A 'Legendary' Outbreak Of Mosquitoes Has Taken Over The Alaskan Arctic Tundra

Columbia graduate student Shannan Sweet posted this YouTube video of the insane swarms of mosquitoes that have overwhelmed researchers on the Arctic Tundra

Sweet herself has been studying the plants of the tundra in Alaska for the last three years, and is careful to tell us that she doesn’t study mosquitoes. But, she says, “people who have been in that area for longer than me said it was the worst they had seen it.”

University of Alaska entomologist Derek Sikes told the Alaska Dispatch that no one is monitoring the mosquito population in the state, so no one has specific numbers for how bad this outbreak is. 

The Alaska Dispatch agrees that it’s quite nasty, though:

Alaska’s blood-hungry mosquito hordes are nastier than they’ve been in years, and they show no signs of letting up. In fact, the swarming predators seem to be growing in number…

In her email to Business Insider, Sweet suggested some reasons why this is a particularly bad summer:

  1. The summer of 2012 (especially July) was extremely wet (i.e. there was A LOT of rain).
  2. There was an unusually large amount of snow this winter/spring … more than anyone I know had ever seen, and it just kept snowing into June, which meant a very late spring melt, and a late emergence of mosquitoes.  So, when they did come out, they came out in full force.
  3. After the snow did finally melt, and temperatures went above freezing, it got really HOT.  Record breaking temperatures (reaching nearly 90 degrees F, which is pretty extreme for the arctic tundra).

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