Mosquitoes the size of pennies are found buzzing around Hampton Roads

Posted at 7:24 PM, Jun 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-24 19:24:40-04

Hampton Roads, Va. - Mosquitoes the size of pennies are buzzing around Hampton Roads, and experts say bloodsuckers that big are normal around here this time of the year.

"I've never seen one the way it is," said Gary Jones.

Jones was in his front yard in Newport News getting a few things out of his car when a big mosquito landed on him.  He smacked it just in time before it took a bite.

"I showed my wife and she was like, 'You ought to take a picture of that next to a penny or something to compare its size.' And I noticed that sprawled out, it's larger than that.  I don't see them like that around here," said Jones.

But experts say you can see them in Hampton Roads, especially during the summer.

"We call them 747s coming in for landing. They really are a very large mosquito, and you can actually feel them land on you," said Lisa Wagenbrenner, head biologist at the Chesapeake Mosquito Control Commission.

Wagenbrenner says mosquitoes the size of pennies, scientifically named the psorophora ciliata, develop quickly and bite, but they're not known to carry diseases.

"Typical mosquito you find in the summertime.  They're temporary rain pool mosquitoes.  We get these gully washers, they fill up small pools and that's where these mosquitoes will breed in," said Wagenbrenner.

Experts say not only can penny sized mosquitoes develop in Hampton Roads, but mosquitoes around here can also grow as large as nickels.  Luckily, the ones that big don't bite people. But the penny sized ones can.

"I caught it in time.  Like I said, you can feel them landing on you now.  Maybe that's a good thing.  Usually you don't know until after you start feeling that itch," said Jones.

Wagenbrenner says get used to the penny sized mosquitoes though. We'll likely have to deal with them until the end of summer.