How Can Mosquito Populations Become Large Enough to Kill 15 Cows in One Night by Sucking Their Blood?

Everyone knows that certain arthropods like mosquitoes, ticks and bed bugs feed on blood, including the blood of humans. In fact, researchers claim that ticks actually prefer human blood over all other types of animal blood. However, if you had never heard of any of these insects, then you would probably find the idea of a bloodsucking insect terrifying. After all, what is to prevent a swarm of mosquitoes from sucking a person dry? And since bed bug bites do not cause an immediate sensation of any kind, what’s to stop them from exsanguinating a person as he/she sleeps? Luckily, it does not take much life experience to learn that the amount of blood taken by a visiting mosquito, tick or bed bug is trivial. Certainly no person has ever heard of mosquitoes sucking a human dry. Of course, it is hard to believe that a mosquito swarm, no matter how big, would be able to drain a human of all of his/her blood. But, researchers have documented several incidents of unusually large mosquito swarms killing animals much larger than humans by doing nothing more than sucking their blood. For example, in the aftermath of a hurricane in Texas, a massive swarm of mosquitoes killed 15 cows in one single night just by sucking their blood.

The 15 cows that were found dead one August morning in Texas back in 1980 were not killed by mosquito-borne disease; instead, they died from severe anemia resulting from the bloodsucking activity of mosquitoes. The day before the cows were found dead, they had been seen acting distressed upon being swarmed by mosquitoes. The death of the cattle occurred exactly one week after flood waters from Hurricane Allen receded, which is the exact amount of time that it takes for an egg to develop into an adult mosquito. One researcher calculated that it would take 3.8 million mosquito bites to drain one cow of half of its blood. The unusually large amount of mosquitoes that year resulted from a massive amount of mosquito eggs that had collected during the drought. These eggs then developed synchronously during a flood. According to researchers, rare environmental conditions can lead to mosquito swarms that can suck large animals of enough of their blood to kill them within a short period of time.

Have you ever heard of a small animal, or any animal, losing all of its blood to mosquitoes?