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How to Get Rid of Flying Ants? (aka Swarming Ants)

How to Get Rid of Flying Ants? (aka Swarming Ants)

Ants marching in your kitchen and garden are a nuisance enough. Just imagine if these ants start flying at these places around you? Ants are mostly seen as pedestrians as they follow each other’s trails to look for food. But we tend to see flying ants too, especially fire, carpenter, and sugar ants.

They are also called “swarming” ants as during late spring or early summer, wings grow on adult ants and they leave their colonies to go for mating. Go through this article carefully so that you can get rid of these swarming ants and prevent them to grow in their nests near you, in the future.

The Guidelines in this Page:

  • Why Do Ants Have Wings?
  • Flying Ants Versus Flying Termites
  • Flying Ants Inside your House
  • Flying Ants Outside your House
  • How to Get Rid of These Winged Ants?
  • Hold a Basin of Water Directly Under a Swarmed Light Source
  • Finally…

Why Do Ants Have Wings?

What are wings for? To fly, of course. Ants do fly as they have the ability to do so but only once a year, for a specific reason. During the months of July and August, you tend to watch a lot of flying ants.

Queen ants stay alive for more than 10 years in the nests. Newborn queens subsequently after becoming adults leave their nests, to mate and form new colonies of their own. During this time wings grow on them.

The drone ants are male ants that are different from the working ants as they too like the queens do not work. They take an active part in reproduction during the mating season, and wings are grown on them too.

They are called alate. Queen ants mate with the drone ants for reproduction. The drone ant dies after the reproduction process. This is a common feature for fire ants, carpenter ants, sugar ants, grease ants to name a few.

This is how an ant swarm looks like:

Do not panic when you see these flying ants for the first time. Be calm. This is a usual pest problem in households during the month of July and August. Remember the male and the female ants which are capable of reproduction, only they have wings. The female is a queen. If you see them in and around you, it means they have come to mate and form a different colony of ants.

Flying Ants versus Flying Termites

Flying ants in and around your house are annoying but it is not a serious issue as it looks like. These ants won’t cause you much harm.
A problem arises when flying termites are also seen in and around your house.

Termites cause huge damage to your home. Please find below the major physical difference in appearance between ants and termites with wings, so that you can identify and differentiate them.

Flying ants
  • Larger wings in the front than the pair at the back.
  • Antennae are elbowed.
  • Wings are short and proportionate to the body.
  • Thin waist divides the body parts distinctively.
  • Appears larger than the regular worker ants.
  • It can lose wings shortly after emergence. So reproductive ants without wings are also found.
Flying termites
  • Four wings are uniform in size.
  • Antennae are almost straight.
  • Wings are twice as long as the body.
  • Broad waist, thus the body has a uniform width.
  • It can lose wings shortly after emergence. So reproductive termites without wings are also found.

This is how a Termite swarm looks like:

The seriousness of your problem lies in only one question. “Where did you see the flying ants or the flying termites?” Let’s see how you can solve the problem in either case.

Flying Ants Inside your House

If you come across ants with wings inside your house that means you have an ant colony someplace inside your home and the colony is aiming to enlarge.

Take a quick glance at these guides so that you can tackle the problem immediately.

Read our 5 recommended Ant Baits
Read our 5 recommended Ant Sprays

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It may be true that you have never seen ants flying inside your house before. Maybe you did not notice properly or maybe that they were so ignorant in numbers that it did not catch your eyes.

They might have flown into your house through windows or doors. But now when you see them distinctly, you have to be careful. Open windows and doors are free spaces of entrance for flying ants.

Flying Ants Outside your House

Swarming ants are found mostly outside of your house, at gardens and backyards and it is very natural. After the mating is over male winged ants die of self-explosion (see Nuptial flight). The queen ant shades her wings and starts building a new colony.

Certain ants like carpenter ants are dangerous for your household during this season as they dig tunnels through the wood foundations of your house to build a colony.

Their destructive nature along with their slender bodies they are often misidentified as termites. This common error can be corrected easily with the help of a magnifying glass where you can distinctly differentiate the two types of insects.

How to Get Rid of These Winged Ants?

Ants grow wings only during their mating season. As a result, they give birth to more ants and which is not good news for you. Flying ants around you give you an indication that they have a nest either inside your house or outside your house and by any means you will have to get rid of them. But how?

Apply ant sprays on them as soon as you see them:

Strong insecticide sprays are capable of killing ants as soon as in contact. But you have to keep it in your mind that unlike other crawling ants, they are flying. Infiltrating ants inside your home can be dealt with less effort by spraying aerosol insecticide on them.

Applying the same insecticide on flying ants? That too, on one by one ant? This is tedious. Remember, now they have an advantage. They do not need to crawl fast, they can fly now!

Here are a few tips which you can use while using an aerosol spray on flying carpenter ants:

  • Make sure that you buy only that spray whose chemical content can be used only for indoors. You will definitely need to be 100% sure that the spray does not harm your children or pets.
  • Try to use chemical sprays when the house is empty of family members. Consider a time when you have the house only to yourself. You can definitely corner yourself to one particular room of the house, where you do not apply the spray and wait till the effect of spray is well spread in other parts of the house.
  • Make sure that the spray is powerful enough to kill the ants during the Nuptial flight.
  • Buy a spray nozzle that can be attached to the spray bottle so that the coverage area of application widens.

You can use homemade sprays as well. Here is a simple tip. Mix water, soap with essential oils which are effective ant repellents, pour them in a spray bottle and apply. The essential oils can be peppermint, cinnamon leaf, pine oil or lemon juice.

Use Fly Sticky Tape:

Sticky tapes are generally used for house flies but they are effective for winged ants as well. They are really effective if you are trying to spend a peaceful evening with no airborne insects around you. All insects are attracted to any illuminated objects.

It could be a lighted bulb or a well-lit lantern. They generally glide around these light sources. The easiest way to get rid of these annoying flying insects is to apply sticky tapes on light bulbs, lanterns, lamps or any source of light. They fly near them, get stuck to the sticky tapes and eventually die of heat.

Hold a Basin of Water Directly Under a Swarmed Light Source

Ants are intelligent insects. They can predict their life-threatening and can retreat long before they can smell the danger. But somehow winged ants become positively phototactic, get mesmerized when they see a light source.

Place a bowl half-filled with water with a pinch of dishwashing liquid, underneath the swarmed light source. You will see the flying ants are diving to your bowl, some dead and some burnt of heat.

Few surviving ants will not be able to make their way as the liquid sticky mixture in your bowl eventually will let them sink. The larger surface area of the bowl allows more flying ants to fall in it.

Finally…

The information mentioned above caters to temporary solutions and will never be effective, in getting winged ants eliminated permanently. The nearby nest will give birth to more and more of them.

You might be relieved for a short period of time but they will keep on flying inside or outside of your house in no time. You cannot carry out this exhausting exercise for the season after season.

It is better that you blow a final strike to them so that they never come back. Winged ants as mentioned earlier, are adult ants and incline to reproduce. Consider swarming as a signal that there is an ant infestation in and around your house.

Try finding an ant who is not swarmer, follow its trail and you will find the nest. But some swarming ants tend to lose their wings even after emerging. This might confuse you.

Even if you do not find the colony, try to locate the point of entrance to your house for these ants. Place ant baits along the trail and ants will carry them to the nest. This may exterminate the whole colony.

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