Flying ants are fearsome pests that, although harmless, can be irritating or frightening when swarming. For this reason, many people wonder how to get rid of flying ants and what you can do to prevent them from invading your property.
Flying ants are the fertile male and female ants that leave the nest to found a new colony. Due to their nature, they tend to swarm and congregate to reproduce. For many of the same reasons ants enter the home, flying ants are attracted to food, shelter, and a safe space to multiply. It is therefore important to learn how to get rid of ants and flying ants to protect your home and yard from the nuisance they cause.
We spoke to experts to find out what attracts flying ants and how you can get rid of them for good.
How to get rid of flying ants
“While they can be annoying and alarming in large numbers, flying ants cause no damage and disappear, usually as quickly as they appear, usually within hours,” says Paul Blackhurst, technical academy manager at Rentokil. Pest Control. (opens in a new tab). “They provide birds with a timely opportunity to find food for their young, and their increased numbers could be seen as a positive sign for our natural ecosystems.
“After experiencing an extended period of warm weather across the country, we see large numbers of flying ants taking flight, as they emerge from hiding to search for a suitable mating partner.”
Although these bugs are great outdoors, once they enter your home they can damage insulation or become a hazard around your food. Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of flying ants if they entered your home before they established a colony inside your property.
1. Block Entry Points
Unlike carpenter ants, flying ants usually stay outdoors where they can burrow into the ground and mate in the air. When they end up in your home, however, chances are they entered by accident.
The entry point for flying ants can be as simple as an open window or broken vent, or something harder to find like a crack or hole. It is important to completely seal these entrances preferably before the swarms start so that insects are not trapped in your home.
Closing these entry points after they enter your space will help keep more intruders out, but you’ll need to use other means to remove any remaining pests from your property.
If flying ants have swarmed through your home or taken up residence on your surfaces, using a vacuum cleaner is the most effective way to remove large areas at once.
If you’re using the vacuum cleaner method, it’s a good idea to empty the vacuum into an outdoor trash can or hedge (as long as there are no other debris in the vacuum) as soon as they have been collected to prevent them from ending up inside your home. .
3. Use pesticides or insect repellents
Although not as quick a fix as vacuuming, spraying with natural pesticides or your own homemade insect repellents can help eliminate flying ants as well as crawling ants. When using these sprays indoors, be sure to use a non-toxic variety and spray with caution to protect your furniture and your lungs.
A natural spray can be one part liquid dish soap, two parts water, and a few drops of peppermint oil. Strong-smelling mint flavors are one of the many smells that ants hate and will deter them from taking up residence in or around your home. This solution makes it possible to immobilize the ants and possibly dehydrate and suffocate them.
4. Remove the colony
The most effective way to permanently get rid of flying ants is to attack the source. As with any pest infestation, it will be difficult to eliminate insects permanently without eliminating their home and breeding ground. If you are able to locate the general area of the colony, set up a bait trap to eliminate the colony in one fell swoop.
To make a bait trap, mix any sweet substance like honey or molasses with borax. Worker ants will collect this bait and bring it back to the nest where it will kill the colony.
An alternative is to use insecticidal dust which can be injected into the colony. This requires you to know the exact location of the colony and its tunnels, so it’s best to leave it to a professional exterminator to ensure the desired result without harming you or your garden ideas.
5. Hire a professional
Professional pest controllers can help get rid of any pest infestations, however, in the case of flying ants, they are likely to be gone again within hours of it taking someone to call home. you. If however, you have located a troublesome colony, they can take care of it for you. If, however, they are not a problem for you, leave the flying ants alone, as they are an important part of the ecosystem and excellent food for wild birds.
What attracts flying ants to your home?
Flying ants are drawn to your home for many of the same reasons as regular ants: food and moisture to bring back to their colony. If you find flying ants around your home, it’s a sign that the nearby colony is well established and secure enough to produce breeding ants.
Ants can harbor houses in almost any dark, hidden corner, so it’s worth checking to see if the colony is in your garden or somewhere in or under the house itself.
How to prevent flying ants
Like getting rid of termites, getting rid of water bugs, and getting rid of grasshoppers, the trick to preventing an infestation is to eliminate or cover its food source. Make sure food is in containers around the house and any spills or crumbs are cleaned up immediately. It is also recommended not to leave pet food outside, as this can encourage pests to enter your home.
It is also advised that any cracks or holes in your property are sealed and covered to prevent insects from entering. This includes, among other things, around windows, doors and baseboards.
What is “Flying Ants Day”?
“The term ‘Flying Ants Day’ is often mistakenly thought to occur as this annual event occurs within the span of just one day, but in reality it occurs sporadically in different parts of the country as the weather conditions and the temperature are good,” says Paul. “This natural phenomenon is actually a survival tactic designed to overwhelm potential predators such as swifts and gulls. Mating takes place on the wing between the fertile male (the smallest flying ant) and the unmated female (the largest flying ant). Once mating is complete, the two will fall to the ground where the male dies and the new queen, now fertile, loses her wings and then begins to bury herself underground to form a new nest.
Should I kill flying ants?
Although swarming flying ants can be scary, it is important to remember that they are ideal for outdoor settings. For this reason, it’s wise to leave flying ants alive when you can.
If you see ants flying outside and away from your property, it is best to leave them alone. However, when flying ants have entered your home, exterminating the pests may be one of the few ways to get them out of your home.
How long do flying ants stay?
Flying ants can stay for several weeks, but the insect itself only lives for a few days. Hatchings and swarms of flying ants can vary in size and time of year, although if they have hatched in your home or yard you should expect to see these insects for several weeks unless you you get rid of it.