Given a choice between skeeters and black flies, I’ll stick with the skeeters.
The good news is that mosquitoes in Alaska are big enough that you can feel them land on you, so if you pay attention you might not get bit all that much.
Downside is you’ll still be annoyed by them, because they’re pretty much omnipresent once you get out of population centers.
Here’s another “scientific” examination of “How a Mosquito Operates” from the great illustrator and pioneer animator Winsor McCay:
You mean these bastards?
To answer the question: Yes, I am willing to take the risk of making mosquitoes extinct. Now get on it, science.
Mosquitoes hover until they find a likely spot, land, sink a fairly painless drilling rig, and leave you itching.
Black flies land, WALK until they find a likely spot, CHEW, and leave you bleeding. Much more annoying.
And it seems I’m mildly allergic to the bastards. (Some folks that weekend had it far worse than I.)
Mosquitoes give you a dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t scenario though. If you see one on you and slap it, chances are you’re going to break off its mouthparts inside your skin. This makes for an especially itchy and sore experience compared to just letting it finish feeding and pull out normally.
I live in the Northwest Territories (Canada), and I believe in cariboo asphyxiating mosquitos. We get the big mosquitos in the early spring followed by absolutely insane numbers of smaller mosquitos in the early summer. If you were in the bush with no bug spray or netting it would be absolutely unbearable. I’ve lived in Southern Canada, I’ve lived in India, and I’ve never seen mosquitos like this.
And if you went to UAF you’d know that they freeze in the fall and emerge from the snow in the melt in spring, ready to get you. Mosquitoes will also trouble the caribou to drive them into the ocean to escape. Thank you Prof. Cole. In SE we have white socks which are not mosquitoes (nor black flies) but whose bite are worse, often made people ill with flu like symptoms with the first bite in the spring and crawl under clothes to get to your tender parts. No, they are not ticks, you’d have found those embedded.
Ivermectin bitches. Make biting insects pay with their lives.
I used to work in the woods of Northern Alberta and BC and the bugs are ridiculous. After a few years I learned to ignore them - just put them somewhere else in my head that didn’t bother me. Eventually the bites stopped being itchy as well.
It’s now been over 12 years since I quit that job, and the little bastards bug me again. Not as much as my blithely oblivious west coast family (who do not know bugs where we live), but my defenses are down.
Metis Voyageurs smeared meat fat (bacon grease most commonly) on exposed parts too prevent bites from any flying insect. Not socially appealing although effective.
Perhaps these things would be a better use of NORAD air defense resources, now that the cold war has wound down…
Although I hate mosquitoes, they’re a huge part of the food chain, both in larval form and adult form. Fish, frogs and other animals feed on them, some almost exclusively, birds and bats eat many of them, and it’s a huge part of a dragonfly’s life, they feed on them both as larvae and in adult form… and I doubt I’ve covered all the animals that use them as food.
That said, I’ve seen many, in many places… but the worst were the monsters in Banff, denim jeans were not an effective defense, and slapping them as hard as you could only stunned them for a few minutes. We met them on a trip around the NA continent, where we also ran into a strangely empty campsite right on the edge of a lake somewhere in the midwest. We understood why it was empty a few minutes later, there was a huge oak tree by the edge of the lake, one of very few around, we had just hopped out of the van when someone noticed that the tree seemed to be steaming or smoking… a few seconds later we realized it was a gigantic cloud of mosquitoes, and we managed to get back into the van. We spent a half hour killing the ones that got inside as we drove off, I could imagine a cloud like that filling your lungs if you dared to open your mouth.
The video lost a lot of scientific cred when the narrator said that mosquito saliva “acts like an antiseptic” rather than what would have been in correct given the context: “acts like an anesthetic”.
I’m with you, I’ll take skeeters over black flies or midges any day. Though, I am one of the lucky few who doesn’t get welts from any of the above, I have spent too much time with wailing welt-covered children. It’s the sheer mass of midges that’ll drive you round the bend.
“Midgewater! There are more midges than water!”
“What do they eat when they can’t get hobbit?”
Yeah me too! Hell, if mosquito saliva were an antiseptic, perhaps fewer people would die from mosquito borne diseases?
I thought it was odd there was no mention of how sucking blood is not actually the primary way of eating. Only the females suck blood, and they do it primarily for reproductive purposes. I also think it’s a bit arrogant to think we could simply just wipe out mosquitoes like less well adapted species. I imagine there would need to be more collateral eco-damage than just the need for replacement species. I’m more surprised that we don’t try and breed or engineer mosquitoes that don’t suck blood in an attempt to breed out the undesirables.