Huge mosquitoes are invading Florida.
Millions and millions of Gallinipper mosquitoes are expected to descend on Florida this summer, and news outlets have picked up on their coming as a regional disaster.
Gallinipper mosquitoes are about 20 times larger than common mosquitoes and naturally, their bites hurt more than their smaller cousins. And to be honest, a 20-fold larger mosquito does sound fit for a late-night Godzilla movie. But Gallinipper mosquitoes won’t be leveling Tokyo anytime soon; the insects are about the size of a quarter with a body about half-an-inch long. I wouldn’t want one getting into my house, but I wouldn’t fear for my life.
And there isn’t much that's special about the giant mosquitoes’ arrival in the Sunshine State this year. The insects experience population booms after large rainstorms, when standing water will stay around for more than a week. Last August's Hurricane Debby is what's to blame for the Gallinippers' expected arrival this summer.
“They are a native species which has been here longer than humans,” Phil Kaufman told the Huffington Post. Kaufman is an entomologist at the University of Florida.
Why is everyone getting worked up about the Gallinipper mosquito? We just don’t see them that much. And they don’t really like feeding on human blood. The mosquitoes tend to stay in rural areas, living off the blood of livestock, and according to Kaufman, most mammals that aren’t humans.
“Most urban areas have superb mosquito control districts that manage all mosquito populations,” he said. “Essentially, the places we notice them is in cattle pastures.”
And other than its larger size, we don’t really have much to fear when it comes to the Gallinipper mosquito.
“They bite as they encounter you. The bite is painful because it’s bigger,” Kaufman said. “The itching afterward is no different than any other mosquito. They are annoying, but that’s about it.”