ORLANDO, Fla. - Local 6 has been getting calls, emails and pictures from viewers of "mega mosquitoes," but University of Florida researchers say most of the sightings aren't what they seem.
They large bugs appear to be gallinippers, or large mosquitoes, but University of Florida entomologist Phil Kaufman says most of the sightings have been that of super-sized robber flies, which are more interested in eating other insects than biting humans.
Kaufman says he's received calls asking if the robber flies are gallinippers, and he says unlike mega mosquitoes, robber flies do not bite. They are predatory insects, meaning they eat other insects, such as honey bees.
Gallinippers is a nickname for the large mosquitoes, because it feels like they take a gallon of blood when they nip you. In reality, that's not the case, but the bite is painful.
Mega mosquitoes known as gallinippers could invade Central Florida this summer as flood waters from tropical storms force the larvae to hatch this hurricane season, Kaufman said.
Entomologists at the University of Florida say the mosquitoes are 20 times the size of a typical mosquito, about the size of a quarter.
The best way to protect against the mosquitoes is to wear bug spray with DEET and cover up as best as possible.
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