The massive increase in gnats swarming areas of Louisiana in a manner that residents have likened to a biblical plague has citizens concerned and confused. The flying pests arrive in swarms consisting of thousands of gnats very suddenly and they hit their targets with a vengeance. These sudden swarms are incredibly destructive, even killing large numbers of chickens on farms located across the Felicianas. Farmers are reporting the presence of massive swarms of black flies and Buffalo gnats that are decimating their livestock, poultry being hit the worst. What resident are trying to figure out is what is causing this huge spike in the gnat population.
Buffalo gnats are causing the most concern, as they bite humans and animals like, putting livestock in general, and chickens in particular, at risk. For humans, these swarms of gnats have made it intolerable to even be outside, but the chickens are the ones experiencing the worst of it. The gnats will cluster in the animals airways in large numbers, either suffocating them or releasing deadly toxins into their esophagus, killing them in the process. Even larger animals such as horses are suffering from the bites these gnats inflict, which cause extreme irritation or infections in their ears. Some of these gnats can also transmit viruses amongst poultry such as turkeys, ducks, chickens, and geese. Smaller animals are also at risk of being killed during stampedes caused by these gnats swarming larger livestock such as cows and horses.
Experts are speculating that the increase in gnats could be linked to the flooding along the Mississippi River. The swarms are increasingly worse the closer you get to the river, and are also worse near resident’s houses and other sources of water. Experts are stating that the flooding and higher level of the Mississippi River is the source of the population explosion because these gnats require moving water to live and breed. The increase in river water likely caused the gnats to lay their eggs in larger numbers farther north, which have now traveled downstream, causing the current problems in Louisiana.
Have you noticed an increase in swarms of gnats? Have you or someone you know been affected by these large swarms or had livestock killed as a result?