Exclusive: Upper West Side Mosquito Mystery

Families Terrorized By Swarms Of Underground Insects That Invade Homes

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — An insect invasion is terrorizing New York City homeowners, making life miserable, even dangerous, for many families. Parents have been forced to take extreme measures to protect their children and their homes.

CBS 2’s Dave Carlin investigates the growing Upper West Side mosquito mystery.

These rare mosquitoes are extra blood-thirsty and active year-round. Carlin saw some of them in a lab after they were collected in the unlikeliest of places, Bernard Lagan’s home on West 84th Street.

“They trapped 150 mosquitoes in the basement in a 24-hour period coming from underground and into the basement and up in to the house through the air vents and it’s the same story as the other brownstones on this block,” Lagan told Carlin.

UPDATE: Rare Breed Only Feeds In Darkness

It’s an invasion that has almost every resident of 84th Street between Riverside and West End Avenue slapping, scratching and suffering.

“They’re hungry. They’re hungry,” said resident Susan Nicholson.

“Three on this ear; one on his cheek; one on his neck,” another woman said, illustrating the bites on one of her children. “And there are some on his arms going up his arm.”

Frustrated neighbors said after numerous complaints to the city and no concrete action, they feel abandoned. So like busy bees, they’re taking matters in to their own hands: covering cracks, vents and drains, both inside and out.

“Every vent is covered with mesh. It helps. It cuts it by 50 percent,” resident Pauline Galiana said.

In bedrooms on the block you see mosquito netting over the beds. Residents told Carlin it is the only way to get an uninterrupted pain-free night of sleep.

“This mosquito is well known for being in sewers in New York,” said Dina Fonseca, a professor at the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology.

Fonseca said the blood suckers’ scientific name is Culex Pipiens Molestus and that they thrive year-round in sewers and feast on humans at night.

“The best way to address that is to close all connections to the sewer and do aggressive mosquito control in the sewers, but that’s a tall order in these old cities like New York,” Fonseca said.

“Eliminating them, we are told by the Health Department, is going to require ripping up the road, treating it and putting the road back down,” Lagan said.

But Lagan said he is tired of waiting, and so are his kids, 7-year-old Rosie and 9-year-old Gracie.

“All on the walls there are mosquitoes and blood,” Gracie said.

“I just get bitten really all over me,” Rosie added.

Carlin contacted the Health Department to ask when something will be done. He has not heard back.

“It really is unacceptable for a city to ignore this kind of plague,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal said the Department of Transportation must provide some relief.

“I just saw coming up from these holes a whole bevy of mosquitoes. If the city were to patch up the holes in the street it would take care of at least some of the mosquitoes,” Rosenthal said.

Residents vow to bug every city agency they can think of to make all these pests buzz off for good.

Residents said the problem started last summer and got progressively worse. They said, initially, they were told because getting rid of the mosquitoes was not a top priority because they tested negative for West Nile Virus.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Dave Carlin

One Comment

  1. s pietromonaco says:

    I was blaming the lush gardens of Astor Court for our mosquito problems on W 89th!
    Now my family knows I am not crazy. I noticed this since we came back in early September from being away all summer.

  2. Nostradamus says:

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of brain-dead liberals.

  3. flashman1854 says:

    This is all Bush’s fault.

  4. Flashman1854 says:

    People, you need DDT.

    Plus, you might investigate the OWS crowd, they invaded your city, God knows what they brought with them.

  5. Snake says:

    Have a product that kills the larva. Simply put it in the water and where there are mosquito larva, they die. Non toxic, but will they use it NO. Using it in Africa.


    1. flashman1854 says:

      DDT, use this.

  6. forrest says:

    The radical left lied about DDT and millions upon millions died because of it.

  7. How about some personal responsibility?

    This country was founded on the principle of limited government basically just enough to protect your Inalienable rights.

    Taking care of these insects is your problem unless perhaps you can somehow claim that the owner of the sewers where they breed is somehow liable.

  8. Jim Shores says:

    I will bet that these critters are the infamous “Bill Gates Specials” that have a “vaccine” to inject in the useless eaters he claims 80% of us are.

  9. TeeHee says:

    Wait, are they talking about OWS or real mosquitoes?

  10. jim matvia says:

    Their probably from Florida just on vacation!

  11. George says:

    Only FEMALE mosquitoes bite for blood.
    Only FEMALE fire ants sting.
    Only FEMALE Black Widows are dangerous.
    I wish I would have taken the hint when I was young, unmarried, childless, and had all the disposable income I could spend.

  12. HiHeels says:

    NYC snow and mosquito , lice and bedbug, liberals and commies..
    ahh they all go together like biscuits and honey.. have a nice day

  13. JMWinPR says:

    What is the difference between a Upper West Side Liberal and a mosquito?
    One is a blood sucking parasite, and the other is an insect.
    As liberals evolve, do they become mosquitoes?

  14. Rick O'Shea says:

    Now this is a hilarious story. What if the people in the south were waiting for the government to come along to finally spray for mosquitos? We would all be sucked dry.

  15. amplitude jones says:

    do you new yorkers know why debbie wasserpig shulz did not come to support occupy wall street? Because she knew she would arrive and folks would say- quick- wring out her hair and we have oil to make french fries with! Anyone donate me a potato?

  16. amplitude jones says:

    people! Do not panic! If every living being in New York Died from mosquito bites, it would be fewer Americans lost than during a slow war day in Iraq!
    But wow- think of how many fewer democrat SLIME we would be infested with!

  17. Deborah J Jones says:

    I have had them bite me also. I live on the upper east side by the east river on 1st avenue. I though I had bed bugs but found none. I have been bitten 6 times and was wondering if the bites were mosquitoes.. Well this news report confirms it however I have not seen them but I have huge lumps from their bites..

  18. SirGareth says:

    I hope none of you are swatting these “endangered species” you are committing a federal crimbe if you are.

  19. The Realist says:

    This is an outrage!! This is the Upper West Side. We’re too good for mosquitoes. The City MUST devote limitless resources to moving the mosquitoes to someplace that actually deserves them, like Brooklyn.

  20. rbblum says:

    Surely the NYC sewer skeeter is on the endangered list and should be protected at all costs . . . at least by the efforts of Cass Sunstein.

  21. ohiowordguy says:

    Oooohhh…I thought this was gonna be an article on OWS.

    Wrong species of parasitic bloodsuckers. My bad.

  22. rufus levin says:



  23. JP says:

    Do something for yourselves instead of looking to have the GOVT help you. Pour some water in the dry drains so the traps are full and then add a few drops of oil to eliminate the pests. Jeeze no one knows how to help themselves., Easier to complain and point the finger.

  24. GarandFan says:

    Get a can of 20W oil and flush it down the toilet. Screw the government. Those bureaucrats won’t do a thing until they are personally bothered.

  25. Scarlet Rose says:

    All for the sake of the “HEALTHY BAN” on DDT. Good for the DIMS, let them enjoy their own Harvest.

  26. be da truth says:

    The Upper West Side, well that’s great it couldn’t have happened to a better group of Rich Ubber Liberals.
    I’d donate something to help them breed.

  27. Isis201 says:

    genocide comes to mind

  28. Carl Curmudgeon says:

    Sucking blood that’s not their own,
    Parasites who are well-known,
    See their obsession,
    It’s their profession,
    Lawyers from the Twilight Zone.

  29. desert says:

    History repeats itself……the first of the “7 plagues”!!!

  30. hero by ny standards says:

    Like the errant jets about 10 yrs ago, these are all judgments. It’s you Gothamites and Sodomites who ignore your ways. Have a nice day.

  31. BILLO says:


  32. MrCymatics says:

    Another sign the end is near………….When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come and see!” I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

  33. american says:

    Maybe try some chitinase-containing soap like Safe2Use, pour gallons of it down the drains and flush it down the toilets.

  34. Swahili Sue says:

    Mosquitoes are vector insects, meaning they will infect you with any number of gruesome diseases. If you take MSM (sulphur) powder, they will not bite you. Stay away from sweet drinks and sugar as they are attracted to the carbon dioxide you put off when on them. Good Luck!

  35. Common Tater says:

    In California we’ve had very aggressive mosquitos that are out in the dead of winter — unusual — and they’re EXTREMELY aggressive. It’s my belief that these are the laboratory genetically modified mosquitoes, outfitted with the latest bioweapon… probably along the lines of Lyme Disease Complex or maybe Ebola.

  36. AlexU says:

    OMG!!! Residents actually had to kill the insects themselves? What’s the world coming to when the government won’t even come in a swat the mosquitoes for you. Why next they might refuse to wipe your butts.

  37. John Sheridan says:

    The city can go after salt, fars, tax drinks, ban smoking even outdoors, but not keep the city owned sewer system safe from infesting citizens homes. Typical fascist government policy.

  38. Mr Poon says:

    Past time to bring DDT back.

  39. TheRealKingMax says:

    You are posting comments too quickly; slow down!

    1. mrunpc says:


  40. mrunpc says:

    How about if you all construct a massive tube to funnel the little blood sucker’s from their sewer system housing complex to the Flea Squatters down town.

    Then when all the mosquitoes die from food poisoning, the enviro-Nazis can arrest the Flea Squatters and cart them away to the toxic waste dumps. Now that would be fun to watch.

    ANTI-Obama/Democrat/Commie/Union stickers, etc.

  41. mrunpc says:

    C’mon you “Yorkie Libs”, you all keep voting for Communists (aka: Democrats) to coddle, protect, and feed you from cradle to grave. You all buy into the biggest hoax in world history called man made global warming. So reap what you sow with your earth first loony mentality and learn to live with your natural brethren.

    Even though they like sucking the blood out of you, at least they’re not sucking what little money you have out of your pockets like those you vote for.

    Hmm. Maybe I should be careful here as you CommieCrats might take that to think that the little blood suckers are Republican operatives.

    ANTI-Obama/Democrat/Commie/Union stickers, etc.

  42. Schmellma Arss says:

    Hmmmmm ……… Upper West Side …….. rich people getting bitten by mosquitoes ……. little bloodsuckers biting bigger bloodsuckers and their little spawn ……. hey, maybe those mosquitoes are part of the “Occupy Wall Street” crew !?!?!?!?

  43. Matti says:

    We have these in Brooklyn, too! My son and I are both allergic to mosquito bites… poor kid looks like he has chicken pox 😦 DO SOMETHING, MAYOR BLOOMBERG!

    1. AlexU says:

      I suggest “Deep Woods OFF”

  44. FRANK MCQUE says:


  45. Richard Pollack says:

    Whereas these mosquitoes may be an annoyance, this is a minor and relatively easily rectified problem. For more insight on these mosquitoes, their ecology and public health significance, and on meaningful strategies to intervene, visit: https://identify.us.com/weblog/index.html

  46. qwerty says:

    Have a BLEACH DAY! Designate a day over a weekend and have people dump 1-2 gallons of bleach down their toilets over a several hour period.

    Bleach will kill off the mosquitos, larvae and anything else down in the sewers. $2 worth of generic store brand bleach.

    If you wait for government to act, it is too late!

    Problem > Solution!

  47. Ira Plopkins says:

    Genetically-modified mosquitoes are being bred for a variety of purposes — some of which can have unintended and dire consequences. Welcome to the world of gene splicing, nanotechnology and human guinea pigs. It wouldn’t be the first time New Yorkers were used in experiments. Look up “Subway + Virus”. Most New Yorkers, despite their self-touted “street wisdom”, haven’t a clue.

  48. Jack P says:

    Wake up people. Gov’t will not because they cannot protect you from anything. Actually we need protection from the corrupt gov’ts that operate in every town, city, state, etc. The most corrupt is the federal gov’t but that is a story for another day.

  49. roger says:

    As an engineer, I can think of no good reason not to expect the city to fix this. Apparently, there is standing water in the storm sewers, and this is a year round breeding ground for this pest. Of course, the sewers should not have standing water but they are old and need attention. There is nothing the homeowner can do except seal off their house from the outside, and that too is difficult in old houses, but it can be done.
    I would throw a bug bomb or two into the sewers every couple of days until the city gets around to fixing this. On the bright side, at least they do not have to worry about too much salt on their fries. Thanks, Bloomy!

    1. 84th Street resident says:

      Thanks Roger. It took some reading to finally discover your post, offering some actionable information. UGC (“user generated content”) works!

      The bomb idea applied to the open pothole on our street (that plumbs to 18ft) should have an impact on at least that location until the city seals it off (or as some would prefer we grab the asphalt buckets and hot tar ourselves.)

      Not that we don’t appreciate the ‘roll up your sleeves’ sentiment expressed by a few. We on 84th Street have been fighting this problem quietly since fall 2010, when they first invaded our homes until finally disappearing in mid-Dec. Cracks were filled, basements and pipeways sealed, standing water eliminated, larvacide pellets applied around the yards, even condensation trays under refrigerators got the bleach treatment. We also consulted “vector specialists working for the DEP, AMNH and a local university. But to no avail — for exactly the reason you mention, standing water, not in the sewer pipes themselves, but in the vast underground network of chaseways that thread throughout the city.

      So a big thank you to Dave Carlin, CBS and Assemblywoman Rosenthal for taking it out of quiet mode and into the light so we can see how many other city neighborhoods are affected. First results are in and it appears to stretch from Morningside Heights to Brooklyn.

      Time for the mayor to show his stuff. Or at least stop by any block on the UWS for a night’s rest…without the netting.

      1. Richard Pollack says:

        If mosquitoes arrived from outside the home, then there must still be an opportunity that allows their entry. If they are developing within the home, then you and the consultants have failed to discover their source. The network of subterranean vaults is likely the source. There are no practical or sustainable ways to ‘treat’ those areas. Pouring bleach or pesticides down the drains won’t likely have any effect, and it would violate good sense as well as regulations. You and your neighbors need to locate places where your home connects to those underground networks, then plug the openings. There are methods to find such entry points.

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