(Gray News) – Swarms of mosquitoes are killing livestock in southern Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
The Category 4 storm hit the state on Aug. 27, pushing the insects out of the state’s marshes.
“The population just exploded in the southwest part of the state,” said Jeremy Hebert with LSU AgCenter in Acadia Parish, about 150 miles west of New Orleans.
The mosquitoes are draining the lifeblood of the creatures in their path.
Cattle losses are widespread, according to the center.
“I lost a bull Friday night,” said Vince Deshotel, an AgCenter livestock specialist.
The swarms have also killed horses and deer.
The insects contribute to the deaths of the livestock in two ways.
Not only are vast numbers of mosquitoes feeding on the animals' blood, but they’re driving them to exhaustion as the livestock continuously move, trying to fend them off.
Mosquito numbers seem to be decreasing, Craig Fontenot, an Evangeline Parish-based veterinarian, said this week.
Owners have also gotten relief for their animals by spraying their pastures.
“The spraying has dropped the populations tremendously," Hebert said. “It’s made a night-and-day difference.”
Producers are also putting topical treatment on their livestock.