Flying ants are terrifying pests that, while harmless, can be annoying or frightening when swarming. Therefore, many people wonder how to control flying ants and what you can do to prevent them from taking over your property.
Flying ants are the fertile male and female ants that leave the nest to start a new colony. Due to their nature, they tend to swarm and gather to reproduce. For many of the same reasons ants enter the home, flying ants are attracted to food, shelter, and a safe space to reproduce. It is therefore important to learn how to get rid of ants and flying ants to protect your home and garden from the nuisance they cause.
We spoke to experts to find out what attracts flying ants and how to get rid of them for good.
How to get rid of flying ants
“While they can be a nuisance and alarming in large numbers, flying ants cause no damage and usually disappear as quickly as they appear, usually within a few hours,” explains Paul Blackhurst, head of the technical academy at Rentokil Pest Control. . (opens in new tab). “They provide birds with a timely opportunity to find food for their young, and their increased numbers can be seen as a positive sign for our natural ecosystems.
“After a prolonged period of warm weather across the country, we are seeing large numbers of flying ants soaring into the sky, as they emerge from hiding to look for a suitable mating partner.”
While these insects are fine outdoors, once they enter your home, they can damage the insulation or become a hazard around your food. Fortunately, there are a few ways to get rid of flying ants if they invaded your home before establishing a colony on your property.
1. Block access points
Unlike carpenter ants, flying ants usually stay outside where they can burrow into the ground and mate in the air. However, if they end up in your house, chances are they entered by accident.
The entry point of flying ants can be as simple as an open window or broken vent, or something harder to find, such as a crevice or hole. It is important to completely close off these entrances, preferably before the swarms begin, so that the insects don’t get trapped in your home.
Closing these entry points after they enter your space will help keep out more intruders, but you’ll need to use alternative means to remove the remaining pests from your property.
If flying ants have swarmed into your home or settled on your surfaces, using a vacuum cleaner is the most effective way to remove large areas at once.
If you are using the vacuum method, it is recommended that you empty the vacuum cleaner in a dustbin or hedge outside (as long as there is no other debris in the vacuum cleaner) once they have been collected to prevent them from making their way back inside. .
3. Use Pesticides or Bug Sprays
While not as quick to dissolve as the vacuum, spraying natural pesticides or your own homemade bug sprays can help eliminate both flying and crawling ants. When using these sprays indoors, make sure to use a non-toxic variety and spray gently to protect your furniture and lungs.
A natural spray can be made from one part liquid dish soap, two parts water, and a few drops of peppermint oil. Strong-smelling mint flavors are one of many scents that ants hate and will deter them from settling in or around your home. This solution helps immobilize the ants and eventually dry out and suffocate them.
4. Remove the colony
The most effective way to get rid of flying ants for good is to attack the source. As with any pest infestation, it will be difficult to get rid of the insects for good without eliminating their home and breeding ground. If you can locate the general area of the colony, set a bait trap to eliminate the colony in one go.
To make a bait trap, mix any sweet substance such as honey or syrup with borax. Worker ants collect this bait and take it back to the nest where it will kill the colony.
An alternative is to use insecticidal substance that can be injected into the colony. This requires knowing the exact location of the colony and its tunnels, so it is best left to a professional exterminator to ensure the desired result without harming yourself or your gardening ideas.
5. Hire a professional
Professional pest controllers can help you get rid of any pest invasion, but in the case of flying ants, they’re likely to be gone in the hours it takes to get someone to call your home. However, if there is a troublesome colony that you have found, they can handle it for you. However, if they’re not a problem for you, leave flying ants alone, as they are an important part of the ecosystem and make great food for wild birds.
What attracts flying ants to your house?
Flying ants are attracted to your home for many of the same reasons as regular ants: food and moisture to take back to their colony. If you find flying ants around your home, it is a sign that the nearby colony is well established and safe enough to reproduce ants.
Ants can harbor homes in almost any dark, hidden corner, so it’s worth checking to see if the colony is in your yard or somewhere in or under the house itself.
How to avoid flying ants?
As with getting rid of termites, getting rid of aquatic insects, and getting rid of grasshoppers, the trick to avoiding an infestation is to eliminate or cover the food source. Make sure food containers are in the house and spills or crumbs are cleaned up immediately. It is also recommended that you do not leave any pet food outside as this can encourage pests in your home.
It is also recommended that any cracks or holes in your property be sealed and covered to prevent insects from entering. This includes around windows, doors and baseboards.
What is ‘flying ant day’?
“The term ‘flying ant day’ often conjures up the common misconception that this annual event occurs within the span of just a day, but in reality it occurs sporadically in various parts of the country if and when the weather conditions and temperature are right,” explains Paul. “This natural phenomenon is basically a survival tactic designed to overwhelm potential predators such as swifts and seagulls. Mating takes place on the wing between the fertile male (the smaller flying ant) and the unpaired female (the larger flying ant). Once mating is complete, both fall to the ground where the male dies and the new, now fertile queen, loses her wings and then begins to bury herself underground to form a new nest.”
Should I kill flying ants?
While swarms of flying ants can be scary, it’s important to remember that they are great for outdoor environments. That is why it is wise to keep flying ants alive as much as possible.
If you see flying ants outside and away from your property, it’s best to leave them alone. When flying ants have invaded your home, eradicating the pests can be one of the few ways to get them out of your home.
How long do flying ants stay around?
Flying ants can hang around for several weeks, but the insect itself only lives for a few days. Hatches and swarms of flying ants can vary in size and time of year, but if they have hatched in your home or yard, you can expect these insects to last for several weeks unless you get rid of them.