Daily Archives: 17 June 2013

There Goes the Neighborhood

Alaska Updates:


Photo courtesy of K. L. Wallace and AVO

Another volcano on the Alaska Peninsula has gone the dreaded Orange. Mount Veniaminof has now joined Pavlof and is currently in an erupting state.  The stratovolcano is named after Ivan Popov Veniaminov, a Russian Orthodox missionary priest who lived from 1797 to 1879.

Buhach Goes Dark!


Living in Interior Alaska has its unique challenges. We can deal with earthquakes, volcanos, minus 50 degree weather for weeks at a time, bears coming in to steal steaks off the grill, moose blocking the way to the outhouse.  None of that matters, as long as we have the faint, burning-grass smell of Buhach wafting about us during the summer months. For the second time since 2000, The Buhach Company has gone silent, and it is causing a panic.

Buhach is an ochre-colored powder made up of crushed pyrethrum flowers that works as a natural, totally kick-ass, insecticide.  It clobbers ants, fleas, roaches and lice.  But Interior Alaskans burn it by the case load, because the incense drives away the mosquitos like no other product we’ve ever seen, short of nuclear weapons.  Buhach started out in 1873, and came to Alaska in the Gold Rush.  Alaskans have been in love with the golden powder ever since.

Unfortunately, just like in 2000, Buhach is “currently not available”.  Back then, the Buhach Company, a small family owed business from Mercer Island, WA, could not get the pyrethrum flowers from Africa due to drought, then flood, and then political unrest.  The shelves were empty for 3 years.  85% of the world’s pyrethrum supply comes from Africa.  60% of Buhach is shipped to Alaska.

I witnessed the panic at the hardware store this morning, as people called, walked in and begged to get some Buhach they assumed was hidden in the back somewhere.  It’s a nasty mosquito year too, and people are desperate.  I still have three cans left from last year, so I should be okay if I ration it, but I won’t be leaving it outside unguarded.