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Louisiana experiencing a rise in mosquito problems after recent hurricanes

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 5:16 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Mosquitos are a problem that Louisiana residents deal with every year, but after the recent hurricanes that have hit the state, many people are reporting a rise in mosquitos.

Jeremy Hebert is an LSU AgCenter agent in Acadia Parish and he said that Hurricane Laura pushed mosquitos further into the southern Louisiana parishes from the marshes along the coast.

“After Laura, we just had an explosion in the mosquito population. We already have our normal population in Louisiana that we have to deal with, but it pushes more mosquitos from the marshland which is an ideal breeding ground. It pushes them inward into the more populated areas and that’s where we start seeing some issues,” said Hebert.

The animal population has been felt by the mosquitos too. Dr. Craig Fontenot, a veterinarian in Evangeline Parish, said that the swarm of mosquitos caused major health concerns and even death to animals like cows and horses.

Fontenot said, “It is in the hundreds that have been affected. Several of them that have died, but probably for every hundred that dies, there is another 5 to 10 percent of cows that have aborted because of the stress from the mosquitos."

To help slow down the spread of mosquitos, the United States Air Force had an aircraft spray seven parishes after FEMA approved a plan to help with the problem. The parishes on the list are Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, and Vermilion parishes. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the Louisiana Department of Health requested and received help for mosquito control.

“In Louisiana, we have about 60 species of mosquitos. Normally we deal with about three locally. Two more species can be added which are flood water and rice field mosquitos. Those are hatching right now and they are very aggressive,” said Benjamin Norris, the owner of Bayou Mosquitos in Alexandria.

Norris advises residents to spray insecticide on their lawns, bushes, shrubs, and hedges, and for anyone still with standing water in their area, they can spray larvacide on the water. Norris did add that a positive to the floodwater mosquitos is that they don’t carry any disease.

Norris said, “You’re not going to have the disease or the vector spread that you would when it’s dry and you’re having mosquito problems because there are larger breeding sights. If it’s a concentrated breeding site, that’s when the disease spreads quicker.”

With Halloween coming up, Norris recommends parents to apply mosquito repellent to their kids' costumes before they put it on. It is also advised to carry a thermacell.

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