A plague of huge mosquitoes has descended on North Carolina, spawned from the floodwaters left behind by Hurricane Florence.
With the oversized shaggy-legged gallinippers, as they are colorfully known, swarming the flood-ravaged state, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on Wednesday pledged $4 million to fight the infestation.
‘A bad science fiction movie,’ as resident Robert Phillips described the mosquito invasion to the Fayetteville Observer.
‘They were inundating me, and one landed on me. It was like a small blackbird. I told my wife, ‘Gosh, look at the size of this thing.’ I told her that I guess I’m going to have to use a shotgun on these things if they get any bigger.’
Gallinippers like the one seen in the above file photo are swarming North Carolina.
Homes surrounded by floodwater are seen in this aerial photograph taken above New Bern, North Carolina last week. The flooding has spawned a plague of mosquitoes
Gallinippers, or Psorophora ciliata as they are properly known, have a wingspan of up to 3/8 inches.
They are known for their painful bite and aggressive nature towards humans, but despite their annoying nature they do not pose a major health hazard.
The gallinipper lays its eggs on moist or low-lying ground, but the eggs don’t hatch until they are covered in water – meaning a flooding event can spur a massive wave of the huge mosquitoes.
As well, there are dozens of more common species of mosquitoes in North Carolina, all of which thrive in wet conditions.
Two weeks after Florence dumped eight trillion gallons of water on the state, causing rivers to swell far above flood stage well inland, more than two dozen counties are feeling the ill effects of the mosquito plague.
Gallinippers, or Psorophora ciliata as they are properly known, have a wingspan of up to 3/8 inches. A gallinipper is seen in a file photo above
A hog farm surround by floodwater is seen in this aerial photograph taken above New Bern, North Carolina last week. The governor has directed $4 million to mosquito control
‘To help local communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I’ve directed state funds for mosquito control efforts to protect people who live in hard-hit areas,’ Governor Cooper said in a statement announcing the funding to fight mosquitoes.
The money will be directed toward counties currently under a major disaster declaration, including: Bladen, Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne, and Wilson.
Most mosquitoes that emerge after flooding do not transmit human diseases, but they still pose a public health problem by hindering recovery efforts and discouraging outdoor activity.
Although rare, the most commonly reported mosquito-borne illnesses that can be acquired in North Carolina are LaCrosse encephalitis, West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.
Nearly 70 percent of mosquito-borne infections reported in the state in 2017 were acquired during travel outside the continental U.S.