Q. Why are mosquitoes so big in Alaska? -Linda

A. Well, they have to be big to be known as the state bird! Not really, the willow ptarmigan is our state bird. Some people claim our mosquitoes are twin engined, but I’ve not seen one with twin engines.

The bad news is that we have between 25 and 40 species of the little devils. Both male and female feed on plant sugars, but only the females feed on blood. They need it to produce eggs, to hatch out and devil us all over again!

The good news is that there are no diseases carried by mosquitoes up here. We have never recorded a single case of west Nile virus, for instance. So although you might lose a little blood in our fair State, you will never be ill, or lose your life from them.

Believe it or not, they do serve a purpose. They are part of the necessary food chain. Baby salmon depend on them for food, as do birds and other larger insects, but I can’t help wishing they didn’t have those stingers!

Dragonflies are a natural solution to them. Sometimes we buy dragonfly egg cases from a catalog, in the spring, placing them in tubs of water til they hatch. Those years are darned near mosquito free. One dragonfly can eat a couple thousand mosquitoes an hour! Or was it a day? Well, whatever, they love those mosquitoes!

One year will differ greatly from another in mosquitoe woes. Some year we hardly have any and other years they are a menace. Best thing to do is carry a long sleeved shirt, and a can of repellent, and go ahead and have fun. Life’s wonders are always balanced out by its woes, but it is still a good world I think. Hope this helps. -Bonnie

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