The Asian tiger mosquito population has been growing of the last few years. The black and white stripes on their body and legs are easily recognizable. As the Asian tiger mosquito continues to bite people as they enjoy they outdoor living spaces a new mosquito is coming to Florida: the mega-mosquito (yes, I’m serious)!
As the name suggests, the mega-mosquito is a much larger mosquito specie, up to 20 times larger than the Asian tiger mosquito! They have the same black and white stripes as the Asian tiger mosquito, but are known to be much more aggressive and the bites hurt! As Entomologist Paul Kaufman explains, the mega-mosquito isn’t new to the United States, “When you read historical accounts of the first European settlers in the Southeast and they talked about gigantic mosquitoes, this was the one they were talking about.” Source.
Researchers believe that the 2012 hurricanes brought hundreds of mega-mosquitoes to Florida. The storms, along with bringing the mosquitoes, created the perfect breeding ground with tons of water. While the ground has dried up in some areas, as soon as it becomes saturated again the eggs will start maturing again. “’Because of the events last year, and the eggs laid, we can expect large numbers of these mosquitoes again,’ Entomologist Phil Kaufman said.” Source.
While Kaufman suggests people cover their bodies with long shirts and pants, it may not be enough to combat the mega-mosquito’s aggression. It can bite through shirts and its bite will hurt much more than the normal mosquito species due to its size.
The Asian tiger mosquito, as well as the most common Aedes aegypti, breed in any standing water and are found in both suburban and urban areas. The mega-mosquito, in comparison, has only been observed near floodwater. Both species are most active at dawn and dusk and only the females will seek a blood meal to aid in reproduction, but the mega-mosquito are not known to transmit vector-borne diseases.
What I find most alarming about the mega-mosquito, or Gallinipper as they are called, is that common mosquito repellants may not be effective in fighting them. The bodies are so much larger than the species that normal repellants protect against that there isn’t enough of the active ingredients in it to kill the mega-mosquito. Professional mosquito control, as opposed to mosquito spray bought at the grocery store, should be effective in controlling the mega-mosquito population. The amount of active ingredients is higher and works differently than what is applied to the body. We at Mosquito Squad urge homeowners to seek an outdoor pest control company to protect their yard if they see mega-mosquitoes in the area.