Mega-Mosquito Creating A Buzz

7:37 AM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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Palmetto, FL (WTSP) -- First the pythons, then the sharks, and now news of giant mosquitoes invading Florida-- it's all the buzz.

"Brand new to the Sunshine State are the giant alien mosquitoes," comments Mackinley Greenlaw of OneMinuteNews in a comical YouTube video.

All the mega-mosquito reports started with one out of the University of Florida. And the article's photo, hi-lighting the gallinipper's size, is an attention getter.

10 News showed it to a few shoppers on Friday and got the following responses.

"The big one looks worse to me," one man said with a laugh.

"They do look gigantic," commented a woman.

Another woman exclaimed, "You better get out of the way!"

But before we all get out our super swatters, here are some skeeter stats from entomologist Mark Latham of Manatee County Mosquito Control.

"We currently have 47 different mosquitoes in Manatee County alone," he says while opening a box containing the mounted bugs.

And among them is the not-so little nip the gallinipper.

"It is a big and very noticeable mosquito," says Latham.

Noticeable, but not new. No eminent invasion. They've always been here.

And even though the standing water brought by Tropical Storm Debby last year produced a lot of them, Latham says there's really no way of predicting how many will hatch this summer. It all depends on the rains.

"People ask me, 'What is this season going to be like?' and I say it's going to be like every other season - different. We just don't know," says Latham.

As for this big bug's bite -- annoying yes-painful, not so much.

"They don't want you to notice them biting, because otherwise you'll swat them and they won't be able to lay their eggs," explains Latham. "Most mosquitoes are stealthy."

And there is also a bit of pest positive - this variety does not transmit any diseases.

The gallinipper is found in grassy, pasture land in rural areas. It is not a city mosquito.

So even though this skeeter strain, "Looks pretty nasty to me," as one shopper said. There's no need for mosquito manic panic. Just take it from Latham, "From a purely scientific standpoint-there's nothing to worry about."

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