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Russian Far East Region Experiences Particularly Bad “Mosquito Tornadoes”

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Villages on the east coast of the Kamchatka peninsula, in the Russian Far-East are experiencing scenes that seem taken out of an Alfred Hitchkok movie. Only instead of birds invading their community, it’s billions of mosquitoes swirling into visible “tornadoes”.

 

Villages like Ust-Kamchatsk are used to being invaded by large number of mosquitoes every summer, it’s normal for this insects to swarm near bodies of water, but this year it’s much worse than usual. Because of an unusually hot summer, the number of mosquitoes is much larger, making them an even bigger nuisance than they usually are.

 

Window and door nets do little to keep the pesky buzzers out of people’s homes, as they seem to get in through the smallest of cracks, and going outside means dealing with large swarms of mosquitoes that seem to reach the sky when seen from afar.

 

We have always had large numbers of mosquitoes here in the summer, and we always will, but there are just to many of them this year,” Ust-Kamchatsk resident Maria Zubkova said. “They get into every crack, even if there are nets on the windows, they still manage to get through.”

 

Videos of dozens of these mosquito tornadoes rising over villages on the east coast of Kamchatka have gone viral on Russian social media. They show these large whirlwinds visible from long distances, which wasn’t the case in past years. Locals are used to mosquitoes and midges invading their villages for a few months every years, but few can remember such large numbers.

 

Walking or driving through one of these living tornadoes will leave you covered in mosquitoes from head to toe, but experts say that people shouldn’t fear getting stung by them. The tornadoes are part of the mosquitoes’ mating ritual, where tens maybe even hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes swarm around one or more females trying to secure a spot close to her. And since male mosquitoes don’t sting, all you have to worry about is getting them off, as they can be very clingy.

 

Kamchatka is home to over 100 species of midges and mosquitoes, and so far entomologists haven’t determined which ones are most active this year, but they assume that there are both blood-sucking species and harmless midges in these giant tornadoes.

 

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I spent 2 months in Strezhevoy, Tomsk, Siberia during the summer of 1995. As I recall the government does not spray to control the midges or mosquitoes for fear that the chemicals will do more damage than help (and the people do not trust the government's chemicals, either).  I walked into a swarm cloud accidentally as the light was fading at dusk. It was an eye closing experience. My sympathies to the those in Kamchatka and the like.

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That region of the Russia is one of the most unexplored natural areas in the world. I'd love to go, but not with the mosquitos.

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