Invasion of the Giant Mosquitoes

This summer is really going to bug you.
May 23, 2012
Photo by: File photo WEAR A HAIR NET — Don't let those summer pests get the best of you. (I'm not referring to the kids.)

Often my views are influenced by the wonderful view — from our deck.

We look north at Chambers Mountain, and often see the "traumahawk" (medical evacuation helicopter) scoot by on its way to and from Mission Hospital. Other flying objects within our beautiful view include hummingbirds, downy woodpeckers, finches, morning doves … and on one particular evening this week — GIANT MATING MOSQUITOES.

Now I have been to Alaska, I have canoed the Boundary Waters between Minnesota and Canada, and my wife and I spent more than 20 years in Florida, where the mosquito is widely considered the "state bird."

In other words, I know a mosquito (or two sexually active mosquitoes) when I see one (or two) … and especially when I feel one (or more).

These particular mosquitoes were at least an inch in diameter. So my wife and I screamed out loud and took cover. (Actually, we just went inside for another pour of wine — But back to my story.)

Did you know? — After a very mild winter, an abbreviated spring and heavy rains, giant mosquitoes are well within the realm of possibility.

They're perhaps not quite as large as the ones that attacked Robin Williams in the 1995 movie, “Jumanji,” but it’s early in the season.

Two giant mating mosquitoes could spell disaster for our nice WNC lifestyle, so I called our friendly (and accessible) Agricultural Extension Office for help.

First I spoke to a very well-informed volunteer from the Master Gardener program. She told me that many of the Master Gardeners were seeing  “an insect proliferation” this year and they were taking “a wait-and-see approach” on garden pests, because (I love this quote) “Everything is all out of whack.”

She also told me that the person I really needed to speak with was Extension Director Bill Skelton.

Did you know? Skelton told me that they were already seeing more ticks than normal and there were more honeybee swarms this spring. As for our giant mosquitoes, Skelton asked me, “Are they about an inch in diameter?”

I replied a with "Storage Wars," "Yuuuuup!”

Then he burst my bubble, “They’re probably just crane flies … ‘Google’ crane fly … It’s probably what you saw.”

So I did, and sure enough I saw many beautiful photos of exactly what my wife and I saw — crane flies.

They can grow up to two and one-half inches long, with wingspans of three inches, but crane flies don’t bite — in fact, adult crane flies don’t even eat. They have only one purpose in life: to mate and lay eggs.

You go, crane flies! But, please, don’t do that on our deck.