AP NEWS

Monster mosquitoes attack Robeson County residents, but help is on the way

September 28, 2018

Areas in the southern and eastern part of North Carolina that are dealing with fallout from Hurricane Florence have been swarmed by aggressive mosquitoes that are nearly three times larger than regular mosquitoes.

“They are horrendous. During the day, there’s no relief from them in certain areas – day or night, whether the sun is shining or not. This is a real concern of ours,” said Lumbee Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr.

North Carolina State University entomology professor Michael Reiskind tells the Fayetteville Observer that Florence’s floodwater has caused eggs for mosquito species such as the Psorophora ciliata to hatch.

<!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shapetype id=“_x0000_t75” coordsize=“21600,21600″ o:spt=“75” o:preferrelative=“t” path=“m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe” filled=“f” stroked=“f”> <v:stroke joinstyle=“miter”/> <v:formulas> <v:f eqn=“if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0”/> <v:f eqn=“sum @0 1 0″/> <v:f eqn=“sum 0 0 @1”/> <v:f eqn=“prod @2 1 2″/> <v:f eqn=“prod @3 21600 pixelWidth”/> <v:f eqn=“prod @3 21600 pixelHeight”/> <v:f eqn=“sum @0 0 1”/> <v:f eqn=“prod @6 1 2″/> <v:f eqn=“prod @7 21600 pixelWidth”/> <v:f eqn=“sum @8 21600 0″/> <v:f eqn=“prod @7 21600 pixelHeight”/> <v:f eqn=“sum @10 21600 0″/> </v:formulas> <v:path o:extrusionok=“f” gradientshapeok=“t” o:connecttype=“rect”/> <o:lock v:ext=“edit” aspectratio=“t”/> </v:shapetype><v:shape id=“Rectangle_x0020_6″ o:spid=“_x0000_i1025″ type=”#_x0000_t75″ alt=”/pubtools2/resource/diesel/image/16/tv.png” style=‘width:24pt;height:24pt’> <v:imagedata src=“file:///C:\Users\nmcgugan\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif” o:href=“cid:image003.png@01D45691.C00F6CB0″/> </v:shape><![endif]-->

<!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id=“Rectangle_x0020_5” o:spid=“_x0000_i1026″ type=”#_x0000_t75″ alt=”/asset/weather/hurricanes/2018/09/20/17861967/380489-kat6pm-DMID1-5g73wky8p-220x165.jpg” style=‘width:24pt;height:24pt’> <v:imagedata src=“file:///C:\Users\nmcgugan\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif” o:href=“cid:image003.png@01D45691.C00F6CB0″/> </v:shape><![endif]-->

These mosquitoes, often called “gallinippers,” are known for their painful bite and often lay eggs in low-lying, damp areas.

<!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id=“Rectangle_x0020_4” o:spid=“_x0000_i1027″ type=”#_x0000_t75″ alt=“data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw==” style=‘width:11.25pt;height:11.25pt’> <v:imagedata src=“file:///C:\Users\nmcgugan\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image002.gif” o:href=“cid:image004.png@01D45691.C00F6CB0”/> </v:shape><![endif]-->

Students at the University at North Carolina at Pembroke have dealt with the mosquitoes on their way to class.

“They’re really big, and they’re kind of vicious. So, even if you try to go away, they will still try to come after you. They’re everywhere,” said Jocelyn Klocey, a student at UNC-Pembroke.

<!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id=“Rectangle_x0020_3” o:spid=“_x0000_i1028″ type=”#_x0000_t75″ alt=”/pubtools2/resource/diesel/image/16/photo_scenery.png” style=‘width:24pt;height:24pt’> <v:imagedata src=“file:///C:\Users\nmcgugan\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif” o:href=“cid:image003.png@01D45691.C00F6CB0″/> </v:shape><![endif]-->

<!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id=“Rectangle_x0020_2” o:spid=“_x0000_i1029″ type=”#_x0000_t75″ alt=”/asset/news/national_world/national/2018/09/04/17819646/76969b0b-ed00-4095-a73c-b73b187bc3bd-DMID1-5g9n4ynq7-220x165.jpg” style=‘width:24pt;height:24pt’> <v:imagedata src=“file:///C:\Users\nmcgugan\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif” o:href=“cid:image003.png@01D45691.C00F6CB0″/> </v:shape><![endif]-->

<!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id=“Rectangle_x0020_1” o:spid=“_x0000_i1030″ type=”#_x0000_t75″ alt=“data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw==” style=‘width:11.25pt;height:11.25pt’> <v:imagedata src=“file:///C:\Users\nmcgugan\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image002.gif” o:href=“cid:image004.png@01D45691.C00F6CB0”/> </v:shape><![endif]-->

The eggs lie dormant in dry weather and hatch as adults following heavy rains. Reiskind says the state has 61 mosquito species, and “when the flood comes, we get many, many billions of them.”

Dr. Kaitlin Campbell, an assistant professor of biology at UNC-Pembroke, said that, once the flood waters dry up, the mosquitoes will go away.

“I saw today where Gov. Roy Cooper has set aside $4 million for mosquito spray in devastated areas. That’s critical. We hope we can get on that,” said Godwin.

The mosquitoes aren’t transmitting many diseases, but in the meantime, experts say it is best to steer clear of floodwaters where they flourish.

AP RADIO
Update hourly