Controlling Mosquitoes to Protect Livestock

Hurricanes and their lasting aftermath often exacerbate mosquito problems, which can be detrimental to livestock owners and their animals. Most recently, storm surges and heavy rains from Hurricane Laura caused “clouds of mosquitoes” that killed hundreds of cattle, horses, and other livestock in southwest Louisiana.

Dr. Craig Fontenot, a large-animal veterinarian, said the “swarms were so thick that the vast number of bites left horses and cattle anemic and bleeding under their skins.” Some animals died from exhaustion, as they had to constantly move to try to evade the clouds of mosquitoes. Since livestock are unable to defend themselves against mosquitoes, it is important to have mitigation efforts in place after a hurricane or other heavy rain storms.

Residual flooding and excess moisture from hurricanes create an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. While adult mosquitoes aren’t likely to survive hurricane-force winds, flooding after the storm will cause numerous variations of mosquitoes to lay their eggs in moist soil, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. When a rush of water surges over the eggs, they finish developing quickly and hatch and with a single female laying up to 200 eggs, populations can quickly explode. When whole farms are flooded, the number of mosquitoes created in standing water are staggering.

To help aid in these situations, it is important to turn to products that have long residual control, such as a granular insect growth regulator, mosquito control briquettes, and/or dual-active mosquito control products. The IGR active ingredient in these products can help control any emerging larvae from the storm by breaking their life cycle. Livestock owners can also play a key role in mitigation efforts by removing all standing water around their property.