Photo: University of Florida
If you dislike mosquitoes, you’ll really have daggers for the gallinipper — a giant mosquito that is about 20 times the size of a regular mosquito. It’s big enough to cover a quarter. The insect lives in low-lying areas that overflow with water. They are native to the eastern half of North America, but come out in large numbers when an area is hit by heavy rain, such as in a tropical storm or hurricane.
Florida was invaded by the gallinipper last summer after Tropical Storm Debbie. The case is likely to be the same this year, University of Florida entomologist Phil Kaufman said in a statement.
The whopper of a bug has an equally big bite, which can really hurt when its mouth pierces the skin, says Kaufman. As with other mosquitoes, only the females bite and feed on blood.
The female gallinipper lays her eggs in soil, in areas that are prone to flooding. The eggs can hang out for several years if they stay dry. The eggs hatch when they get wet caused by heavy rains.
Fortunately, the gallinipper is not known to carry diseases. They can be warded off with bug spray, although due their size, the spray may not be as effective as it is with a smaller biting mosquito.
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