Of course, that’s an exaggeration, but the extreme name helps to emphasize that this mosquito isn’t just larger than normal mosquitoes, this sucker is 20 times larger than the average mosquito according to entomologist Phil Kaufman of the University of Florida. (1)
The body is a little over half an inch and the overall size is about as large as a quarter. You won’t just hear this mosquito buzzing in your ear, you’ll feel its wings flapping against you.
It’s not a new super mosquito created in a mad scientist’s laboratory, the gallinipper is actually a native Eastern US pest.
What makes them so intimidating besides the gigantic size is this mosquito’s bite. It’s extremely painful.
Some have compared the sensation to that of being stabbed. Couple that with the insect’s aggressive nature and the fact that it travels in swarms and you have the makings of a great scifi movie, no wait, they already made that one. (2)
Weather Patterns Predict Unusually Wet Summer
Why is Florida predicted to soon be targeted by the gallinippers? It has to do with rain and flood.
Florida is primed to have a deluge of flood waters this rainy season and the warning has gone out about the impending mosquito invasion.
According to the Almanac (Old Farmer’s Almanac), Florida weather will be impacted by a “rainier than normal” summer season. (3)
The University of Florida info sheet states that the Gallinipper aka Psorophora ciliata is a floodwater mosquito.
These mosquitoes love:
“Low-lying areas with damp soil and grassy overgrowth. When these areas flood following a dry period, the eggs hatch, often producing very large numbers of adult mosquitoes.” (4)
A Few Gallinipper Mosquito Facts
There are some specific traits and characteristics that are common in all mosquitoes, such as only the females are blood feeders while the males are content to feed on flower nectar. But, there are some distinguishing differences between common mosquitoes and the gallinippers.
–> The gallinipper “overwinters in the egg stage”.
–> May wait until after the first rainfall of the summer to begin hatching. (1)
–> Gallinippers are aggressive in larvae state and are cannibalistic. They feed on other mosquito larvae and tadpoles.
–> Adults can emerge from the larvae stage within six short days.
–> It’s believed that gallinippers don’t spread diseases, such as West Nile and encephalitis viruses.
Protect Yourself Against the Dangers of Gallinipper Swarms
The Jacksonville City website states:
“These mosquitoes have been known to kill cattle because of the high volume of adults that swarm at one time. This can result in suffocation and severe blood loss (anemia) in the animals.” (5)
Even if you’re environmentally conscious, these mosquitoes might have you reaching for a common insect repellent. Don’t bother. These mosquitoes are so large that the average amounts of these repellents just don’t work.
Some of the advice given is to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, but that’s very impractical for a tropical climate of very high humidity.
For small children, the threat of gallinipper swarms is very real and dangerous. It’s advised to not leave your children unattended. Keeping a close watch over the areas your children play in can also prevent them from venturing into areas with standing water.
Rainstorms are new breeding grounds and make the threat of larvae hatching greater during these times. (1) Pets aren’t immune to gallinippers, so take measures to protect your cat or dog from being attacked by a swarm.
While you can’t stand guard over your children and pets, when you are outside, you should pay attention to the surroundings. Gallinippers are large and easily seen, especially swarms. This gives you the advantage over this predator insect.
The best defense against such a ferocious insect is avoidance. Screen porches or arbors are ideal ways to still enjoy being outdoors without the threat of mammoth mosquitoes wanting to drain you of all your blood.