Bug Expert: Florida Facing Big Mosquito Problem

Gallinipper mosquito

University of Florida entomologist Phil Kaufman says last year the state had a bumper crop of Psorophora ciliata: huge, biting insects, which are sometimes called gallinippers. He said there may be a repeat on the way.
“I wouldn’t be surprised, given the numbers we saw last year,” said Kaufman, a UF/IFAS associate professor. “When we hit the rainy cycle we may see that again.”

The gallinipper is a floodwater mosquito, with females laying eggs in soil at the edges of ponds, streams and other water bodies that overflow when heavy rains come. The eggs can remain dry and dormant for years, until high waters cause them to hatch, Kaufman said.

Last June, Tropical Storm Debby caused flooding in many parts of Florida and unleashed large numbers of gallinippers, along with other floodwater mosquitoes.

Native to the entire Eastern half of North America, the insect has a body about half an inch long, with a black-and-white color pattern that makes it resemble a super-sized version of the invasive Asian tiger mosquito.
As with other biting mosquitoes, only the female gallinippers are blood feeders; males survive on flower nectar. The species is notoriously aggressive and has a painful bite. “The bite really hurts, I can attest to that,” Kaufman said.

Even in the larval stage, gallinippers are fearsome. Most mosquito larvae are content to subsist on decaying plant matter floating in the waters where they develop, but gallinippers are omnivorous, devouring other mosquito larvae and even tadpoles. With that trait in mind, observers have suggested the gallinipper might be a good candidate for biological control efforts, using the larvae to reduce populations of other pest mosquitoes. But that strategy has a fatal flaw – it results in more gallinippers. 

Gallinippers can be warded off with repellents containing DEET, though Kaufman said that due to their large size they may be more tolerant of the compound than smaller biting mosquitoes.
It isn’t considered a significant vector of mosquito-borne illness affecting people or animals.

To help understand the species better, Kaufman and UF/IFAS entomology graduate student Ephraim Ragasa created a document on gallinippers, which is now available at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in967.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
If Palmer amaranth is present in your field, do not remove the weed plants. Instead, destroy the weeds by burying or burning near the infested field.
Photo credit: Dwight Lingenfelter, Penn State University
Citrus
September 20, 2016
EPA Says Glyphosate Not Likely To Cause Cancer
Paper says herbicide not carcinogenic at doses relevant for human health risk assessment. Read More
illustration showing data taken and recorded on new citrus varieties
Varieties & Rootstocks
September 20, 2016
Is Citrus Ready To Break Out Of The Bubble?
Opportunity for enhanced data collection process at variety display days could give breeding and research teams a leg up in vetting sensible selections. Read More
cash money in hand
Business Planning
September 19, 2016
American Agricultural Exports Could Feel Sting From Strong Dollar
Despite headwinds, the U.S. remains the most stable economy in the world. Read More
NASA's global temperature heat map for 2015
Citrus
September 17, 2016
August Was The Hottest In 136 Years
The extended heat wave continues a streak of 11 consecutive months of record-setting temperatures. Read More
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Citrus
September 15, 2016
What The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Means Thus Far
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, would create the world’s largest agriculture company. Read More
hand holding sliced citrus
Citrus
September 15, 2016
Support Strong For Emergency Citrus Legislation
Proposed bill that would increase fruit production figures through tax code tweaks passes first test in U.S. House Ways and Means Committee approval. Read More
Split view of Monsanto and Bayer company signage
Citrus
September 14, 2016
Bayer Acquires Monsanto After Months Of Negotiations
Mega-Merger sealed with $66 billion all-cash transaction. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Senate Committee Report Says WOTUS Refor…
A report issued from the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee says federal agencies overreach their authority to regulate Read More
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Citrus Tax Incentive A Big Step Closer T…
U.S. House vote ends in landslide of support for emergency legislation, which allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new trees. Read More
Citrus
September 20, 2016
Preventative Control Rules Now In Effect…
Facilities employing 500 or more people must meet new standards. Read More
Citrus
September 20, 2016
EPA Says Glyphosate Not Likely To Cause …
Paper says herbicide not carcinogenic at doses relevant for human health risk assessment. Read More
Business Planning
September 19, 2016
American Agricultural Exports Could Feel…
Despite headwinds, the U.S. remains the most stable economy in the world. Read More
Citrus
September 17, 2016
August Was The Hottest In 136 Years
The extended heat wave continues a streak of 11 consecutive months of record-setting temperatures. Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2016
What The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Means Thu…
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, would create the world’s largest agriculture company. Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2016
Support Strong For Emergency Citrus Legi…
Proposed bill that would increase fruit production figures through tax code tweaks passes first test in U.S. House Ways and Means Committee approval. Read More
Citrus
September 14, 2016
Bayer Acquires Monsanto After Months Of …
Mega-Merger sealed with $66 billion all-cash transaction. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2016
Can CRISPR Carry Agriculture Innovation …
Game-changing technology allows targeted gene modification to fight diseases like citrus greening. Read More
Citrus
September 12, 2016
Historic Farmworker Overtime Law Approve…
California legislation, the first of its kind in the nation, is reviled by grower groups who say it will actually do economic harm to farmworkers. Read More
Citrus
September 12, 2016
FDA Allocates $21.8M To Help States Comp…
Funding has been awarded to assist 42 states with implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. Read More
Citrus
September 9, 2016
Are You Feeling Befuddled By Fickle Fore…
In any situation, proactivity pays. We can wait for the sky to fall, or we can sing in the rain. Read More
Citrus
September 8, 2016
Bayer Ups Monsanto Offer
German company increases offer by 2% for world’s largest seeds company. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2016
Getting To The Root Of Improved Fruit An…
Taking a holistic approach to soil health is a key to increasing plant vigor and yields. High yields begin with Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2016
Hermine Rains Down On Already-Soaked Sun…
Storm delivers extra dose of precipitation during one of the state’s wettest spells on record. Read More
Citrus
September 5, 2016
New Product Helps Improve Quality Of Irr…
Regulator 3.0 Concentrate is said to contain high amounts of energy and oxygen which helps produce more sugar in treated plants. Read More
Citrus
September 3, 2016
Farm Profitability Expected To Dip For T…
Net farm income could hit lowest figure since 2009. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]