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Hurricane-Spawned Mosquitoes Are Sucking Livestock Dry in Louisiana

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  • What an awful, awful way to go…

If you were to live in a horror story, you might have a vampire spreading fear in your home area. The bloodsucking creature of the night will leave in its wake nothing but blood-drained corpses.

That’s already bad enough, but what if it wasn’t just one vampire? What if instead you had teeming clouds of tiny vampires flying around?

Unfortunately for the residents of Louisiana, they’re been thrown into middle of that horror story. A five-parish area in southwest Louisiana is currently being terrorized by a swarming clouds of mosquitoes.

The buzzing bloodsuckers spawned in the aftermath of the rains that Hurricane Laura brought into the region. As if the widespread destruction wrought by the storm itself wasn’t enough.

Mosquito larvae live in water, and as such Laura’s torrential rains were a blessing for the insects. The huge, stagnant puddles left behind by the rains proved prime spawning pools for the mosquitoes.

Jeremy Hebert, a Louisiana State University AgCenter agent, told USA Today that residents of the Bayou State are generally used to mosquitoes. I mean, they’d have to be if they live in Louisiana.

The state’s marshy, dank coastline is and has always been mosquito country. If you asked the locals, they would tell you that little pests always show up in large numbers after rain.

But what we’ve seen since Laura is something else entirely.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Hebert told USA Today.

The sound of death is the buzz of a million tiny wings.

‘Vicious Suckers’

The clouds of mosquitoes are so thick that authorities are recommending that locals take appropriate precautions. Herbert says that T-shirts and shorts are on the no-no list and urges everyone in the area to wear long sleeves and pants.

“As soon as you would walk outside, your legs would turn black from the sheer amount of mosquitoes,” he said.

But while humans might be able to cover up, the story is different for the livestock of Louisiana’s farmers. Being stuck outside, they have no protection against the mosquitoes.

In fact, the bloodthirsty insects are so numerous that their swarms have turned lethal. Hundreds of animals – even as large as cows, bulls, horses, and deer – have died in the hands of the mosquitoes.

In the hands? At the mercy of their proboscises? Proboscii? Do excuse me, this is not a subject for jokes.

The clouds of mosquitoes have been reported to blanket the animals completely. The horrendous number of bites leaves them anemic and bleeding under their skins, Dr Craig Fontenor, a Louisiana large-animal veterinarian, told the Associated Press.

What’s worse, the animals keep pacing around in a futile attempt to get away from the swarms. Lacking oxygen, they soon exhaust themselves and succumb to blood loss.

“They’re vicious little suckers,” Fontenot told Associated Press in what we’re going to describe as a bit of an understatement.

According to Fontenot, possibly 400 or more cattle have been killed in the mosquito-impacted areas. One deer rancher, he said, had lost 30 out of his 110 animals, costing him more than $100,000.

Even the animals that have survived may be facing life-long health problems. Sure, they’re alive, but at what cost?

Air Support Inbound

In some of the still-affected parishes, farmers and authorities have started conduction aerial insecticide sprayings to control the bugs. This is probably where you’d expect us to say that it’s to no avail, but the toxins have actually helped.

“The spraying has dropped the populations tremendously. It’s made a night-and-day difference,” Hebert told Associated Press.

Horse owners have had an easier time with the mosquitoes, since their animals stay mostly in stables. Applying insecticides is much easier in enclosed spaces.

Cattle farmers, on the other hand, are still struggling. In addition to sprayings, officials are recommending the use of fans and covering the animals with special protective suits and blankets.

However, these are not foolproof solutions. The fan air stream has a limited range, and AgCenter veterinarian Dr Christine Navarre warns that in the late-summer heat, the animal coverings could cause heat stress.

According to Navarre, there are also insecticide products that can be applied directly onto the animals.

“Basically, there are many products that can be applied to the animals, either in a spray, spot-on or with back rubs. It will depend on what is available locally and what works for the situation,” Navarre told ARY News.

Historical Pests

While the clouds of mosquitoes seen now are on a massive scale, it’s not the first time hurricanes have given birth to swarming insects. The same thing happened in Louisiana, Texas, and elsewhere with Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Lili in 2002, says Fontenot.

In Texas, for instance, the numbers of salt-grass mosquitoes surged so greatly after Rita that they made life incredibly difficult for workers trying to repair the storm’s damages. As a result, Jefferson County Commissioner Mark Domingue enlisted the US Air Force to help with the bugs.

Domingue at the time told Houston Chronicle at the time that mosquito populations are calculated by seeing how many insects land on an exposed human thigh in three minutes.

Normally, that number is somewhere from three to five. In 2005, parts of Texas reported numbers ranging from 65 to 200.

No wonder they needed military intervention. Furthermore, any scientist or official who sacrificed their thigh for the mosquito count, whether back in 2005 or during this year… Oddee salutes you.

Want to tell your strange story? Tell us about it and it could be featured on Oddee. You can remain fully anonymous.



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Alien Monolith Discovered in Utah Desert

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  • Dear extraterrestrials, please stop leaving your weird metal constructs on public land.

Are we alone in the universe? Or do alien creatures occasionally – or maybe even regularly – descend from the skies to walk on Earth?

Some people certainly think so, and not all of them are UFO-hunting crackpots either. For example, you could go read our story of the ex-U.S. military boss who thinks we should have a defense plan against UFOs.

But if aliens do visit Earth, why don’t we ever see anything they might’ve left behind? Sure, there’s an occasional purported alien artefact – in addition to whatever what was involved in the Roswell crash – but if there were regular extraterrestrial visitors to Earth, you’d think they’d leave behind otherworldly sandwich wrappers or something.

But now we may have just found something. State officials in Utah have discovered a strange object sticking out of the ground in the middle of the desert.

What they found sure looks alien. It’s a 10-foot-tall shiny metal monolith, jutting out of Utah desert.

Anyone who’s watched 2001: Space Odyssey should be having chills right about now. The find is eerily similar to the black ominous rectangle responsible for human evolution that was depicted in the movie.

But what on Earth is the strange object? Is it even from Earth?

Photos courtesy of Utah Department of Public Safety.

A Strange Discovery

The strange object was discovered on November 18 by officials from the Utah Department of Public Safety, who were giving a helicopter ride to their colleagues from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

They had taken to the air to perform a count of bighorn sheep in a part of southeastern Utah. As they were flying over the Red Rock Country – a particularly famous desert landscape – one of the biologist onboard the chopper noticed something on the ground.

Between the red rock faces, something metallic was shining.

“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” the helicopter’s pilot Bret Hutchings told KSL TV.

“He was like: ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like: ‘What?’ And he’s like: ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’”

Not one to turn down such an enthusiastic request, the pilot identified a suitable landing spot. He brought the craft down, and the officials began to walk toward the thing they’d found.

And there it was. In the middle of nowhere, hidden between tall cliffs, stood a rectangular, polished silvery metal monolith.

“I’d say it’s probably between 10 and 12 feet-high,” Hutchings said.

The Out-of-place Oddity

Not only was the monolith itself strange, but its location made it even more eerie. There was no immediate indication of who had brought it there.

The officials found no footprints or car tracks. It was as if the thing had fallen out of the sky and buried itself in the ground.

What’s weirder, the soil around the spot is particularly hard-packed. It would’ve taken some serious effort to dig and cut a hole big enough to hold the monolith upright.

Yet, there was no sign of such activity either.

“That’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all my years of flying,” Hutchings told KSL TV.

“We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it.”

The crew couldn’t figure out the purpose of the object, either. They speculated that it might have some space-based applications.

“We were, like, thinking is this something NASA stuck up there or something. Are they bouncing satellites off it or something?”

Maybe it was NASA. Or maybe it was… Aliens.

Alien Artwork?

Well, probably not. At least the helicopter crew doesn’t think so.

The thing is definitely an artificial construct, but the helicopter crew figured that it’s more of an art piece than any alien object.

“I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big Space Odyssey fan,” Hutchings said.

Whatever the monolith’s purpose, Utah Bureau of Land Management is currently determining whether it warrants a further investigation. Meanwhile, they’ve decided not to reveal the object’s exact location to the public.

“It is in a very remote area and if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue,” Utah Department of Public Safety said.

Yeah, right. That sounds exactly the kind of story they’d come up with to keep us in the dark about alien encounters!

Speaking of aliens, if the monolith is of extraterrestrial origin, its owners might be in for a hefty fine if Utah officials catch them trying to retrieve their metal rectangle.

“It is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from,” the Department of Public Safety reminded.



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Eel Refuses to Die, Busts out of Heron in Aliens Reenactment

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  • If you’re body-horror adverse, tread no further, it’s as gruesome as you think.
  • Snake eels are hard-to-kill with hard heads and iron wills, they often burrow back out of the predators who consume them.

Nature is a brutal, unforgiving place. The fact the sun goes down at 3:30 in the afternoon should be reason enough to accept that as fact, but if you’re unconvinced (or a masochist), I present to you the eel. Researchers published a study in the Memoirs of the Queensland Museum journal about snake eels. They’re hard-headed, tough-to-kill guys who burrow out of the stomachs of the fish who eat them.

Make Sure Your Food is Dead

Photo by Roman Klimenko on Unsplash

Not to victim-blame here, but if you’re not going to chew your food, then you have to accept that some horrific things can happen–like your brunch shreds your innards. In these circumstances, the snake eels rarely make it back out into the world. The predator’s immune system encloses them in a cyst or abscess, where they’re mummified. Presumably, the predator dies as well. 

 

John Pogonoski, one of the snake eel researchers, told Live Science that their colleague once found a snake eels writhing around inside of a fish they caught and were about to eat. That sight alone would put me off food for a good long while. 

 

A few weeks ago, Sam Davis, an engineer by trade who takes wildlife photos to relax, got the shot of a lifetime. He took a series of pictures of a Delaware heron flying around with a snake eel wriggling out of her neck. Traumatizing. 

Just Out for a Nice Flight

Photo by Thomas Millot on Unsplash

Both the heron and the eel look remarkably casual in the photos, which are worth checking out on Live Science. Pogonoski even gave the heron even chances of surviving the encounter, as long as the wound didn’t get infected. The fact an eel-sized hole in the neck isn’t an instant death sentence for an animal is further evidence of how brutal it is. 

 

However, the eel may have been in worse shape following its madcap dash for freedom. They require specific salinity if you remember our story about the freedom fighter dumping 100 eels into a Brooklyn lake. So if the two animals finally parted over land or a freshwater lake, the snake eel would still die. 

 

Chew your food, folks.



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Man Leaves 42,000% Tip For Servers of Shuttered Restaurant

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  • Want to be a hero this holiday season? Be like this guy and tip generously for your takeout.
  • The anonymous man tipped $3K on a $7 beer the day before the restaurant shuttered for coronavirus.

If you’ve been following the ongoing devastation from the pandemic, restaurants are heading into a long, cold, dark winter. Usually, corporate holiday parties, family get-togethers, and drunken revelers fill their dining rooms this time of year. With the increasing danger from COVID, states are making the tough decision to halt indoor dining hoping to tamp down the ever-increasing daily record for total cases.

Restaurants are Suffering

Photo by Sam Dan Truong on Unsplash

Alongside the restaurant owners devastated by the pandemic are the restaurant workers. Servers and bartenders depend on tips for their survival, and with takeout only, they’re struggling to make ends meet. For one restaurant in Cleveland, the struggle became insurmountable.

Nighttown opted for a voluntary shut down to protect its employees and guests in the face of rising infection rates in Ohio. Their last service, for the time being, was brunch on Sunday.

An unnamed gentleman stopped by for a single beer, which came to $7.02. He filled out the receipt, told the server to split the tip with the rest of the waitstaff, and carried on with his day. Brendan Ring, Nighttown’s owner, ran after him when he saw the amount. The guest left a whopping $3,000 tip on his seven-dollar beer.

Ring chased down the man to make sure he didn’t mean $3, $30, or even $300. The anonymous hero said it was no mistake when Ring caught up with him and that he’d be back when Nighttown reopened.

You, Too, Can Be A Hero

Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

For a country struggling to pay its mortgage or put groceries on the table, $3,000 is make-or-break money. According to the Associated Press, four servers worked the brunch service, but $750 might be their rent for the month.

The landscape of the restaurant industry is dramatically changing. If you only eat at Olive Garden and PF Chang’s, you may not notice. But 100,000 restaurants closed between March and August of this year, and the number’s just going to keep growing. It’s not the big chains feeling the pinch of the recession either, it’s all the awesome neighborhood spots with the best dumplings, wings, or tacos.

Even for long-established neighborhood spots, increasing rent, razor-thin margins, and having to shutter or limit service for months at a time without sustained relief from the government has just been too much.

Takeout will be the only way we can enjoy our favorite spots this winter, so show your neighborhood restaurants some love.

And if this guy can leave $3000 to help a restaurant in his community, then we can all leave at least 25 percent when we pick up our takeout.

 



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