Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas nearly two weeks ago, and locals are still feeling the impact. Along with damage from winds and flooding, the storm has had another frightening consequence: Extra-large and aggressive mosquitoes are hatching in the region in plague-like proportions.
As The Fayetteville Observer reports, North Carolina is home to 61 mosquito species. Many lay eggs that hatch after it rains heavily, and as North Carolina State University entomology professor Michael Reiskind tells the Observer, a widespread flood can produce "many, many billions of them."
One of these species is the Psorophora ciliata mosquito. Also called "gallinippers," these relatively huge insects are known for having a particularly painful bite.
The mosquitoes that hatch as a result of flooding don't normally transmit diseases like malaria, but just their presence alone can constitute a health hazard. In a statement, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said that locals might use the mosquitoes as an excuse to stay in their homes, which can impede the recovery process. One resident named Robert Phillips was attacked by a swarm of the bugs on September 25, and he told the Observer that it felt like "a bad science fiction movie."
Governor Roy Cooper has ordered $4 million in disaster funds to deal with the mosquito problem, with plans to begin the pest control effort as early as September 27. Residents still waiting for relief are recommended to cover up when they go outside with long sleeves and pants and use insect repellent containing DEET.