Multiple cattle owners are left reeling with the effects of losing as many as eight animals to massive swarms of mosquitoes in southwest Louisiana.
An army of mosquitoes was pushed out of marshes following Hurricane Laura, which made landfall in the region on Aug 27. As a result, “clouds of insects” began killing cattle and a few horses.
“The population just exploded in the southwest part of the state,” said Jeremy Hebert, LSU AgCenter agent in Acadia Parish.
Veterinarian Craig Fontenot informed WWLTV that the mosquitoes had drained the animals’ blood, causing the animals to become incredibly tired from having to keep moving to avoid getting bitten.
It is believed that in a five-parish area, hundreds of cattle and several horses have been killed. Hebert spoke with multiple cattle owners who revealed that they had lost as many as eight animals. He was also informed of three mosquito-related deaths of horses.
“There’s a lot on the verge of dying,” Fontenot said.
AgCenter extension veterinarian Dr. Christine Navarre said products are available to control the pests on livestock.
“Basically, there are many products that can be applied to the animals, either in a spray, spot-on or with back rubs,” she said. “It will depend on what is available locally and what works for the situation.”
The products must be used according to the label, “and if it is used on a food-producing animal, it must be approved for that species,” she said.
Spraying programs have started to weaken the swarms of mosquitoes. A few parishes are conducting mosquito spraying by airplane, and that has proven to provide some relief.
“The spraying has dropped the populations tremendously. It’s made a night-and-day difference,” Hebert said.
Hurricane Laura, a category 4 storm, arrived in Louisiana in late August, tearing in through multiple parts of Louisiana and Texas with winds of 150mph. It killed 6 people in Louisiana. The hurricane was later downgraded to a tropical storm at it headed towards Arkansas with heavy rainfall and tropical winds.