New Yorkers are facing an influx of flying insects and a smoky haze as they prepare for Independence Day celebrations.
According to experts, the pesky insects that New Yorkers are trying to swat away with limited success are aphids, not gnats, as some people had initially assumed.
While the presence of aphids poses no health risks, they do create significant inconvenience and annoyance for both residents and visitors in New York.
According to Professor David Lohman, an entomologist at the City University of New York, the current swarms of aphids in New York City are uncommon for this time of year. Typically, aphids don’t emerge until after summer. Lohman speculates that the warm winter may have played a role in their early arrival.
According to Dr. Corrie Moreau, an entomology professor at Cornell University, the soft-bodied, green or white insects emerge to facilitate reproduction. Moreau concurs with Lohman’s assessment that the unusually warm winter is responsible for the timing of their appearance.
Moreau also assured that individuals who unintentionally swallow aphids while navigating through the swarm have little reason to worry. She further emphasized the importance of wearing masks due to air quality concerns.
A swarm of insects has seemingly taken over New York with small gnat-like insects that are green . By Thursday, the insects were a hotter topic than the smoke from the Canadian wildfires & many comparing the swarm to a biblical plague.#NewYork #bugs #smoke pic.twitter.com/2RsuPM6RWi
— ∼Marietta (@MariettaDaviz) July 1, 2023
According to State University of New York entomologist Kim Adams, the influx of bugs is unlikely to be connected to the smoke from the Canadian wildfires. Adams made this observation while commenting on the recurring haze that has settled over the city.
As of Saturday afternoon, the air quality index level for New York City reached 105, which falls within the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range.
The hazy conditions and air quality concerns are not limited to New Yorkers alone.
According to Michael Wara, an energy and climate policy expert at Stanford University, the scale of people affected by the haze is unprecedented in modern times.
Air quality alerts were issued in 23 states on Thursday.
In Washington, D.C., a “code red” warning was issued on Thursday due to the return of smog.
Experts emphasize that smog and haze can pose challenges for individuals with conditions such as asthma and chronic lung diseases. They advise staying informed about local air quality reports, staying indoors as much as possible and utilizing air conditioning to help mitigate the effects of poor air quality.