In the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, parts of southern Louisiana have become a mosquito paradise—and hell for livestock. Swarms of thousands of mosquitoes have killed hundreds of cows, along with deer, horses, and other animals, USA Today reports. The insects have been draining blood from the animals, leaving them anemic, and some have died from exhaustion after constantly moving to try to escape the swarms. "They're vicious little suckers," says Evangeline Parish veterinarian Dr. Craig Fonteno. He says one deer rancher lost 30 of his 110 animals to the mosquito swarms.
"What we are seeing are swarms of mosquitoes that are preying on exhausted and stressed livestock," says Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, per KATC. "While parishes are spraying to mitigate the problem, I also urge livestock owners to spray their pastures or use products that can be applied to the animals." Louisiana State University AgCenter agent Jeremy Hebert says the mosquito population explosion is by far the worst he's ever seen. "As soon as you would walk outside, your legs would turn black from the sheer amount of mosquitoes," he tells USA Today. (Read more Hurricane Laura stories.)