The Alaskan tundra evokes images of snowy stillness. Miles of cold-induced serenity. Turns out, in the summer it’s the exact opposite. In the warmer months, Alaska is swarmed by their unofficial state bird: the bloodsucking mosquito. In the video above, researchers Jesse Krause and Shannon Sweet are swarmed by mosquitos while researching bird migrations. Krause and Sweet are veterans of the mosquito swarms, and worked up a figurative, and perhaps literal thick skin toward the bugs:
“The first year you definitely notice it,” Krause said about the endless drone of the mosquitos. “Then you get used to all the buzzing around your head.”
Krause and Sweet are fully covered, wear beekeeper masks and spray themselves with repellant, but they get stung. They get stung a lot.
“The first couple days, the first bites swell up. If you’re getting bit a lot, you react less,” he said.
A photo taken by Krause shows his leg dotted with hundreds of mosquitoes. Krause and Sweet don’t seem to mind the biblical plague, though they also added that this year has been the worst yet. The other researchers who work on the Alaskan tundra are similarly prepared. It’s the random bystanders who can really fall into a nightmare scenario. Tourists who get a flat tire will have to endure 40 minutes of stings before they are back on the road.
“It won’t kill them,” Mike Gables told GrindTV. He meant that literally. These mosquitoes aren’t deadly. They are just the most annoying plague imaginable.