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What’s with all the Skeeters?!

Has anybody else being driven crazy by all the mosquitoes in Duluth the past week?! Seriously, it’s like Alaska out there. I can’t work in the yard without getting drained. I can’t ever remember it being this bad. Theories? (Sustained west winds? Moth spraying killed all the dragonflies? Hurricane Irene sucking them all down from northern Canada?)

53 Comment(s)

  1. WOW--I agree!! I finally bought some DEET repellant--was trying to use herbal--a total joke!!! I think they liked it…I heard it was due to recent rain—and it was such a nice mosquito-free summer til now. At least the mosquito-eating birds should be happy. (My poor cats go out on their harnesses and get attacked on their ears and noses.) (and--to the bird people — they never kill or even catch a bird!)

    francenestarr | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  2. I went outside the other night for about 5 minutes, and when I came back in, I had no less than 5 mosquito bites. I have no reason why they’re so thick, but I totally agree with you.

    Tom | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  3. I usually don’t get a lot of their attention — I guess I just taste too sour — but these little ones we have around are both vicious and voracious. All three kids are one big mosquito bite from the knees down to their feet. and they itch to beat hell. Sage leaves usually work well to repel the little biters but nothing but DEET seems to keep the little vampires away.

    On a related note, Walgreens on Superior Street is currently out of Benadryl, Bactine, calamine lotion, and practically anything related to itch relief.

    If you’re having trouble beating the itch, I’d suggest Aveeno (or any other brand name) oatmeal bath, and maybe witch hazel to help dry the bites out and cut down on the itch.

    zra | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  4. Local naturalist Larry Weber said on his weekly KUMD Backyard Almanac report that we usually get a sort of change in “strain” of mosquito over the course of the summer, these ones being particular small and aggressive. He said higher than average temps and rainfall this August are the main reasons we are noticing their abundance. They do seem epic right now.

    Laura | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  5. I’ve noticed it too.

    I can also debunk the idea that there are fewer dragonflies. Right now there are hundreds of them on our street. It’s hard to walk 20 feet without getting clocked in the head by one.

    Barrett Chase | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  6. If somebody showed up at my house offering to unload a B-52 full of DDT over our yard, I would pay for the privilege right now.

    Zra--my wife also commented on Walgreens being ransacked--this after Thursday night, when both our 5 year-old and I drove her crazy after waking up in the middle of the night having been savaged by mosquitos that wormed their way through the gaps in our stupid old-school screens.

    The Big E | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  7. They’re horrible! I’m usually the mosquito’s favorite prey, but they’re just horrible! I let the dog out the other night, was ransacked by mosquitos and covered in 15-20 bites.

    Bad Cat! | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  8. They also seem to have a different bite, not only am I vaguely resistant to their attention but the bites didn’t well up like these fuckers. Good to see everything confirmed at least, smaller, more vicious and nastier bite.. whew, glad these weren’t out earlier this summer and I hope like hell they go away soon.

    edgeways | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  9. I think someone accidentally replaced the Duluth-area aerial mosquito spray with some kind of über mosquito mutagen. And they’re everywhere.

    adam | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  10. Yeah. At the preschool where I work, we spent most of past week indoors. Most of the parents thought there had been a chicken pox outbreak. I broke down and actually entered the (shudder) Hermantown WalMart and found some benadryl extra strength cream and some bug spray, which is already almost gone. I’ve been spraying the doors around my house because they keep getting in when I let the dog out. It’s like a mosquitapocalypse.

    EvilResident | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  11. We were up the shore this weekend and really had no mosquitos. But lots of dragonflies Friday night. That was cool.
    Got back to Duluth and got chewed up again tonight. I was in the yard less than 30 seconds and looked down and there were 20-30 swarming around each ankle. They love me.

    brian | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  12. Asian tiger mosquitoes.

    Frank Nichols | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  13. I’ve been back in town 72 hours and my legs and feet are covered. They’re *everywhere* too, from Lakeside to Upper Woodland.

    Claire | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  14. Yeah, this is ridiculous. I don’t remember them ever being as bad as this while camping at the lake. You cannot stand still for even 10 seconds and your bombarded.

    rsoderlund | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  15. Best mosquito repellant: A good cigar.

    Slingfade | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  16. And I thought is was only on my street from my cesspool pond in the front yard. I’m kinda relieved to know it’s everywhere. I had mosquito dunks in there even.

    thedoog | Aug 28, 2011 | New Comment
  17. I currently have 29 bites on my feet and ankles; my dog has about as many on her too. I spent all weekend smashing these vampire bastards to death on our floors and walls. They leave these disgusting blood bombs when you smash them, worse than I’ve ever seen.

    Disgusting.

    emmadogs | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  18. My sister is allergic to mosquito bites (yup, you heard right, one bite swells up like she’s been hit by a line drive) and has a great home remedy that brings her tremendous relief: hot water. She soaks a washcloth with hot water and holds it on the bite; repeat a couple times as the cloth cools and both the swelling and itch disappear. My wife tried this a couple nights ago after suffering at least fifty bites while watering some outside plants for friends and it worked like magic. Next morning, no sign of having ever been bitten. Go figure.

    Dave P | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  19. It’s bad. I’ve never in my life had so many mosquito bites. The only thing that relieved the itch was tiger balm, and then I finally gave in and bought Cortizone. I think it’s due to our unusually humid and warm summer. I will concur with Barrett that there is no shortage of dragonflies, and I pay pretty close attention to that. In fact, I’d say I’ve noticed *more* of the white-faced meadowhawks in my yard this year than prior years.

    hbh1 | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  20. I’m pretty sure someone in the troll zone or Area Voices referred to these as Chicago mosquitoes who came here to take advantage of our generous welfare benefits.

    TimK | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  21. Actually these do look like the mosquitoes I recently saw in Detroit! Smaller than the usual Duluth crew.

    Now that you mention it, they function a lot like the awesome people moving here, increasing Duluth’s diversity while enjoying those delicious free checks.

    mildred | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  22. Wet weather = more standing pools of water = more areas for Mosquitos to breed = more Mosquitos.

    Question | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  23. I gotta say, everyone is talking about the wet weather this summer; am I missing something? Seems to me that other one or two big gully-washers it has been pretty dry for the last month. We’ve had to water the garden and the outdoor plants regularly all month. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention.

    Dave P | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  24. “They’re *everywhere* too, from Lakeside to Upper Woodland.”

    That’s like saying, “All over the nation, from Wisconsin to Minnesota.”

    Offended in Smithville | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  25. TimK- LOL!!!

    Try Benadryl cream for the bites -- works for me.

    Bad Cat! | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  26. Nah, I’m sure they’re in the U.P., too.

    adam | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  27. Sorry to have offended, Smithville, but I was especially bitten in Lakeside and in Upper Woodland this weekend. Bitten in Chester too, but not as bad.

    And TimK, LMAO, that was good!

    Claire | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  28. Attention to everybody who orders pizza delivery! Yes, the mosquitoes are terrible! Please keep this in mind before deciding to wait an extra 5 minutes to answer your door (or your phone). It would be most appreciated!

    Regards,
    Your mosquito-bitten pizza guy

    Codie | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  29. We’ve had more than 5 inches of rain this month, and average is close to 3. I guess mosquitoes don’t mind that half of it came in one storm. I’m pretty sure in past Augusts I’ve noticed more of a drought when the lawn doesn’t have to be mowed for a couple weeks.

    Laura | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  30. Eat more garlic and less bananas. Takes a couple days to secrete the natural repellants out of the pores of your skin.

    woodtick | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  31. OMG — skeeters greatly lessened today in Lakeside — awesome!!! Funny how this makes such a difference to us — how do animals stand it?

    francenestarr | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  32. What’s the temperature threshold to finally get rid of them? Does it have to freeze?

    jessige | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  33. “Nah, I’m sure they’re in the U.P., too.”

    Was in the UP last week, the biters where actually not too bad, about average.

    edgeways | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  34. Does anyone know if the twin cities are equally infested? I’m going to see Boiled in Lead this Saturday and don’t want to spend the concert slapping myself.

    Bad Cat! | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  35. It’s been much drier down south. I wouldn’t worry about your concert.

    spy1 | Aug 29, 2011 | New Comment
  36. In the past week I’ve been to Grand Marais, Minneapolis and Tower. Mosquitoes hardly seemed to exist.

    Last night I went for a short walk in West Duluth and gathered between 10 and 20 bites. Duluth seems to be Ground Zero.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  37. Could be worse… at least the bites covering my ankles aren’t bedbug bites. I have to say, though, that “Off!” stuff doesn’t really work, does it?

    Claire | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  38. My partner’s father (who was a hardcore backwater actic canoer, frequent BWCA camper, and ex-DNR) said these mosquitoes are some of the worst he’s ever seen.

    Bad Cat! | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  39. You need to use the Deep Woods Off (the normal stuff doesn’t cut it anymore). When they are as bad as these, I just look for the spray containing the highest amount of DEET. Sure, I may have cancer in a few years, but at least I’m not clawing my skin off!

    Bad Cat! | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  40. We hiked on the SHT near Spirit Mountain yesterday afternoon and there were clouds of these things, even though it was the middle of the day.

    Deep Woods Off does work. I’ve never encountered a home remedy that’s done any good, though.

    Barrett Chase | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  41. Thanks for the tip about Deep Woods Off!, Barrett and Bad Cat! OK, could be worse … remember army worms?

    Claire | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  42. Lay off the poison folks, it’s not needed. That nasty crap will melt your plastic glass lenses, take the paint off stuff, etc. Hmmm -- wonder what it does to your skin? Do the garlic. Daily. Don’t shower so much either (if you don’t have to) and let those big B vitamins do their thing! B6 and B12 etc., which are part of the garlic composite are the ticket.

    woodtick | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  43. Regarding Claire’s army worm comment, I did see a few very fat forest tent caterpillars in Grand Marais last week. I haven’t seen any in Duluth, but that invasion is coming soon. I think next summer or the summer after.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  44. New York Times: “Garlic, perhaps because of its strong odor, has long been said to be that magic food. But studies so far have found that claim to be little more than wishful thinking. Eating it may repel other humans, but apparently not mosquitoes.”

    Barrett Chase | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  45. I should add that I actually do eat large amounts of garlic every day, simply because I really like garlic. I’ve never noticed any effect on mosquitoes at all.

    Your experience may differ, but I think it’s a myth.

    Barrett Chase | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  46. It is a myth, and a dangerous one. 15 months after noticing a non-bullseye, looks-like-a-spider-bite and then getting progressivly sicker and sicker, the doctors finally diagnosed the Lyme disease that almost disabled me.

    There are some very nasty tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases out there. Don’t be foolish and think garlic (which I eat tons of) will save the day.

    emmadogs | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  47. I’d rather have army worms -- they don’t hunt me down and bite me repeatedly, resulting in huge itchy welts which scratch for a week.

    Bad Cat! | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  48. @Slingfad. Cigars work just fine! But for you nonsmokers who get bitten, Amonia is a good way to stop a mosquito bite itch. Been using it since I was a kid. Walgreen’s sells a product that is pencil shaped with amoina and mineral oil added which makes a thicker application to the skin, but right out of the bottle while standing in your laundry room works fine

    TopOfTheHillMan | Aug 30, 2011 | New Comment
  49. @Barrett -- Garlic Myth? Obviously. Simply put, I find it quite funny when being outside and others begin the frantic slap, associated profanity, and then the application of poison. I just look at them and smile.

    woodtick | Aug 31, 2011 | New Comment
  50. People’s body chemistry plays a huge role in deciding who gets bit and who doesn’t (skeeters seek me out when no one else is affected). The garlic might be helping you, but it might not.

    Bad Cat! | Aug 31, 2011 | New Comment
  51. Lacking any more appropriate ammonia-based products, I was reduced to vainly spraying Windex on the incredible throbbing bite I got on my finger while I slept one night last week. It was probably comical, if pathetic and ineffective.

    The Big E | Sep 1, 2011 | New Comment
  52. in.dog.neato | Sep 1, 2011 | New Comment
  53. After a few days of camping in Jay Cooke and berry picking up the shore in mid August, I had so many mosquito bites I was pretty much out of commission for the remainder of the summer:( I would wake up scratching my arms and legs.

    I found the best treatment was hydrocortisone cream.

    Liz | Sep 23, 2011 | New Comment

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