NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Anyone who stops by LaGuardia Airport these days is complaining that the mosquito population is out of control.
As CBS2’s Jessica Borg reported, the swarms of mosquitoes are not just a problem outside.
“I just killed one and shooed one away on the floor,” said Toby John, who flew in from Dallas.
At a retail store inside Central Terminal B, employees were spraying DEET to keep the insects away.
“I’ve gotten a few bites on my legs, a few on my arms,” said employee Lionetta Oyinsin.
It is not surprising that mosquitoes have become an issue. The airport is right on the water.
But workers said the $4 billion construction site has made it worse in recent weeks.
“I believe it’s because of all the puddles and stuff because of the construction and stuff like that,” said airport worker Amaury Vargas. “I think that’s what’s attracting it.”
Vargas is one of the managers who oversees cleaning crews at LaGuardia. He said he has been getting complaints.
“The ones that are dealing with the garbage and stuff like that, those are the ones that have mostly been complaining,” he said.
The baggage claim area is especially bad.
“Sometimes, mosquitoes, they come at daytime or nighttime,” one worker said.
A New York City Health Department spokesperson tells the New York Post the insect swarm may have been caused by a combination of new construction at the airport and close proximity to the Flushing Bay.
LaGuardia Gateway Partners, which operates Terminal B, also blamed the rainy spring and says it has brought in exterminators.
“When the mosquito issue was raised, LaGuardia Gateway Partners took additional steps including fumigating key terminal areas, installing industrial electronic bug zappers in several back of house locations; power-washing and deep-cleaning the loading dock area; and eliminating standing water in areas within the terminal,” they said in a statement. “LaGuardia Gateway Partners takes the health and safety of our passengers and terminal employees seriously and will continue to adopt mosquito mitigation practices through summer time, and as long as they are needed.”
Mosquito control expert Gil Bloom said the precautions are crucial – particularly eliminating standing water. New York-area mosquitoes are not believed to carry the Zika virus, but they can carry other diseases.
“We still do have West Nile virus, which is carried by the Culex mosquitoes, which are also present in great numbers,” said Bloom, of Standard Pest Control.
The Department of Health advises wearing insect repellant, and wearing long sleeves after getting off a flight at LaGuardia.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)