Giant mosquitoes the size of a quarter are invading central Florida and officials are warning residents to beware of the 'notoriously aggressive' bloodsuckers.
Entomologists at the University of Florida predicted the massive insects, known as gallinippers, would descend on the sunshine state in record numbers this year after drenching rains from Tropical Storm Debbie. Now the mammoth monsters have arrived, being spotted in Seminole County.
The frightening supermosquitoes, native to the eastern half of the United States, are 20 times the size of an ordinary mosquito and their bite is unusually painful.
Seminole County Mosquito Control director Kelly Deutsch told ClickOrlando.com said the county began pre-treatment spraying in local swamplands several months ago to prepare for the onslaught.
Indian River County mosquito control director Doug Carlson told WPTV the bugs are so big 'it can feel like a small bird has landed on you' when you get bitten.
Gallinippers, officially known as psorophora ciliate, allegedly got their nickname because they're so big they can 'nip a gallon of blood with a single bite,' Carlson said.
University of Florida entomologist Phil Kaufman told ClickOrlando.com that gallinippers are 'notoriously aggressive' and warned residents to wear insect repellant with DEET and cover up more than usual to protect themselves from painful stings.more