EAST ELMHURST — Traffic isn't the only thing driving LaGuardia Airport workers crazy.
The start of construction on a multi-billion-dollar renovation has set off a mosquito invasion, with the bugs buzzing around employees throughout their shifts, they say.
“It’s been very annoying. They’re everywhere when you’re walking around,” Michael Vazquez, 30, a customer service agent at Terminal B, told DNAinfo.
He said the bloodsuckers began flying around once construction started, and the stretch of warm weather a few weeks ago made things worse.
“It’s on another level,” he said.
In his three years working at the airport, he's never seen a problem like this.
Cynthia Damora, who handles baggage at the terminal, said the aggressive bugs have harassed employees and travelers.
“They fly in front of your face like they want to kiss you,” she said. “I have a lot of bites.”
Their management put up lights to deter the bugs, but it “made things worse,” she said.
The infestation is particularly troublesome as the Department of Health has put out travel-related warnings about the Zika virus —which can be spread through mosquitoes.
While the majority of cases come from travelers to Zika-affected countries, it’s still a concern for airport workers.
Another employee directing passengers to taxi lines at Terminal B, who declined to give his name, said they complained but the problem wasn't fixed.
A spokesman for Gateway Partners, the consortium of partners working on the construction, said mosquitoes have always been a problem at the airport.
A rainy spring made the problem worse, the spokesman said, but they've also taken steps to help fix the issue.
"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," he said.
Vazquez said he's trying to stay focused on work — and had one solution to getting rid of the bugs.
“Give me a fly swatter, I'll whack all these things all day," he said.