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NY’s Flying Terrors: 8 Most Lethal Animals

When you think of pesky critters in New York, you likely picture rats . Although these animals flood the city and subway system, they’re not the biggest threat. There are a plethora of dangerous flying creatures in New York that you should be aware of!

Some of these pose a risk to plants in your yard, the structure of your home, and even your health. Let’s take a look at which winged creatures you’ll want to steer clear of the next time you’re in the Empire State.

The Most Dangerous Flying Creatures in New York

1. Assassin Bug
The wheel bug is one of the most common types of Assassin bugs in New York.©samray/

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With a name like Assassin Bug , there’s no wonder why this critter is on this list. Although the family includes a few species that feed on blood, the majority of assassin bugs are moderately-sized predators of agricultural pests.

If touched improperly, even helpful predators of insects like Assassin bugs can cause an agonizing bite that may end in an irritation that lasts for several days. Although they prefer to attack little flying insects, they can also capture and kill medium-sized caterpillars and other comparable insects as they stand in wait for their victim.

The wheel bug, an enormous, imposing insect distinguished by its neck crest that resembles a saw’s rotating blade, and ambush bugs, which are comparatively small, well-camouflaged, and formerly classified into a separate family, are both members of the assassin bug family.

2. Spotted Lanternfly
Like other bugs on this list, the Spotted Lanternfly feeds on fruit.©Jay Ondreicka/

The spotted lanternfly , often known as SLF, is an invasive Asian insect pest that mostly attacks trees of heaven but is capable of attacking a wide range of other plants, including a wide variety of trees.

Although the entire effects of spotting lantern flies are not yet known, it is believed that they will have a detrimental influence on the food and tourism sectors as well as perhaps have an adverse effect on New York’s woods.

Even though these animals are dangerous to your trees and garden, they don’t pose a threat to humans. They can fly up to 100 miles in a single day and like other bugs, they are attracted to light. You’ll most likely find them on trees that get a lot of sun.

3. European Cherry Fruit Fly
The yellow marking and unique bands on their wings make it easy to identify these fruit flies.©Tomasz Klejdysz/

As the name suggests, this next flying terror is a danger to anyone who has cherry trees or leaves fruit out in the their home. In North America, the European cherry fruit fly is a relatively recent invader.

The translucent wings have four distinctive blue-black stripes, and the body is black with yellow patterns on the head and thorax. Adult females like to lay their eggs in ripening fruit. Because of this, it’s best to avoid leaving fruit out on the counter or even in cupboards.

Fruit can be damaged by the scars left by this fruit fly, but larval feeding, feces, and burrowing in the flesh of the fruit are the main causes of damage. Fruit that is infected with parasites may soften too soon, get brown patches, wilt or shrivel, and then fall from the tree.

As the larvae leave the fruit, exit holes are evident. If feeding damage is not managed, fruit losses could reach 100%. This can be detrimental to farmers in New York.

4. Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald Ash Borer live throughout the southern portion on New York.©Herman Wong HM/

Although the bright shimmering-green insect is the size of a penny, it can destroy ash trees that are thousands of times bigger than it. The average adult is roughly half an inch long. Typically, females lay their eggs within a few days of the adult insects leaving infestations on trees in the month of May.

The larvae eat through the ash tree’s bark and leave noticeable tracks as they do so. Because of the feeding, the tree’s capacity to transfer both nutrients and water is disrupted, which causes dieback and bark splitting.

Ash trees are among the most important and common woodland species in North America. It is estimated that there are up to nine billion ash trees in North America with 900 million of them in New York alone.

While bigger trees with infestations may thrive for up to four years, smaller trees can die as quickly as a year or two following infestation.

5. Asian Longhorned Beetle
There are fine hairs all around the Asian Longhorned Beetle.©SIMON SHIM/

Let us introduce you to another dangerous flying creature in New York. Native to Asia, the Asian Long-Horned Beetle decimates a wide variety of tree species there. New York and Chicago were the first cities in the US to discover them.

Large and noticeable, these beetles can be easily identified by their long horns or antennae. Females create oviposition chambers in the bark and branch connections of trees as well as on the trunk itself.

Large populations of beetle larvae can harm trees by girdling branches as they eat by entering the heartwood portion of the tree as they develop and degrading the state of the wood. These big wounds have heavy sap flow, and infected trees are vulnerable to secondary disease.

By tearing apart and ruining trees in parks, as well as damaging or even destroying significant forest trees, this insect has a negative impact on the ecosystem around people. People also may need to working about falling branches during windy weather. This is because of the structural deterioration of trees caused by burrowing larvae.

6. European Gypsy Moth
European Gypsy Moth are one of the most destructive moths in the world.©HWall/

Gypsy moths have returned to New York and are wreaking havoc in the Finger Lakes area. They leave behind a mass after shedding trees, and if you touch one of these pests, you could develop an itchy rash.

They normally only appear once every 10 to 15 years, but when they are here, they can wreak a lot of havoc . Gypsy moths are invasive bugs that emerge at the beginning of May as caterpillars. By July, they can reach a length of approximately three inches.

Also known as spongy moths, gypsy moths may devour up to 90% of the leaves on the trees that they attack. They mostly eat oak, popular, and birch trees. When they are in their caterpillar form, they are the most hazardous. If these caterpillars’ hairs touch your skin, it may result in an uncomfortable and irritating rash.

The rash may blister and have a similar appearance to poison ivy. The droppings left behind by the caterpillars might sometimes be a concern. Their droppings might fall from tree branches onto areas like outdoor spaces, decks, and roadways throughout their active eating time.

7. Mosquitoes
West Virginia is the state with the least amount of mosquitoes.©samray/

When it pertains to flying insects, New York City has been ranked as one of the worst cities in the country. The five boroughs had the third-highest number of mosquito control operations done between April 2022 and March 2023, based on information gathered by Orkin.

Although mosquitoes are typically seen as a bothersome pest, they are capable of infecting humans and some animals with viruses. In fact, mosquitoes are the most dangerous animal in the world. These viruses, such as West Nile , carry the risk of disease and even fatality.

The best thing you can do is avoid wearing scents in lotion, perfume, and deodorant. Wear long clothing that covers your skin, and avoid any bodies of water such as swamps.

8. Bats
Big brown bats can be spotted in parks around the city.©Jay Ondreicka/

From Manhattan to Albany, you can see many kinds of bats soaring around on balmy evenings in summer and hibernating in attics during chilly winter months. The state of New York is no stranger to bats.

There are six different species of bats that can be found in New York State, but three are the most common. All around the state, you can find Indiana bats, little brown bats , and big brown bats.

Although bats won’t outright attack a person, they can be incredibly dangerous if they bite you. If you ever find a bat, never attempt to remove it from the area yourself. Call animal control and have a professional do it to avoid exposure to rabies.

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