Weeks of consistent above normal rains have filled farm ponds, ditches, swamps and anything else which will hold water. While this is a positive trend for the water table and minimized, if not eliminates, the need for irrigation, there is a down side. The mosquito population is multiplying rapidly along with the potential for disease outbreaks. Of particular concern are “floodwater mosquitoes” which populate pastures in puddles and pools of standing water. These mosquitoes lay their eggs in moist soil and will tolerate, and in many cases, require the inevitable dry-out after the wet period.
The most notable of these floodwater mosquitoes is the Aedes genus which contains at least ten species. The term Aedes has its origins in Greek, meaning unpleasant. Aedes atlanticus is commonly found in pastures. It is a participant in the transmission of heart worms in dogs, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis in horses. Heavy blood loss may also result from excessive exposure to swarms of mosquitos. The consequences of the painful bites will be thriftiness, weight loss, and decrease milk production.
Wipes, sprays and fogs can offer temporary relief. The most effective control method available is source reduction by removing or draining mosquito breeding sites. Hopefully drier days with plentiful sunshine will reduce the population. For more information read: External Parasites on Beef Cattle, or contact your local UF/IFAS Agricultural Extension Agent.