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Gallnippers lay their eggs in moist, low-elevation areas, where heavy rains or flooding trigger eventual hatching. In less than a week, larvae grow to adult size, which is about three times that of normal mosquitoes. The insects are so big that they've been mistaken for wasps and jokingly called the new state bird.
According to entomology Prof. Michael Reiskind of North Carolina State University, disease transmission isn't a leading concern with gallnippers and other post-Florence mosquito species. Nevertheless, the outbreak is a public health issue as it drives people to stay indoors and slows the storm recovery process. Last Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper directed $4 million toward mosquito control efforts in 27 counties.
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By Heather Cruickshank
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