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Giant Mosquitoes Will Invade Florida This Summer, Experts Say

Update Date: Mar 11, 2013 09:29 AM EDT
Gallinipper
Giant mosquitoes known as gallinippers will return to Florida this summer. (Photo : http://nitrocat.blogspot.com)

Florida has more than sharks and storms to worry about this summer as experts say that the giant mosquitoes from last year will return. According to entomologist Phil Kaufman, the numbers of giant mosquitoes, Psorophora ciliate or more commonly known as gallinippers, will increase during the summertime because of the tropical storms that hit the state last year. The return of these frightening insects will leave many wanting to stay indoors and away from these nasty biters.

The gallinippers thrive in the floodwater environment, making Florida a great place for them to flourish. The females lay their eggs in moist pond and stream soil and when heavy floods due to storms hit these areas, the eggs hatch.

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"I wouldn't be surprised, given the numbers we saw last year. When we hit the rainy cycle we may see that again," Kaufman stated. Kaufman is also an associate professor at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Gallinippers are not known for carrying and transmitting diseases so residents do not have to feel threatened by the invasion of these insects. However, they are very frightening to see due to their sizes and they can produce a painful and large bite. Like most mosquitoes, only the females bite and suck blood. Unlike most mosquitoes though, the larvae of gallinippers are known to eat other mosquitoes' larvae.

Kaufman, who has had a firsthand experience with a galliniper's bite, recommends consistently using DEET bug spray, wearing long sleeves, and long pants to avoid these insects. A recent study done by the Smithsonian revealed that mosquitoes appear to be growing immunity from DEET bug repellant. After a few hours, the mosquitoes will break through the barriers created by the spray and bite away. However, this research study was done with different mosquitoes known as the Aedes aegypti and thus, using DEET to fend off gallinippers should ideally be effective. But, to be sure, remember to reapply DEET more frequently between hours if you must be outside for the entire day.

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