Invasive swarms of incredibly large mosquitoes are now covering North Carolina, in the wake of Hurricane Florence. The species known as Psorophora Ciliata, referred to as “Gallnippers,” are known to be three times the size of normal mosquitoes.
One witness to this, Cassie Vadovsky reported that she arrived home after picking up her 4 year old daughter from school recently to be greeted by a swarm of these parasitic, blood sucking insects.
They were described and monstrous and aggressive, with stripes on their legs that gave off a more than menacing appearance. Vadovsky’s shocking video of this can be found below.
This, this is what I’m dealing with 😭 #nc#afterflorence#helpme#mosquitoplague#prayfornc
Posted by Cassie Rulene Vadovsky on Wednesday, September 26, 2018
“It was like a flurry — like it was snowing mosquitos,” the stay-at-home mother said. “I think my car agitated them. I waited for them to calm down before I grabbed the kids and the ran into the house.”
Many North Carolina residents are now having to suffer through this, a mosquito outbreak unlike any other that is resulting from the flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.
“It didn’t hit automatically. It was more gradual. It took maybe 3 or 4 days after the storm passed before it got to this epidemic level.” Vadovsky continued. “And I’m not even on the side of town that had the major flooding. Imagine how bad it could be over on that end.”
Experts on the reproduction habits of mosquitoes note that the rising floodwaters have this effect where they cause eggs that would have ordinarily been dormant for over a year, to hatch and swarm billions of them into the air at once. According to an article from USA Today:
“The ones plaguing the Carolinas are called “Gallinippers,” or “Psorophora ciliata,” according to entomologist Michael Waldvogel of North Carolina State University (NCSU). This species that can be three times as large as average mosquitoes and the larvae are known to prey on aquatic animals that are as large as tadpoles. The females grow up to feed on large mammals, humans included.”
Associate Professor of the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at NCSU, Michael Reiskind said: “There’s 61 species of mosquitoes in North Carolina and of those, probably 15 to 20 would be highly responsive to floodwaters in this way. When you have major flooding, a lot of these eggs hatch and you can see rapid population growth.”
Some might wonder how much growth that entails. An area of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina was surveyed by Reiskind, just around the time of the hurricane hitting to analyze the mosquito populations.
“Before the storm, I went out for 5-minutes and counted just three mosquitoes in that time. A week after the storm, in those 5-minutes I had eight of them. Then after two weeks, (I counted) 50 in that time, and our area didn’t get hit the hardest,” Reinskind continued.
Reiskind even added that the larger mosquitoes could bite through one or even two layers of cotton “pretty easily.” She is an entomologist.
Additionally, Vadovsky said that the mosquitoes rest on the windows outside her family’s home in large, formidable numbers waiting to straight up strike.
People automatically want to dump toxic chemicals all over the place to stop the mosquitoes, but some have what may be better solutions. Continuing from USA Today:
“In the wake of the mosquito outbreak, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper ordered $4 million in control efforts to help counties hit by Hurricane Florence. ‘FEMA provides reimbursement for local agencies to spray for mosquitos. So, it is possible for a county health department to do aerial spraying but not every county does it,’ Reiskind said.
If your area doesn’t spray, experts said Mosquito Dunks, donut-shaped products that attack mosquitoes in their developmental stages, can help stop the spread of mosquitoes. They can be found at local hardware stores. ‘These small disks of freeze-dried bacteria dissipate in water and inhibit the reproductive cycle of mosquitos. It’s not an insecticide. It’s a more natural solution that really works,’ said Rachel Noble, a professor at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences.”
Hopefully those “freeze dried bacteria discs” are more of a natural, less harmful solution than insecticides. Reality is just crazy in general that this has to be a discussion.