Residents of North Carolina just can’t catch a break. First came Hurricane Florence, then came the floods and the swarms of monstrous mosquitoes that came along with them. The stagnant flood waters that resulted from the 8 trillion gallons of rain that were dumped over North Carolina have become home to mosquito nests that hatch mass amounts on a daily basis.
One species that has become especially prevalent is the Psorophora ciliata, also known as “gallinippers.” This species is not an ordinary species. Gallinippers can be up to 3 times larger than the average mosquito and have the ability to easily bite through 1-2 layers of cotton. They are most commonly found in the eastern part of the United States near bodies of water and areas with damp soil. Once flooding occurs in these areas, the eggs then hatch and can grow from larvae to adults in just 6 days. Since Hurricane Florence flooded areas that had not been flooded in years, the eggs that hatched may have lied dormant for years waiting for these flood waters to allow them to hatch.
Not only are these mosquitoes a huge nuisance for residents, but they can also cause illnesses like La Crosse encephalitis (inflation of the brain due to the La Crosse virus), eastern equine encephalitis (inflammation of the brain due to the EEE virus), and West Nile virus. In order to help combat the large population of mosquitoes that have emerged, the governor of North Carolina Roy Cooper has ordered that 4 million dollars be spent on mosquito control “in counties under a major disaster declaration.”
The video above is of a North Carolina resident filming the mosquitoes that are swarming her car after picking up her son from school. Due to their size, her son mistakes the mosquitoes for wasps!
Hopefully, with the funding that the governor has allocated to combatting the mosquito epidemic, residents will soon be able to go outside without being bothered by these giant pests! In the meantime, entomologists and other government officials have urged people to take precautions when heading outdoors, such as wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and use repellent that contains DEET to keep the mosquitoes away.