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Gallinippers: Mega mosquitoes arrive in Central Florida

9:29 AM, Jun 11, 2013   |    comments
This photo from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences shows the size difference between the gallinipper mosquito and a more typical species.
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Oviedo, Florida (WKMG) -- As predicted, mega-mosquitoes -- known as gallinippers -- have arrived in Central Florida.

Gallinippers, which are 20 times the size of a typical mosquito and pack a painful bite, have been spotted in Seminole County, according to officials.

See Also: Mega-mosquito creating a buzz

Entomologists at the University of Florida predicted earlier this year that the mega mosquitoes, about the size of a quarter, would invade the Sunshine State in 2013, a year after being spotted in Florida following drenching rains from Tropical Storm Debbie.

Kelly Deutsch, the director of Seminole County Mosquito Control, said gallinippers, officially known as psorophora ciliate, are treated the same as any other species.  Deutsch said recent rains, including the dousing from Tropical Storm Andrea earlier this week, will likely cause a spike in all mosquitoes. 

Seminole County began pre-treatment spraying in area swamps several months ago. 

UF entomologist Phil Kaufman said the super-sized species is "notoriously aggressive" and the best way to protect against them is to wear bug spray with DEET and cover up as best as possible.

According to Kaufman, gallinippers aren't known to carry any viruses that could be harmful to humans.

Meanwhile, in nearby Volusia County, officials have warned residents of a mosquito invasion after Andrea soaked the region.  The county is spraying near storm drains and has asked homeowners to get rid of standing water in their yards to help keep the bug population under control.

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