For many homeowners, flying ants is a stuff of nightmares. Yes, you may have dealt with houseflies, wasps, fruit flies, and other flying insects in the past but flying ants are an altogether different cup of tea. While these flying pests can cause you no harm, they can be a real nuisance.
While crawling ants are a common sight, not many homeowners have encountered their flying counterparts—yet. So, what are flying ants? They are ants with wings that are getting ready to breed. This may sound frightening but there are several ways you can control the flying ants that make their way into your house.
Although it can be a frustrating experience for some, there are ways homeowners can get rid of the flying ants in their house and prevent them from doing what they are there to do i.e. mate and multiply. Here, we will look at the different ways to get rid of flying ants.
However, before we do that, it is important to discuss a few important things including how to identify flying ants, the difference between flying ants and flying termites, and what flying ants are attracted to. Let’s begin.
How to Identify Flying Ants
Before you start to get your weapons out to kill or get rid of flying ants, make sure that you’re dealing with this breed of ants and not some other insect. The very first thing that you need to know about flying ants is that they are not a genetic mutation of an ant. Instead, there is a very good reason for their existence.
Referred to as by ‘alates’ by entomologists, flying ants are simply ants that are sexually mature. Created by the queen, the flying ants are reproductives of an ant colony. These reproductives are then allowed to develop inside of the colony till they mature; when the colony is ready to expand again, these matured ants take center stage.
Comprising of both male and female ants, the mature flying ants fly in order to mate, also known as a ‘nuptial flight’, and they gather in large clusters. This is referred to as swarming and the basic purpose of this is to keep predators away. Once they flying ants have done their job i.e. mated, they return to their nest or find a new one.
One differentiating factor between flying ants and other flying insects is that they not bite; this means that they do not pose any direct danger to humans. Nevertheless, they are a nuisance and thus need to be removed from any house they enter to breed.
However, you must be sure that the flying insects inside your house are flying ants and not any other pest. Often, flying ants are mistaken for flying ants because they look quite similar. However, there are a few major differences between the two types of flying insects which will allow you to separate them and find out what insect you’re dealing with. The differences between flying ants and flying termites are discussed next.
The Differences Between Flying Ants and Flying Termites
Although they are a common sight across the U.S today, many American homeowners confuse flying ants with flying termites. This is because both these creatures have some strikingly similar physical characteristics. Therefore, at first glance, you may not be 100 percent sure if you are dealing with a flying ant or a flying termite.
However, you can determine this by taking a closer look at the flying pest. There are a few distinctive qualities that distinguish a flying ant from a flying termite and vice versa. The most noticeable feature of a flying ant that makes it different from a flying termite is its thin waist; another key differentiating characteristic is its bent antennae. Additionally, the flying ant has a smaller set of hind wings and two differently sized wings.
On the other hand, a flying termite has a wide waist, a straight antenna, and equally sized wings on both sides. Also, the wings on a flying termite are extremely delicate and they break when the insect makes a landing.
In addition to the above, the body of a flying ant has a darker shade than that of a flying termite. Differentiating between these two types of flying insects is important because it can indicate the level of urgency you need to show to the problem.
While flying ants can be a nuisance and create a mess in your house, flying termites can cause structural damage to your property. If you’re dealing with the latter, then you will need to act quickly to save your house from damage. Also, the methods for getting rid of the flying pests in your house will differ based on what insect you’re dealing with: flying ants or flying termites.
If it is flying ants that have made their way into your house, then you must do everything you can to prevent an ant infestation in your home. Perhaps, the best place to start is finding out what the flying ants are attracted to.
What Flying Ants are Attracted To
One flying ant in your home is an indication that many more will appear soon. When they are ready to mate, flying ants will swarm any location that they find suitable for breeding. While the mating period of flying is brief, it can leave behind a lot of mess in your house.
Therefore, you need to take all the measures that keep these flying pests from entering your property. One of these measures is making sure your house is free of or has a limited presence of everything that the flying ants are attracted to. What do these things include? They include the following:
Certain Types of Sites Within a House
When it is time for mating, flying ants will often make the journey to higher ground to accomplish their mission. Therefore, sites in a house that are commonly infested by these flying pests include towers, treetops, or chimneys.
In this case, you should cut down any big trees in your backyard before summertime, which is generally the time flying ants look to mate. Additionally, you can cover the chimney in your house from the outside to prevent the flying ants from entering your property.
In addition to the above, some flying ants can set up colonies within apartment buildings; these colonies are typically present near the foundation of the building which can often develop cracks. The flying ants make their way into apartments inside the building through these cracks. Make sure to seal or eliminate these sites on your property to prevent the flying ants from entering your house.
Certain Food Items Kept in the Kitchen
Like many other insects, including their crawling counterparts, flying ants have a great liking for sweet food items such as sugar and honey. Therefore, you must keep all sweet food items in your pantry or kitchen tightly sealed within a jar or container.
In addition to the above, you must mop your floor and wipe your kitchen counters clean to ensure there are no leftovers of the sweet products in your kitchen. This will help to avoid an ant trail in your home. Another important thing to do is clear your yard of fallen branches and tree stumps. Why is it important? Because woody materials are a favored settlement for flying ants.
If you ensure that your house is free of or has a limited presence of the above-mentioned things, then there is a very good chance that flying ants will not enter your house to mate. In case that does not happen, and the flying ants enter your house, you must get rid of them as quickly as possible to avoid an ant infestation in your house. So, how do you get rid of flying ants in your house? All the details and instructions are provided next.
How to Get Rid of Flying Ants That Enter Your House
If you’ve seen a cluster of flying ants in your house, then there is some bad news for you: your ant problem is bigger than you think. If you find a swarm of flying ants in your house, then it is a sign that a colony of flying ants is maturing nearby and that is been around for some time.
While the stay of flying ants in your home is short-lived, a few hours in some cases, you must start searching for a nest near your house at the first sign of flying ants inside your house. Maybe it is the walls of your house that are infested. This is often a case of severe infestation and hiring an exterminator to get rid of the flying ants might be necessary.
While the flying ants won’t damage your house or cause you any physical harm, they will look for place within your property to build a colony where their ‘reproductives’ can mature. Additionally, the mature ants can enter your kitchen, bedroom, or living room through any cracks or window gaps in your house.
So, how to get rid of flying ants in your house? regardless of how they’ve made their way into your house, you can get rid of the flying ants in your house by using the following remedies:
Seal the Cracks of Your Home
Even if you have already spotted a couple of flying ants in your house, you should wait a bit before getting your anti-flying ant gear out to get rid of these pests. You may be able to prevent them from infesting your house by simply taking some preventive measures. One of these measures is sealing the cracks of your home.
Start by finding the source of the few flying ants in your house. This basically means finding the colony of these flying ants near your house. If you find the source near your house and within your property, make sure to seal any cracks in your walls, windows, and baseboards. Also, close any window gaps in your house
By doing the above, you will stop flying ants from entering your house in the house. In case you are unable to find the colony or source of the flying ants in your house, caulk any areas in your house that you suspect could be proving these pests with a way in. Caulking is basically the use of a material that seals joints in many different types of structures and piping.
Use a Handheld or Full-Sized Vacuum
This remedy to get rid of flying ants in a house isn’t used often but it is extremely effective, especially if employed immediately after sighting the flying pests. Simply switch on a handheld or full-sized vacuum with an attached hose and suck the flying ants in. However, make sure to remove the vacuum bag immediately from the machine and then dispose of it somewhere far away from your home. This will ensure that the flying ants can’t find their way back inside your house.
Apply Pest Treatment
While there are many natural ways to get rid of flying ants in a house, you may want to try the conventional way of eliminating these pests from your house first. There are several pest treatments available for eliminating flying ants in your house including baits, insecticidal dust, and insecticidal sprays.
You can inject insecticidal dust where the colony of the flying ants is located. If you’re not in too much of a hurry, then you can try baits as well. After picking up the bait, a flying ant will take it to its nest. When this happens, the entire colony will be killed by the bait. However, you must ensure that the bait you’re using is designed specifically for flying ants.
The last pest treatment option that you have to eliminate the flying ants in your house is an insecticide spray; you can use this treatment on the ants that are flying around your house.
Use a Dish Soap
As mentioned above, there are some home remedies that you can try to get rid of the flying ants in your house. One of these remedies is using dish soap. Simply, mix dish soap with water and then spray it on the flying ants in your house.
This will dehydrate them and untimely kill them. This is a natural and non-toxic way of eliminating the flying ants in your house, ensuring the health and safety of your family.
Use a Sticky Tape
Using a sticky tape is an effective way to catch house flies and there is no harm in trying this home remedy on flying ants. Like most flying pests, flying ants hover around the lighting in your home. Simply place sticky tapes around the lighting in your home and the wait to catch most, if not all, of the flying ants in your house.
Use Peppermint Spray
While the smell of peppermint may seem refreshing to you, it repels all kinds of insects including flying ants. So, if you want to repel flying ants and prevent them from mating in your home, buy a peppermint spray and spray it on them.
Not only will this repel the flying pests, but it will also discourage them from trying to enter your home again. You can buy the peppermint spray from your local store or you can prepare the spray at home by adding peppermint oil to three-quarters of waters mixed with wash liquid. You can also use tea tree oil, cedarwood oil, or lavender oil if you don’t like the smell of peppermint or find it too strong for your liking.
Hold a Water Basin Directly Under Lighting Swarmed by Flying Ants
Hold a bowl, vase, or any other kind of water basin under a light source swarmed by flying ants to eliminate these pests from your house. Your arms may start to tire but make sure you hold the water basin for no less than two to three minutes. Eventually, the ants will fly low and when they do, they will crash into the basin.
Once the flying ants are inside the basin, their wings will get stuck in the suds and they will eventually drown. The wider the mouth of the basin, the greater your chances of catching the flying ants will be. So, make sure to use a water basin with a wide mouth to get rid of the flying ants in your house.
Poison the Ants
If all else fails, you have the option of poisoning the flying ants. Although it is an extreme and somewhat dangerous remedy to get rid of the ants, poisoning the flying ants in your house will keep them. You can then sweep off the flying ants that lie dead on the floor before disposing of them off in the garbage. You can place the poison in the location of your house where the flying ants are present or near the colony of the flying ants which will help to kill them all, preventing any future invaders.
Although they are not dangerous and cause no physical harm, flying ants are a source of annoyance and they can quickly infest your home. Since no one wants their home to be a breeding space for flying pests, it is best to get rid of flying ants in a home as soon as they are spotted. How to get rid of flying ants in your house is explained in great detail above.