I don't have any experience with it. I think it uses batteries and covers a small area.

Slather on what ever product works for you, wear a head net if you want to and get out and have fun!

Anchorage Alaska
posts: 663
reviews: 22
4. Re: Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

For any fishing questions try:

www.alaskaoutdoorsdirectory.com

MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
posts: 13,274
reviews: 24
5. Re: Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

I am not a fisherman so I will leave that to others to recommend.

The one way cruises all depart from Vancouver and end in either Whittier (Carnival and Princess) or Seward (other lines). You arrive in Seward/Whittier on Day 8 for a 7 night cruise. If arriving into Seward, I would at least spend the day in Seward and either take a Kenai Fjords NP boat tour or go to the Sealife Center and Exit Glacier. Then take the 6pm train to Anchorage. Or spend the night in Seward, fish the next day near Seward and take the train on day 9 to Anchorage. Only one train a day that departs at 6pm.

I like two nights in Denali - it is a must.

For your day 12 "far north somewhere" would almost by definition mean a plane. Do you want to go above the Arctic Circle? If so, I suggest the one-day fly/drive combos. Northern Alaska Tour Company is mentioned often on the forum.

You might want to start heading back to Anchorage the day after the Arctic Circle tour and spend a night en route - maybe Talkeetna or Trapper Creek? And spend some time in the Matsu Valley (Independence Mine, Palmer, Eklutna), maybe Eagle River Nature Center. If you drove from Fairbanks to Anchorage all in one day, figure 8 hours though it might be less.

John

Manitoba, Canada
posts: 6,895
6. Re: Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

"Day 12 Far north somewhere."

You said you're not flying, so were you planning to drive yourselves? If so, be aware that most rental companies won't allow you to drive that road. There are a couple of rental companies in Fairbanks where you could rent a car for the day (2 extra tires plus CB equipped in case you have car trouble). Here's one: www.arctic-outfitters.com/auto-rentals.htm

Or you can do a shuttle and let someone else do the driving and fixing of flat tires, lol.

However, my recommendation would be to either do a fly/drive to the Arctic Circle, or better still, fly to Barrow (preferably including an overnight, but at least for the day). If I were going to do a trip "north", that's the one I'd do.

Anchorage Alaska
posts: 663
reviews: 22
7. Re: Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

Depending on what time of the year you end up coming you might try stopping at Eagle Quest Lodge in Willow on your way back to Anchorage from Fairbanks. Ray and Shirley Roth are great hosts and Ray is a fishing guide. It’s worth a phone call or email to them when you have settled on dates.

www.eaglequestalaska.com

Boise, Idaho, U.S.A.
posts: 272
reviews: 4
8. Re: Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

Since my visits to Alaska have not been during the summer, my mosquito advice is not specific to Alaska.

That having been said, besides the DEET to apply to your skin, it may be helpful to pre-treat your clothes with Permanone. Clothes treated with Permanone should be allowed to dry thoroughly before wearing them. It doesn't matter if they get wet while on you, but the solvent needs to evaporate.

haines, alaska
Destination Expert
for Haines
posts: 6,897
reviews: 28
9. Re: Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

CasaAzul

If you bump your trip back to August you would have good fishing in Valdez, check out your map, you could come back down to GlenAllen from Fairbanks (see new scenery and not have to backtrack to Anchorage) then drop down to Valdez to spend a few days.....We had a very successful halibut fishing trip there one August and the salmon were thick with people shore fishing.....Valdez has absolutely gorgeous scenery, it will be hard to keep your mind on fishing !!

www.valdezalaska.org/activities/fishing.html

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 18,177
reviews: 38
10. Re: Silly question of the day..when is peak mosquito season...

Thanks everyone for the tips and advice. I'm still planning and most likely we are looking at a summer 2010 trip as this summer is filling up with family reunions and other trips!

I'll keep on planning will have many more questions I'm sure.