Dealing with bugs in Alaska

Bugs – Mosquitoes Can Be Intense in Alaska

In Alaska, mosquito levels can vary quite a bit from day to day and location to location. If you are visiting Alaska between May and August make sure you’re prepared to deal with bugs while camping. The only way to avoid all mosquitoes on your trip to Alaska is to visit in the winter!

  • In May you can often beat the bugs (though not always).
  • In June and July the mosquitos will be bad.
  • August can be bad, sometimes just moderately bad, sometimes not bad at all.
  • September rarely has many bugs, if any.

We recommend having full rain gear not just for rain but also for bug protection. Also have a hat with a brim so you can wear a headnet. Long, lightweight pants and a loose fitting long sleeve shirt will protect you from bugs on hot days. Another good tip is to try to set up camp in a dry location with dry ground surrounding it.

Bug Spray helps, but being able to cover your skin is more important to keeping your sanity around bugs.

When determining how to deal with mosquitoes, an obvious solution is to spray bug spray all over your body. There will be plenty of people who disagree with this, but you have to use deet (yes, the evil chemical stuff). There just isn’t a more natural alternative that works when the bugs are really bad. It needs to be at least 30%, which is what we carry.

Deet is a harsh chemical so it’s important to wash it off with wet wipes. Also, try not to put it on your face or hands (sometimes you have to put it on the back of your hands if bugs are really bad, but not on palms). The truth about bug spray is that it isn’t fool proof and it also doesn’t stop bugs from swarming around you. Use the bug spray mostly around places that aren’t as well covered by other clothes or they tend to get through (back of shoulders, neck, ankles).

What you are wearing is way more important than bug spray when mosquitoes are really swarming.

  • A hat with a brim (so that you can easily put a head net over it)
  • A long sleeved shirt: You can also get it treated with insecticide, which is more expensive but probably a good idea. You can actually use any loose fitting button up shirt. It’s important for the shirt to not be too tight fitting, since unfortunately bugs can bite through tight fitting clothing!
  • Long pants. Duh.
  • Bring your rain gear, and put it on if bugs are bad. I know this sounds bizarre, especially when it’s hot in the summer. Rain gear can make a world of difference if you’re sitting around in bad bugs. If you’re sitting around, it’s not so bad to have an extra layer on and rain gear is absolutely the MOST effective way to prevent getting bitten.
  • Carry a headnet it your pack. It might look ridiculous and seem silly, but let me tell you, it is an absolute lifesaver if the bugs get really bad. On top of that, it weighs almost nothing, fits in the bottom of your pack and costs less than $10. If you have rain gear on and a hat and headnet, there is no way you’re going to get bitten.
  • If you’re camping with bad mosquitoes, use earplugs to cut back on the buzzing noise, which can drive you crazy at night! This is really only an issue if you’re sleeping in a tent with bad mosquitoes.