Alaska Mosquitoes: You Think Your Summer Is Bad?

Patricia Didelot - Author

Jul. 30 2013, Updated 4:26 p.m. ET

If you think your mosquito situation is bad this summer, think again. In the Alaskan North Slope it’s almost impossible to be outside.

There is an ongoing joke that the mosquito is Alaska’s state bird, because of how annoying the blood sucking insects get in the summer, making it almost impossible to enjoy the outdoors.

Hikers are known to use branches from trees to swat them away while they do their daily routines. To prove just that point researchers Jesse Krause and Shannan Sweet posted a video and photos on Krause’s Facebook page.

The photos are shocking as they show a blanket of the insects all over while the pair worked at the Toolik Field Station on the North Slope.

“The whole horizon is nothing but mosquitoes,” Sweet says on the video.

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Krause is a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Davis and has spent the last four summers working at the Toolik Field Station, studying climate change in the Arctic and how the changing spring will affect migrating birds to the North Slope.

“Most researchers know what they’re getting into when they arrive at Toolik, but occasionally some people can’t handle the bugs, Krause told the Alaska Dispatch on a Sunday piece. “If mosquito bites cause you to swell up for days on end, Toolik probably isn’t the place for you. You better know whether or not you’re going to have that reaction before you go to Alaska.”

“The first couple days, the first bites swell up. If you’re getting bit a lot, you react less,” he said.

The researchers wear protective gear and mesh coverings for their faces, on top of plenty of insect repellent. Those who are unaware, however, can get into trouble is they happen to get a flat tire while traveling through the area.

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