I Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself: ‘Bow Down to Our New Insect Overlords!’

Some days, it’s hard to find good topics to write about and keep people’s attention – while also informing them of something important. Other days, the universe just opens up like a rare and beautiful flower and gives you something unexpected.

Today, for me, that something is this headline, from NBCNEWS.com:

‘Bloodsucking vampire’ mosquitoes set to haunt Florida

Immediately, upon reading this, several things happen:

  • I cringe and get an odd, tingly feeling, like something is crawling up my thigh
  • My faith in journalism is momentarily restored
  • I laugh, cry and die a little inside

I really wanted to stop after reading just the title – I sincerely doubted that anything in the article could match up to the wondrous heights of fear mongering that the title held in store. But, I pressed on. I did it for you, tiny readers. I felt that you wanted, nay needed to hear about the recent influx of well-nigh sparrow-sized mosquitoes that now inhabit Florida, along with manatees, retirees and the odd typhoon.

I learned the following in the article:

  • Their scientific name: psorophora ciliata (which I believe is Latin for aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!).
  • Their common name is the ‘gallinipper’ which by no small coincidence was my nickname on the high school pep squad
  • They do not carry diseases
  • They pack a bite that feels like a red-hot steak knife is being jabbed into your tender flesh, and can cause a huge welt

These little suckers are over twenty times bigger than your average everyday mosquito. You could take twenty normal little mosquitoes, stuff them inside a gallinipper and still have some room left to spare. They are the veritable jumbo jets of the mosquito world. Regular mosquitoes probably worship them as gods and sacrifice fleas and ticks to them to keep their terrible fury at bay and ensure a good harvest.

This is continued proof that we are destined to be killed by six-legged arthropods. I feel like Starship Troopers is coming true. Happily, I also learned in the article that they are susceptible to the normal everyday topical bug repellents like DEET, but it must be applied with an industrial spray roller like the ones the Golden Gate Bridge is painted with. I was relieved to find this out, as I had at first assumed that the only thing that would deter them from their holy mission of draining me and my pets of every last drop of blood was a small thermonuclear device. And I’m all out of those.

So, on the upside; no diseases, susceptible to common repellants.  On the downside, you’ve got a new species of pterodactyl-sized arthropod vampire winged hypodermic terrorizing your household – if you have made the unwise decision to live in Florida. Good gravy.

As far as the regular old normal-sized mosquito goes (who I now think of as wee and cute after reading the article about the new, gargantuan ones), controlling them is far easier and doesn’t require access to the launch codes:

  • Change the water in birdbaths, pet bowls and wading pools frequently, at least once a week.
  • Eliminate standing water near animal areas.
  • Get rid of tin cans, old tires, buckets or anything that can collect and hold water.
  • Irrigate your lawn and garden carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.

Avoiding these new ones involves:

  • Moving out of Florida

For those of us with pets, there is a far more common foe than the gallinipper – fleas and ticks. These guys are everywhere but luckily prevention and control are easy. We have tons more information about flea and tick control coming soon right here in the blog, but for now, all you need to know is one word: Fiproguard. Use Fiproguard, which contains fipronil – the same active ingredient as Frontline® branded products*, once a month and flea and tick worries are a distant memory.

Unlike the gallinipper – I am going to be having screaming nightmares about those guys for months.

-Photo Credit: From flickr by Hidden Nature

* Frontline® and Top Spot® are registered trademarks of Merial. SENTRY® Fiproguard® is not manufactured by or distributed by Merial. SENTRY® Fiproguard® contains fipronil, the active ingredient used in Frontline® Top Spot®.

 

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