The media urges us to beware the giant mosquitoes

Derrick Knutson

Derrick Knutson

There are certain aspects about Minnesota that make it a wonderful state in which to live: The changing seasons can be quite beautiful, it’s usually a great state for six-plus months of the year for those who love winter and there’s usually at least a day or two per year where the temperature is 75 degrees and the humidity is low.

But there is one big fault to living here (and in many other states in the nation, in my opinion): The mosquito-to-people ratio is quite out of whack.

For those who live in areas where mosquitoes are overly abundant during the summer months, this is most certainly old news; it’s just something we’ve come to live with.

I am among that group. I accept the fact that anytime I step into the shade on a 95-degree July day, swarms of bloodthirsty mosquitoes are going to attack me and siphon enough blood to fill one of those donation bags the Red Cross uses.

But I’m not OK with another insect in nature’s irritating bug arsenal: The gallinipper.

This critter, by some reports 20 times larger than your average female mosquito (some media outlets say that claim is exaggerated and it’s only about five times larger), has been making the rounds on broadcast, print and radio news recently.

CNN even used the headline “Skeeter-geddon? Giant mosquitoes coming to Florida!”

If a headline with a question mark and an exclamation point doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.

The article claims they can be resistant to bug spray and even bite through clothing.

One viewer wrote the news station saying that their bites “feel like being stabbed.”

That claim might be a bit over the top, but who knows, that fellow could have gotten into a few ugly bar brawls and been shanked a time or two.

Another article, featured on Tampa Bay’s 10 News website, says the fear about the gallinipper is being blown way out of proportion.

It states the bug has been in Florida for quite a while, comprises only about 2 percent of the mosquito population in that state and that its bite is actually milder than its smaller, more pestiferous peers.

The article goes on to say that the hype was likely created when a University of Florida student did a write-up on the creature and it became a feature in UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences publication.

I guess I’m more apt to believe this second article over the first, especially since it goes into much greater depth and cites an array of sources, but there’s still part of me that’s concerned a few of these huge mosquitoes will buzz their way up to Minnesota and mate with our little, aggressive ones.

From a probability standpoint, this is unlikely, maybe even impossible (I’m no expert on genetics), but I think I might just prepare for Skeeter-geddon, just to be safe.

A 30-year supply of deet-saturated bug spray and a few of those mesh bug suits ought to do the trick if a gallinipper-evil Minnesota mosquito hybrid ever happens.

There’s the possibility I might be exhibiting a wee bit of paranoia, but the paranoid tend to live a long time, right? Albeit, much of that life could be spent in a basement surrounded by bug spray and other mosquito-repelling gear.

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