Anchorage residents make run on mosquito products

ANCHORAGE — Residents of Alaska’s largest city are making a run on products to keep the high number of mosquitoes in the area at bay.

Hardware and discount stores across Anchorage have run low on — or out of — bug zappers, citronella candles, yard torches and other products designed to keep mosquitoes away, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

“I had 12 running feet (of shelving) with mosquito products. It’s all bare,” said Tim Craig, owner of Anchorage True Value Hardware in the Sand Lake and Jewel Lake neighborhood.

Different stores gave different estimates for when new supplies would arrive — anywhere from the end of June to September.

Janice Chumley, integrated pest management technician at the Kenai Peninsula District office of Cooperative Extension Service, said mosquito populations have been fairly high. South-central Alaska had a wet fall, followed by snow that insulated the ground before it could freeze very deep. Chumley said that provided the perfect overwintering blanket for insects.

Cool weather this spring delayed the hatchout, Chumley said. “But the minute it warmed up, all of those successfully overwintering sites produced clouds of mosquitoes,” she said, adding that the same conditions also helped give rise to healthy populations of other bugs.

Gary Bucy, owner of Alaska Housewares Inc., said Mosquito Magnets, which his company distributes in the state, should be in stores no later than the middle of next week. Mosquito Magnets use propane and a chemical scent to lure mosquitoes to a low-pressure vacuum that sucks them into a net container where they die.

Bucy, a lifelong Alaskan, didn’t think this year’s mosquitoes were unusual.

“It’s just that, after last year, when we didn’t have many, with the sudden warm weather it’s a little more intense,” he said.

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