Flying ants are called winged alates and are the ones that are responsible for reproduction and establishing new colonies. During mating season — between spring and summer — they swarm in vast numbers looking for a mate.
Because there are so many of them, you may witness several entering your home. But don’t panic — they won’t hurt you. Still, there is a slight chance these flying invaders could be establishing a new ant colony somewhere within your home.
In this informative guide to winged ants, you’ll discover:
- The Best Way To Get Rid of Flying Ants Indoors
- How To Prevent Flying Ants From Re-entering Your Home
- The Differences Between Flying Ants and Termites
- How To Identify a More Significant Ant Problem
How To Get Rid of Flying Ants
You may have already heard of some ways to get rid of ants flying around in your home. However, there’s a chance you may have heard wrong, and not all of them are good. Here, our experts show you which methods work and which ones to avoid.
Vacuuming ants, whether they have wings or not, is the easiest method for eliminating them quickly. However, winged ants are typically scattered throughout the house, so it may require patience to get them all. Just be sure to empty the vacuum bag immediately so that surviving ants won’t re-enter your home.
Spraying large numbers of swarming winged ants may be necessary to remove them from porches or other outdoor areas.
First, mix some water and a few drops of dish soap in a 32-ounce spray bottle. If you desire a quicker knockdown of live insects, try adding a few drops of peppermint oil as well.
Be sure to shake the bottle vigorously so that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Then spray directly onto the ants. You may have to use a hose to remove the ones lying around, especially if you encounter swarms of them.
For smaller numbers of ants, you can use an aerosol ant killer to eliminate them quickly. Then, it’s just a matter of cleaning them up with a wet rag or sponge.
Trapping flying ants is pointless in most instances since the swarming season lasts only a short time. It’s best not to bother with sticky tapes or glue traps either since you would have to wrap your entire house with these materials to capture them all.
Also, while ant baits containing borax are generally effective for ant control, they’re ineffective for ants swarming during mating season. That is because they’re less interested in food than looking for a mate, and the chances of them entering a bait station are slim.
4. Bug Zappers
Many bug zappers on the market will take care of flying ants as well as other insects. However, not all species are going to be attracted to UV light. For that reason, it makes no sense to purchase a bug zapper strictly in anticipation of flying ants.
Instead, use them as part of a perimeter defense around your home for these common flying insects:
- Fruit flies
When To Get Help
Swarming ants typically disappear within a few weeks. However, if you suspect a new colony developing somewhere around your home, it may be time to call an exterminator or pest control company.
How To Prevent Flying Ants
Here are some practical measures you can take to kill flying ants before they enter your home. Also, we present some natural ways to limit their access that are easy and cost-effective to implement.
Limit Food Sources
Although ants fly for the sole purpose of finding a mate, they still can detect food sources within your home. For that reason, it’s preferable to seal all food containers and secure trash items in plastic bags.
Good sanitation practices are a must for keeping any pest insect away. This goes for common house ants, cockroaches, and crawling bugs as well.
Install Outdoor Bug Lights
Artificial outdoor lighting attracts flying ants more than anything, so turning them off during the swarming season is preferable. However, that strategy may leave you in the dark.
The next best thing is to replace white light bulbs with yellow outdoor bug lights. The soft yellow light attracts flying insects much less than regular bulbs.
Insecticide dusts work well to prevent winged ants from establishing satellite colonies around your home. Carpenter ants are a prime example.
Be sure to dust areas under eaves, overhangs, and roof areas. In addition, treat cracks and crevices along foundations, underneath window sills, and along door jams.
Insecticide sprays have a limited effect on flying ants since their presence is often brief and transient. Still, residual pesticides in wettable powder form can act as a repellent for most types of ants when used according to label directions.
By far, the best method for keeping ants out of your home is with mechanical exclusion. Start by replacing any torn window or door screens. Also, tighten door jambs with weatherstripping, seals, and new thresholds.
As a finishing touch, caulk areas around doors and windows. Also, it’s best to seal pipe entry points under sinks to keep invading ants and insects outside where they belong.
How To Identify Flying Ants
Ants are insects with a sophisticated social order that create vast colonies. Moreover, they can reproduce at astonishing rates.
Winged reproductives are in charge of expanding the population of a colony as well as creating new ones. You can find winged ants leaving the nest in early spring through the end of summer because the warm, humid air makes flight much easier.
In many parts of the world, such as Europe, some have dubbed the event “flying ant day.” But in reality, swarming events for most ant species can last up to three weeks.
Flying Ants vs. Termites
Both termites and ants fly at certain times of the year to increase their colonies’ populations and create new ones. Also, each creates winged reproductive alates to carry out that function. However, this is where the similarities end.
The ant’s body is narrow at the waist, whereas the termite’s body is squared off and non-segmented. The antennae are similar, but the ant’s is slightly elbowed instead of straight like the termite’s.
Both have two pairs of wings. However, the ant’s wings are unequal in length, whereas the termite’s front wings are of equal length to its back wings.
Signs & Causes of a Flying Ant Infestation
One Final Note
Winged ants are reproductive swarmers that enter your home mostly by accident. However, the presence of more than 10 of these flying ants inside your house could indicate an indoor colony. Consequently, you should call a licensed professional immediately for an inspection.
Sure, you can attempt to solve a major ant infestation using DIY methods calling for essential oils and liquid dish soap to eradicate an entire colony. But common sense dictates that won’t end very well.
It’s one thing to have a few ants wandering in from outside, and it’s another matter altogether when a satellite colony of carpenter ants takes over your entire house.