Mosquito populations are way up in Southcentral Alaska this year. Extremely high numbers are also reported from interior Alaska.
Observation: Mosquito populations are way up in Southcentral Alaska this year. Extremely high numbers are also reported from interior Alaska. Several factors have contributed to the high numbers. Abnormally high precipitation last fall followed by insulating snow created ideal conditions for over wintering. Nearly double the amount of precipitation in April and May also favored high mosquito numbers. Thirty five species of mosquitos have been identified in Alaska. Some of the impacts of this infestation are obvious, others not so much. The nuisance factor is most obvious but increases in blood sucking and biting insect populations have other affects also. A feasting mosquito comes away with about a fifth of a drop of blood. Multiply this times thousands and you can appreciate the effect this can have on birds and animals that don’t have the luxury of buying deet at Fred Meyer. This can be a real stress on birds and animals. Mosquitos also transmit diseases. Avian malaria, a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitos, has now been found in Alaska. Other viruses that can cause encephalitis are also carried by Alaska mosquitoes. High numbers of mosquitoes can result in a greater prevalence of these diseases. Some mosquito – borne diseases can also be transmitted to humans. The most common of these in North America is West Nile virus. A decade ago it had spread as far north as Southern Canada but has not moved farther. Mike Bradley
Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit – Systematic Catalog of Culicidae - mosquito (Anopheles earlei) "larvae are found in cold, clear water at the margins ponds and pools containing emergent and floating vegetation. They are also found in woodland pools, bogs, marshes and along sluggish streams. Females are dusk- and early-evening biters and will enter houses to bite. The vector status of this species is unknown." This link is a How to use this catalog that provides many options for accessing the mosquito systematic data. (Thomas V., et.al.)