ENGLEWOOD — Reports of an upcoming ‘giant mosquito ‘ invasion in Florida are being blown out of proportion, local experts say.
The Psorophora ciliata or more commonly known as the gallinipper, is one of the largest species of mosquitoes in Florida and indigenous to the east coast of the United States. It can grow up to 20 times the size of a normal mosquito .
Paul Bouvier, an owner of Econo Termite & Pest Control in Englewood, said he hasn’t heard any calls lately about mosquito concerns.
‘I think it’s hype,’ said Beth Kovach, a biological specialist with Charlotte County. ‘A (University of Florida) report garnered attention and it got put out of context.’
The mosquitoes thrive in rural areas during the summer in persistent wet conditions.
‘This summer, for the Psorophora ciliata to surface, you have to have standing water for at least five or six days,’ said Wade Brennan, mosquito monitoring specialist in Sarasota County.
Kovach said the mosquitoes can breed in pastures.
‘When we get heavy into the rainy season, the pastures stay flooded,’ she said.
Florida saw a significant increase in the over-grown insects’ activity following Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, experts said.
‘The mosquitoes don’t carry any known diseases dangerous to humans,’ Kovach said. ‘Just a powerful bite and only the females bite (like other mosquito species.)’
‘The citizens of Sarasota County shouldn’t have to worry, compared to North Florida,’ Brennan said.
Kovach said Charlotte County also isn’t seeing much activity or concerns.
‘The best prevention is drain standing water,’ Brennan said. ‘Wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Make sure they’re not tight since they can bite through clothing. Wear DEET or have some protective bug spray. Avoid exposure during dusk and dawn.’
‘Other than their size, there is nothing else special about them,’ Kovach said.