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- 1. Flying Ant Identification
- 2. The Dangers of Flying Ants
- 3. Flying Ant Removal Methods
- 4. Eliminating Single Ants
- 5. Killing the Flying Ant Colony
- 6. Prevention Tips
Flying ants (also known as swarmers) aren’t a completely different species of ant. You can think of this insect as a special form that can be often undergone by lots of ant species. This is an important developmental stage that emerges when the ants need to start a new colony. Gaining the ability to fly is an important aspect related to that.
Due to the fact that swarmers grow wings when reaching sexual maturity, you can expect to run into flying ants during their mating season. There’s no fixed time but swarmers seem to appear more often after heavy rain. However, ants can start building new colonies elsewhere at any time of the year.
1. Flying Ant Identification
If you’re facing a flying ant invasion and want to get rid of the pesky insects, the first step is familiarizing yourself with the most distinctive characteristics of swarmers. Proper identification is required to make sure you’re not looking at a different kind of pest that will need different removal methods.
If you’re familiar with the look of common ants, it may seem quite easy to identify a flying ant. The problem comes from confusing the swarmer with look-alike insects that often behave very similar to flying ants. An important example in that sense is the termite. The insects share lots of physical characteristics such as size, color, and wing style.
To differentiate between flying ants and termites, it takes a closer inspection to separate the insects. Whereas swarmers feature a thin waist, you’ll notice that termites lack this characteristic and show a more uniform thickness in terms of body shape. Another important difference refers to the wing size. Both insects have four wings forming a general picture of having a similar size. A keen eye will notice that the front wings of the flying ant are longer compared to the other pair of wings in the back. The pairs of wings of termites show equal length so this detail can help to set the insects apart.
There’s also a difference when it comes to the appearance of the insects’ antennae. Winged termites feature straight antennae while the flying ant has an elbowed antenna in a bent shape. If you still find it hard to tell the difference, you can observe the behavior of the flying insect once it lands on the ground. Termites lose their more fragile wings whereas swarmers do not.
Aside from winged termites, flying ants can be confused with other insects such as dirt daubers, snake flies, and black carpenter bees. Despite similarities, dirt daubers feature a longer waist and yellow patches on the legs compared to flying ants. Snake flies have an extended tail and two pairs of wings that resemble the ones shown by termites. You can also differentiate between swarmers and black carpenter bees by checking for an oblong-shaped head and wider body shape of the latter.
2. The Dangers of Flying Ants
It’s nothing unusual to spot flying ants outside. The more concerning aspect is when the swarmers find their way somehow inside your house. Compared to typical ants on the ground, a swarm of flying ants can appear scarier and concerning for homeowners visited by these insects. Despite these appearances, flying ants won’t bite you because they’re only searching for a nesting ground.
A few swarmers accidentally getting into your house isn’t alarming but there could be a deeper problem if they manage to set up a colony in the home. Carpenter ants are almost comparable to termites in terms of destructive potential. If you’re unlucky enough to become invaded by flying carpenter ants, it’s safe to say that you need to deal with them quickly before serious structural damage can occur.
Flying ants are generally not dangerous but preventing a massive infestation should take priority immediately after noticing the pest on the property. Even if they’re not as destructive as other pests, swarmers can still be a nuisance that needs to be removed. Now that you have a good idea about the features of flying ants, it’s time to explore the best methods for getting rid of them safely and effectively.
3. Flying Ant Removal Methods
There are various solutions you can try for eliminating flying ants but not all of them tackle the same aspects. Dealing with single swarms of ants can be a good immediate pest control measure but it’s not enough in most cases. You will also have to attack the colony and keep the swarmers from breeding. If you don’t kill the flying ant colony, the source of your problem will persist.
4. Eliminating Single Ants
4.1 Use the Vacuum Cleaner
With the help of your vacuum cleaner, you can simply get rid of a swarm of flying ants. This is the simplest method you can try before checking out more advanced removal tricks. It will only work as expected on those obvious swarms inside the home. Make sure you replace the vacuum bag after sucking up the insects.
4.2 Use a Commercial Bug Spray
There are many bug poisons on the market with broad-spectrum effectiveness that should be able to kill flying ants. As long as it can eradicate ants, it’s safe to say that it will also work against flying varieties. The trick is to choose an aerosol spray that’s easy to use for delivering the killing poison.
We recommend this bug spray from Raid designed for house and garden pest control. It’s quite effective for ant removal as well as many other insects without leaving behind an unpleasant smell. You can try harsher chemicals but for typical swarms of flying ants, this kind of product should be more than enough.
4.3 Try a Bug Zapper
If you’re looking for a practical method to remove flying ants from your house, consider getting a bug zapper. This electronic device attracts and kills flying ants as well as any other undesirable winged insects visiting your property. It’s a more convenient method compared to others because it doesn’t require a lot of effort to use. Just make sure you purchase a bug zapper that’s also capable of killing flying ants such as this model found on Amazon.
4.4 Set Up Sticky Tape Traps
With the help of some sticky tape, you can easily trap flying ants entering your property. Check out this pack of 50 sheets available on Amazon. The traps are simple to install in both indoor and outdoor environments. Even though they’re primarily designed for fruit flies or houseflies, all kinds of flying insects can take the bait, including swarmers.
4.5 Mix a DIY Peppermint Spray
In case you dislike the idea of a commercial insecticide, there’s also the option to kill flying ants using a DIY spray. One of the most effective homemade solutions involves the mixing of two parts water and one part dishwashing soap with a few included peppermint oil drops. The result is a natural insecticide spray that can safely eradicate the flying ants through suffocation.
4.6 Sprinkle Some Diatomaceous Earth Powder
This is another natural solution you can try to fight an invasion of flying ants. Diatomaceous earth powder is recommended for lots of insect pests because it causes dehydration. Applying the powder can be a bit more complicated as you can’t easily sprinkle it over flying insects. Add it close to potential food sources in the hopes that ants will get in direct contact with the powder.
5. Killing the Flying Ant Colony
5.1 Create An Ant Bait
Killing the flying ant colony can be a bit more difficult as it requires some more patience but it will pay off if your infestation seems more severe. Creating an ant bait represents one of the best methods for striking directly to the source of flying ant swarms. The idea is to set up a special poison that ants will carry back to the location of the colony and eliminate the entire nest of insects.
There could be different types of ant baits worth considering depending on the specific type of flying ant you’re dealing with. In most cases, a mix of borax with sugar can create a highly effective killing paste that will easily lure the ants. Borax is toxic for flying ants because it acts as a reproductive disruptor. Once the queen gets to the borax, the colony will be eliminated. Another great idea is to use a commercial bait station such as this one made by Terro, available on Amazon.
5.2 Use Insecticidal Dust
It’s possible to discover the precise location of the flying ant colony if you’re willing to observe the behavior of the swarmers. Some effort is required for tracking down the nest which has typical wingless ants. In case the colony is in an accessible location, you might be able to attack it more directly.
Insecticidal dust is a recommended solution, especially if you’re facing the more destructive carpenter ants. Check out this extremely potent product found on Amazon. The insecticidal dust kit comes with a practical hand duster for convenient application. If you find a carpenter ant colony on your property, we recommend this special killer spray designed for this type of ants. It features a simple-to-use nozzle to get the poison inserted in tight crevices.
5.3 Try the Services of a Professional Exterminator
When it looks like your flying ant problem is too severe to solve on your own, it’s probably time to get a professional pest control company involved. They’re specialized in dealing with invading swarms of flying ants and can do all the work needed to find the colony and eliminate the pest from the source.
6. Prevention Tips
Reactive solutions can be less effective unless you’ve taken some good preventive measures to keep flying ants away from your area. While you can simply be unlucky enough to live in an area with numerous flying ant populations, you can at least take some action to make the house as unappealing for ants as possible. Here are the best flying ant prevention tips:
Maintain a Clean Environment
The most important aspect when it comes to avoiding a flying ant infestation is to remove potential food sources. Don’t leave foods exposed to where they can be easily accessed by the pests, especially if they’re sweet or greasy. Make sure you also store pet food properly. It’s essential to minimize the sources of food in your home so that ants can’t easily form a strong presence.
Watch Out for Vulnerable Cracks
It’s probably not realistic to find and seal every little crevice around the home but you can at least deal with those cracks located in particularly vulnerable spots. Some examples include the baseboards or near the windows. If you’ve already had to get rid of a large swarm, it’s worth paying close attention to the most vulnerable cracks through which flying ants can enter the house.
Don’t Leave the Windows and Doors Open
This prevention tip is quite self-explanatory. Flying insects will occasionally get into your home through tiny cracks but the easiest way to enter is still through the usual ways such as open doors and windows. If you prefer having the windows open, you need to install some fly screens to block access to any flying pest including swarmers.