WESH: Giant mosquitoes expected to be summertime nuisance
Brace yourself Florida, there is a "vampire" in your midst -- and this one is not afraid of the sun.
giant psorophora ciliata mosquito, which is colloquially known as the
gallinipper and is 20 times the size of your average mosquito, is set to
plague south and central Florida this summer as the rainy season
While these monsters don't carry diseases, their intense
bite can feel like a knife piercing your skin and leave you with an
itchy welt for up to a week.
According to Deby Cassill, an
Associate Professor of Biology at Florida State University, these hairy,
long-legged pests, originally thought to be from the Mississippi Delta,
made their way to Florida after Tropical Storm Debby brought heavy
winds and dropped a bucket load of water on the state last year.
The mosquitos, who migrated with the wind, laid eggs by the billions
in the standing water left from the storm, and this year, they are ready
"Just like every other mosquito, the females are
bloodsucking vampires trying to be good moms and get enough nutrients to
produce eggs and the next generation of mosquitos" said Cassill.
the mosquito season will only last a couple of months until the waters
recede, biologists worry about the monster's 24/7 eating habits.
mosquitos feed at dusk and dawn, but these feed all day long, and will
eat right through your clothing," said Cassill. The females will feed on
anything from cattle and dogs to human blood.
that there will be an alert if mosquito experts find evidence of a
gallinipper plague in any given location, but that urban areas are not
especially at risk since they already have established mosquito control
strategies. Rural areas, on the other hand, will need to be on watch.
Residents are asked to be on alert for a loud buzz and to keep their
In the meantime, bust out the bug spray and DEET, as
they are your best line of defense, says Cassill, who also warns to be
careful not to swat a just-fed gallinipper.
"If she's loaded with human blood, it will make quite the mess."
By Tracy Jarrett, Staff Writer, NBC News