Monster mosquito concern for Southwest Florida
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Summer is going to suck. That's the warning from one Florida insect specialist who says mega mosquitoes are invading the Sunshine State.
These monster-mosquitoes thrive in pastures and wooded areas.
While some University of Florida scientists are predicting a bumper crop of these bugs, Lee County Mosquito Control says don't bite into this prediction just yet.
Shelly Redovan says if the huge Psorophora ciliata, also called a 'gallinipper,' lands on you and bites you, you're going to know it.
The insect is Lee County's largest mosquito.
"They will bite you pretty much any time of the day," Redovan said.
She has been with mosquito control for 16 years.
"We have a year long surveillance program," she said.
Redovan took our camera inside the department's mosquito lab where thousands of pests call home. Their eggs can last up to 3 years.
Those eggs, combined with the rain from Tropical Storm Debby last year, created a concern over gallinippers.
"After Debby we went ahead and did pretty much a county-wide treatment so that we could knock down all the adults," Redovan said.
Will that prevention be enough?
"I wish I had the answer to that," she said. "It all depends on the weather and tides."
"For those worried about having a mega-mosquito outbreak here in Lee County what do you say to them at this point?" asked reporter Kelli Stegeman. "I would not be concerned," replied Redovan.
Repellent can help prevent some problems for you, but what about for the more persistent ones? Lee County plans to be equally tenacious in getting rid of them.
"If we have a lot of rainfall then we are going to respond to that and we will try to keep them under control so people wouldn't see large swarms of any type of mosquito coming in," said Redovan.
However there is some good news with the big bugs. Gallinippers are slower than the more typical mosquito, therefore killing them is easier. They help control the other mosquito population by eating them. Also, they aren't known to transfer any diseases to you or your pets.