ORLANDO, Fla. - The mother of all mosquitoes in Florida may be swarming this hurricane season.
The gallinipper is a floodwater mosquito that hatched en masse last year in north Florida after the arrival of Tropical Storm Debbie. Storms this year could bring us more of these big biters. They are native to the state.
Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in undeveloped areas like cattle fields, ponds and streams. They can lay dormant for years until high waters return.
UF Entomologist Phil Kaufman says when they bite, they hurt!
"I was doing some mosquito trapping for work here and I didn't have to go very far in the woods when the mosquitoes came after me and essentially chased me to the house!" he recalled.
He said this breed is ten to 20 times larger than the normal pest mosquito and can be very aggressive.
It's fearsome bite has been written about in folk tales and minstrel songs in the south, where it proliferates.
However, you can ward most of them off by using DEET. Wearing long sleeves and long pants are also recommended when going into the woods after rain storms.
Unlike other types of mosquitoes, gallinippers do not carry illnesses that affect people or animals.