9 Common NYC Apartment Bugs That You Should Know

A variety of bugs infest homes and apartments in big cities. And New York City is no exception. 

In this guide, you’ll find the most common NYC apartment bugs that bug the living daylights of New Yorkers. 

Some of the bugs on the list carry infestation risks, bacteria that can cause diseases, and irritating itches. 

Some are a nuisance. 

You’ll also find some actionable tips on protecting your NYC apartment from bug invasion. 

So, if you’re a New York City resident or looking forward to moving there, this guide will save you from many buggy days and nights.

Keep reading to know more.

Common NYC Apartment Bugs That Bite

For the sake of your convenience, you’ll find this post divided into two sections. 

One section is this, which contains the list of common apartment bugs in NYC that bite. 

These bugs are most common in dense neighborhoods like Manhattan and Queens.

But these invasive bugs have made their way into posh NYC locales like Noho, Nolita, Hudson Yards, and even in Tribeca.

In the following section, you’ll find bugs that typically don’t bite. And some of them carry risks of spreading infectious diseases.

So, here are the common NYC apartment bugs that bite.

Bed Bugs In NYC Apartments

Can Bed Bugs Bite through clothing

Do you know that NYC is one of the worst cities in the US for bed bug infestations? It’s in the top 10 list of America’s most bed-buggy cities.

Over the years, bed bug infestation in NYC has increased exponentially.

The reason for such a massive spike in bed bug infestation in NYC is its population. 

But the more significant reason is that many homeowners either try to cut costs by using ineffective measures to detect bed bugs. Or they fail to take action. 

And to add to it, tenants and people frequently changing apartments in NYC also spread bed bugs from one apartment to another. 

What happens when they move out from an apartment infested with bed bugs?

They transfer the bed bugs to a different apartment.

Bed bugs are efficient hitchhikers. If there’s a bed bug infestation in one apartment, they can quickly spread into the adjacent flats. 

They latch onto clothing and luggage, and they can quickly spread from one place to another. 

And bed bugs breed and spread in hundreds within a few weeks. 

With the increase in bed bug infestation in NYC, the cost of bed bug control has also skyrocketed. 

If you’re under budget and there’s a bed bug infestation, you can check our guide on how to get rid of bugs on a tight budget

Fleas In NYC Apartments

Do Fleas Drown

New Yorkers love their pets. Presently in 2021, there are 1 million pets in NYC, out of which 600,000 are dogs. 

And this number is increasing year on year.

With so many pets in NYC apartments and homes, skyrocketing fleas infestation isn’t surprising at all.

Fleas not only bite your furry family members. Fleas also bite and suck your blood. 

Fleas from your pets easily get transferred to places like your bed, couch, and floors. 

And when they’re in these places, you and your blood are the life source of the fleas. 

The most common place where fleas can bite you is your bed. 

And how do fleas get in bed?

When your pets jump onto the bed or sleep on your bed, they transfer the fleas on your bed. 

That’s why, if your pet has fleas, it’s pretty common to find fleas in soft furnishings like sofa, beds, couch, carpet, pet beds, and accent chairs.

But it’s easy to get rid of fleas in bed. To know more, you can read our post on signs of fleas in bed

It has all the information that you need to confirm if there are fleas on the bed and the steps you can take to get rid of fleas in bed. 

Biting Bird Mites In NYC Apartments

Common NYC Apartment Bugs - Bird Mites

New York City is no stranger to pigeons. There are 7 million pigeons in the city of New York.

With the increase in urbanization and population, the living spaces of pigeons have increased too.

As the population in NYC grows, so does that of pigeons. 

Pigeons feed on seeds, breadcrumbs, popcorns, and food leftovers on the streets, which are abundant in NYC.

But do you know that pigeons carry bird mites?

Bird mites are biting mites that are parasites on birds like pigeons. Bird mites are also present in the pigeons’ nests. 

And when pigeons build their nests in the apartment blocks, which is quite common in NYC, they’re also bringing in bird mites with them.

But what happens when these pigeons leave their nests?

The bird mites in the nests start to look for a new host. And that host is you.

Bird mites feed on birds’ blood. But when there’s no host nearby, they can easily bite humans and suck their blood to survive. 

On top of that, pigeons carry diseases too. 

Well, pigeons don’t bite you. They’re just looking for some food. 

Pigeons enter into apartments, looking for a place to nest.

They leave their droppings behind in areas like the kitchen and bathroom. But pigeons’ feces carry bacteria that cause diseases like histoplasmosis, which can get hold of you if you aren’t careful.

So, it’s always a wise decision to install window screens on your apartment windows to deter the entry of pigeons into your apartment and home. 

Common Ants In NYC Apartments

Ants in bedroom

If I’d told you that ants are a menace only in homes with yards or gardens, then you’d know that I’m lying. 

You, as a New Yorker, have come across ants in your apartment for sure. 

But thankfully, there are no vicious ants in NYC apartments. 

The three main types of ants in NYC apartments that bite are field ants, pavement ants, and carpenter ants

All of these ants are scavengers who’re looking for food droppings and insects in your apartment to eat. 

All of these ants bite but, except field ants, they’re not aggressive. 

Field ants bite and inject a painful venom that causes itching, swelling, and irritation. 

In contrast, pavement ants don’t leave a painful bite, but they can.

They hide and build nests inside apartments between thin cracks and fissures on the walls and the floor. 

But pavement ants do bring the risk of food contamination with them. 

Biting Mosquitoes In NYC Apartments

California Bugs That Bite - Tiger Mosquito

A few years ago, the mosquito season in NYC used to be from April to October. 

But now, the season seems to last throughout the year. 

The worst part?

Residents in NYC apartments are now observing mosquitoes in their homes during the winters

Why does that happen?

Well, experts say that the sewer lines underneath the city have become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Spraying mosquito-killing sprays and scattering larvicide in the city’s catch basins seem to be getting ineffective. 

That has resulted in a severe rise in mosquitoes.

And that’s the case not just in NYC, but cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, are facing the same mosquito menace. 

But thankfully, most of the mosquito species in New York City don’t carry any diseases except one which is the yellow fever mosquito.

The yellow fever mosquitoes, black with white stripes on it, are now active in the city. These mosquitoes can spread the West Nile virus.

So, is there any practical solution against the mosquitoes in your NYC apartment?

Indeed, there is.

The best thing you can do to stop mosquitoes from entering your apartment is to install window screens with fine meshes. 

That prevents not only mosquitoes but also bugs and beetles that are attracted to light. 

To prevent them from biting you, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquito nets are helpful, especially when you’ve got a toddler or a baby in your home.

Planting plants in pots on the balcony or inside the apartment is also a great way of keeping mosquitoes out.

Plants like lavender, marigold, eucalyptus, and basil not only make your apartment look good but also repel mosquitoes and flies.

If you can’t keep plants, then lighting up a citronella candle or lamp is a great alternative.

But candles have a small coverage of 4 feet in radius, so it’d be best if you keep multiple lamps in different corners of your apartment.

Other Common NYC Apartment Bugs

Now that you know common NYC apartment bugs that bite, it’s time to look at bugs that don’t bite. But they’re apartment invaders in NYC.

Their presence in the apartment is not only a nuisance but also an irritation.

So, here are the common bugs that New Yorkers should know.

Cockroaches In NYC Apartments

German Cockroach

Cockroaches are in most homes across the US, but in NYC, they’ve got an ideal environment to live and breed fast.

Cockroaches love humidity, and it’s an essential requirement for them to live and grow. 

Given that the summers have become quite hot and humid over the years, it caused a sharp spike in roach infestations in the NYC apartments.

In apartment buildings, German roaches and brown-banded roaches are more common than American roaches.

German roaches breed pretty fast and, if they go unchecked, their population can double within weeks. 

Cockroach infestation grows very fast. And it’s always a good idea to hire a pest controller to get rid of roaches because these bugs are hard to eliminate with DIY methods.

Beetles In NYC Apartments

Tiny brown bugs in the kitchen Foreign Grain Beetles

Three types of beetles are common in NYC apartments-carpet beetles, spider beetles, and flour beetles.

Carpet beetles damage fabrics made of animal products. 

So, woolen carpets and rugs, expensive clothes made of silk, fur, leather, and even leather shoes are at the risk of getting damaged by carpet beetles.

Carpet beetles can be black and brown with white spots on them. 

Carpet beetles enter homes and apartments through open doors and windows and gaps on the walls to lay eggs on stuff made out of animal products.

After the eggs hatch, the larvae feed and damage the fabric by creating holes in them. 

In contrast, flour beetles are pantry beetles

These beetles are brown, and they damage cereals, grains, and spices in your kitchen pantry

Unlike carpet beetles, flour beetles cannot fly. 

They can easily chew through plastic and paper packaging. That’s why flour beetles can be present in the packaged food items that you pick up from the grocery.

They lay eggs on the food. The larvae then feed on the food and discharge its feces into the food, causing damage to the food. 

Spider beetles resemble a spider, but their big curricular body distinguishes them from spiders.

Also, their heads and abdomen aren’t separated by a thorax like it is in the spiders.

Like the flour beetles, spider beetles also eat foods stored in the kitchen. 

But spider beetles can also damage fabric and wood.

All three beetles thrive in clutter and dirt. So, the best way to get rid of them is by cleaning your apartment, especially your kitchen and food pantry. 

Out of all the three beetles, the spider beetles can bite humans. But their bites are neither poisonous nor painful.

Mice And Rats In NYC Apartments

Mice and rats make our list of the common NYC apartment bugs, even though they’re not bugs. 

It’s because they’ve been infesting New York apartments for ages.

Both mice and rats have pathogens that they contract from filthy places like gutters, trash cans, and sewers.

Inside an apartment or home, mice and rats eat human food by invading the pantry and the kitchen.

That’s how they spread the bacteria and diseases.

And they can even take refuge in the closet, drawers, and wardrobe, causing severe damages.

Termites In NYC Apartments

Can you get termites from a neighbor

Termite infestation, especially infestation by subterranean termites, is on the rise in NYC.

Other parts of NY, like Long Island, Albany, Buffalo, and Rochester, are also severely hit by the rise in termite infestation.

Subterranean termites attack homes from underground. 

Most of the termite infestations in NYC apartments are because of termites spreading from one apartment block to another. 

Also, the subterranean termites swarm after rains and from March to June in NY.

It’s during this period these swarming termites sneak into apartments through the windows.

Swarming termites with wings are reproductive termites. 

They get into a home or apartment, mate, and then bore into furniture and wooden beams inside the house to start a new colony. 

Also, these swarming termites are attracted to light. 

So, during the swarming months from March to June, installing window shields and meshes keeps the termites from entering the home.

Thankfully, the more damaging termites, the drywood termites, and the Formosan termites are still not present in NYC. But they’re active in the warmer states of the US.


To summarize, here are the 9 common NYC apartment bugs that every NYC resident should be aware of.

  1. Bed bugs
  2. Fleas
  3. Bird mites
  4. Ants 
  5. Mosquitoes
  6. Cockroaches
  7. Beetles
  8. Mice and rats
  9. Termites

In this guide, you’ve also found out why and how these bugs invade NYC apartments, which are the ones that bite, and which ones carry the gravest health risks.

Keep this guide handy with you if you’re living in NYC or planning to move there. 

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