North Carolina has suddenly become a hot spot for some of the largest mosquitoes in the country -- known as “mega mosquitoes” -- due to the rancid puddles left behind by Hurricane Florence.
USA Today called it an “outbreak” and described them as “blood-thirsty,” “aggressive” and “monstrous pests.”
The species, called Gallinippers, can grow 20 times larger than more common mosquitoes and have a sting that is painful enough to feel like you’ve been stabbed, according to LiveScience.com.
North Carolinians have been posting reports of them on social media the past week, including an Instagram photo by Jennings Wright of North Carolina, showing a very large smashed mosquito on her finger.
“This is the size of the mosquitoes we’ve got post-Florence,” she wrote.
A Facebook video shared by Cassie Rulene Vadovsky showed large mosquitoes bouncing off the windows of a vehicle. It has been shared 3,500 times and viewed 246,000 times.
“This is insane, you should have seen just before this photo when I first pulled up,” she wrote on Facebook. “Mosquito-pocalypse is in full effect and there is no slowing it down.”
One viewer, Diane Laskowski, asked Vadovsky if she was mistaken: “Are those wasps or mosquitoes?”
Vadovsky, a mother of two, told USA Today: “It was like a flurry — like it was snowing mosquitoes.”
Robert Phillips of Fayetteville told the Fayetteville Observer that mosquitoes “inundated” him after he left his home one day.
“A bad science fiction movie,” he was quoted telling the newspaper. “It was like a small blackbird. I told my wife, ‘Gosh, look at the size of this thing.’ I told her that I guess I’m going to have to use a shotgun on these things if they get any bigger.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has ordered $4 million be spent on mosquito control efforts in counties that were listed as hurricane disaster areas.
State officials say “increased mosquito populations” often result from the kind of widespread flooding brought on by Hurricane Florence.
“While most mosquitoes that emerge after flooding do not transmit human disease, they still pose a public health problem by discouraging people from going outside and hindering recovery efforts,” said a state press release.