“Monster” Invasion in North Carolina
NORTH CAROLINA – October 3, 2018
Misfortunes never come just one at a time, and we’re seeing that right now in North Carolina. The state hasn’t even yet recovered from the mighty Hurricane Florence and now it’s being attacked by huge mosquitoes, spawned from floodwaters left behind by Florence. Residents are joking about the size of these creatures and hiding from them in their houses and cars.
Videos and testimonies from dozens of witnesses who were quite unpleasantly surprised by the appearance of such large hairy-legged mosquitoes have appeared in the media.
It’s like “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, or Psorophora ciliata as they are properly known, have a wingspan of up to 3/8 inches and are known for their painful bite and aggressive nature toward 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.
There are dozens of more common species of mosquitoes in North Carolina, all of which thrive in wet conditions.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper pledged $4 million last Wednesday to fight the infestation.
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 have felt the ill effects of the mosquito plague.
“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 contracted in North Carolina are LaCrosse Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Nearly 70% of mosquito-borne infections reported in the state in 2017 were contracted during travel outside the continental U.S.