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Blood-Sucking Gallinippers Set to Invade Clearwater

The giant mosquitoes are poised to arrive as Florida’s rainy season gets under way.

An invading swarm of giant, blood-sucking mosquitoes might seem like the stuff B-movie scripts are made of, but scientists at the University of Florida are warning Clearwater residents to prepare.

Gallinippers are coming and they’re bringing monster-sized appetites with them, according to a NBC story.

So, what are gallinippers?

They’re jumbo insects that are roughly the size of a quarter, making them about 20 times larger than a typical mosquito. The hairy, flying pests have an especially vicious reputation and their population is likely to explode as summertime – and its heavy rains – approach, UF entomologist Phil Kaufman says.

Gallinippers hatch when there are heavy rains, typical in Florida’s wet season. Last summer’s Tropical Storm Debby provided a perfect breeding ground for the ferocious insects and this year’s rains could reveal an army of them just waiting to hatch, Kaufman told NBC.

“I wouldn't be surprised, given the numbers we saw last year," Kaufman told NBC. "When we hit the rainy cycle, we may see that again."

Not Your Ordinary Mosquito

Make no mistake; gallinippers are not Florida’s typical mosquitoes.

In addition to their larger size, these critters don’t follow the same feeding cycle that typical mosquitoes do. That means they aren’t just a threat at dusk and dawn, but pretty much around the clock. To make matters worse, gallinippers are known to be especially persistent when they find a snack, a report from the University of Florida states.

When it comes to ferocity, gallinippers seem to have a corner on that market, too.

“The galinipper can penetrate through layers of clothing,” MyFoxOrlando reports.

What’s on the menu?

Pets, fish, wild animals and, you guessed it, people.

This critter’s bite, by the way, packs a punch.

“It goes after people, and it bites, and it hurts,” MyFoxOrlando quoted Anthony Palaez of Tampa’s Museum of Science & Industry as saying.

Palaez ought to know – he’s spent time working in the Amazon.

So what does he liken a gallinipper bite to?

It “feels like you’re being stabbed,” he told Fox.

Want to learn more about all things mosquito? Check out the University of Florida’s Mosquito Information website.

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Aura March 14, 2013 at 10:52 AM
What side effects do these insects cause to the human body ?
maureen stepp March 14, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Does normal mosquito repellant work on them?

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