You may assume that ants are usually wingless bugs. But these insects have an air force of their own.
Their kings and queens gradually grow wings when it’s time to mate and expand their empires.
If you see a flying ant around your home, that is a good sign that you have a growing ant infestation close by.
In this post, I will review what causes flying ants and how to get rid of them.
Let’s dive in.
1. Mating Season
Flying ants, also known as reproductives, have only one purpose: to reproduce.
These ants come out in swarms during mating season.
These ants will mate and fall to the ground.
On the ground, the ants shed their wings and look for an area to begin building and start a new colony.
Most reproductives will die either because of predators, starvation, or dehydration.
2. Infested Home
Flying ants are released directly from the nest of an ants colony.
If you find flying ants inside your home, that’s a sign that you have an ants nest closeby.
The most common type of flying ants found inside homes are carpenter ants.
These ants make their nest by burrowing inside damaged or moist wood.
Some key signs of carpenter ants are:
- Live Ants
- Wood shavings
- Ants Trails or Pathways
3. Ant Nest Nearby
Just because you find flying ants inside your house doesn’t mean you have ants inside your home.
Swarms from outdoors can enter your home.
Ants can enter your home if you have open doors, windows, broken screens.
If you only spot flying ants inside your house, these ants may be getting through an entry point around your home.
I recommended you inspect outside your home and look for a larger swarm.
4. Warmth and Light
The light sources around your home can attract flying ants.
To make your home less appealing to flying ants, you can do a few things.
The first is to use blackout curtains to avoid any light leaking outdoors.
You can also use motion-activated lights rather than leaving your lights on all night.
One of the most effective ways to keep ants out of your home is by eliminating any food sources.
Ants love to overrun unsealed food.
The less food you have inside your home, the less likely ants will enter your home.
Make sure all the food in your home is sealed in airtight bags or containers.
Clean your house thoroughly to eliminate any crumbs of food sources.
Ants need a daily source of water to survive.
Ants are attracted to moisture. To keep them away:
- Repair any leaky plumbing inside and outside your home
- Make sure your rain gutters, downspouts, and splash blocks are functioning correctly. They should keep the water at least five feet minimum from your foundation wall.
- Keep all sprinkler heads pointed away from your home’s foundation.
- Keep any dripping water from your air conditioning away from your foundation.
- Make sure your yard is designed to let the water flow away from your home when it rains. If that isn’t the case, contact a yard drainer professional to get your yard graded adequately.
- Fix uneven concrete that causes water to pool in one area during rainstorms.
How To Get Rid of flying Ants?
There are several ways you can eliminate flying ants but it will depend on if the flying ants are indoors or outdoors.
1. Bug Zappers
Bug zappers kill the flying ants by attracting them with light and electrocuting them.
When using bug zappers, make sure to turn off as many lights on your property as possible.
That includes light both inside and outside your home.
Minimizing visible light increases the chance the flying ants will fall for your trap.
Look for discarded wings pilling up in a specific area in your home, place the bug zapper near them. Discarded wings are a sign that the ants are frequently flying near and above that area.
One disadvantage of this device is that it will attract more flying ants towards your home.
They also tend to be messy. The vaporized ants produce bug mist that can travel up to 6 feet.
When using a bug zapper indoors, keep it low on the floor to reduce the amount of mist and bacteria spread when the ants get zapped.
2. Cover All Light Sources/ Bug Lights
Cover your windows with thick curtains to prevent attracting ants towards them.
You can also use bug lights until the swarm is over.
Bug lights or yellow lights are less attractive to ants than traditional white light.
While the lack of light will not make flying ants leave, minimizing it will make your home less appealing.
3. Use A Vacuum Cleaner
Another way you can get rid of flying ants is by using a vacuum cleaner.
For this, I recommend using a shop-vac.
Shot vacs allow you to add insecticide solution inside the vacuum to kill the ants once they get sucked in.
If you find the exit point inside your home, vacuum any flying ants that try to fly out.
Flying ants won’t leave their nest all at once, so be sure to wait for more to appear.
I also recommend injecting the exit hole with termiticide after vacuuming.
This way, you’ll be able to kill any other ants that are living inside the galleries.
4. Indoor Ant Baits
If you have ants indoors, the best way to treat them is by using bait stations or gel baits.
You can use smaller bait stations or gel bait syringes.
I prefer syringes because they are easy to apply to hard to reach locations.
They are also easy to clean up once the ants have started eating the bait.
Gel bait syringes are also easier to track because you can easily see the amount of bait that ants consume.
Place indoor bait anywhere you spotted ant trails during the inspection.
Other ideal locations are:
- Under appliances
- Small cracks and crevices
- Cabinet door hinges
- Windows or door sills
- Along walls or cabinets, guides, and baseboards.
- Near sources of water
- Near ant trails
I recommend applying small dabs onto 2×2 inch pieces of wax paper.
Doing so will make it easy to keep track of the bait and clean up any gel bait you apply.
5. Outdoor Ant Baits
Ants baits are slow-acting, which allows you to eliminate entire ant colonies.
Baits are slow-acting and allow ants to take it back to the nest and feed it to the colony.
Outdoor Ants Bait
There are two methods of baiting ants outdoors.
- Localized Bait Stations
- Broadcast Bait Application
Localized Bait Stations
The first option is using localized bait stations around the perimeter of your home.
These are typically stations where you can fill a liquid or gel bait that will attract ants.
I recommend placing one along each corner or side of your home.
You may also want to place bait stations are near ant mound.
Check your bait stations regularly to ensure that there is still bait inside.
If you notice that ants are not consuming the bait, try using one with a different base.
This method is much less invasive than a broadcast bait application.
It is also much easier to monitor and reapply when necessary.
Broadcast Baiting stations
Broadcasting bait involves applying bait granules around the entire perimeter of your home.
The best way to do this is by using a granular spreader.
A spreader will allow you to spread granular evenly across your yard.
These baits have an insecticide embedded inside.
The ants will return the bait to the colony, spreading the insecticide.
Granular baits are useful if you have many mounds around your home or yard.
6. Ant Mound Treatment
Ant mound treatment involves using insecticide directly on the nest.
Two of the most common ways are using granules or liquid insecticides.
Granules are insecticides packed into organic matter such as sand or pebbles.
These pebbles are poured over the ant nest, followed by water to release the active ingredient inside the granules.
The granules will seep into the soil and kill any ants that it comes in contact with it.
It’s important to mention that nest treatment should not be the only treatment use to kill ants.
While nest treatments can deliver immediate results, there is a chance it won’t work for deep or large nests.
A failed nest treatment can cause ants to move to a new nest.
Also, ants can build multiple mounds. If all of the mounds are not treated, the colony will continue to grow.
You can use nest treatments for a problematic ant nest that poses an immediate threat.
But I highly recommend first applying a bait treatment, either broadcast or bait station application.
Bait treatments will allow you to be sure to eliminate the whole colony.
7. Orange Oil Spray
Orange oil is one of the most effective natural solutions for ants.
If the flying ants are coming from inside wood, you can inject the orange oil into their exit point.
Once the oil penetrates the wood, it will kill any ants that come in contact with it.
If there is a swarm inside your home, you can directly spray orange oil on the flying ants.
Just be sure you wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, goggles, and a face mask.
8. Foam Treatment
Foam Treatment works similarly to using orange oil.
It involves injecting pesticides into the nests’ exit hole.
These pesticides can come in the form of liquid or foam formulations.
They expand or absorb into the wood, making it easy to fill wall voids where ants are hiding. These pesticides will kill any ants that come in contact with the solution.
9. Chemical Soil Treatment
Flying ants swarm to mate and start a new colony.
To prevent flying ants from starting a colony inside your home, I recommend treating your soil with a chemical insecticide.
- Drill holes about 2 feet deep into the ground and around 12-15 inches apart. Cover the entire area of your yard.
- Using a pressurized sprayer, inject the liquid insecticide into the ground. Spray each hole for around 5-10 seconds.
You typically want to use around 1 gallon for every 10-15ft.
Any flying ants that land in the soil and try to start a new colony will die due to the chemical barrier.
Termidor is one of the most effective insecticides.
Termidor is safe to use on plants and trees, although you should not treat areas with edible plants with it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are Flying Ants?
Flying ants are the reproductives of the ant colony. Their sole purpose is to mate and start a new colony.
Female flyings ants go on to become the queen of future colonies.
Males, on the other hand, will die shortly after mating.
You’ll only see flying ants are only during mating season.
After mating, the female ants will shed their wings and will never grow them back.
Where Do Flying Ants Come From?
Flying ants come directly from the nest of the ant colony. Ant colonies release them once they mature and are ready to expand.
How Long Do Flying Ants Live?
Female ants can live for as long as 10 years. Male flying ants, on the other hand, die shortly after mating with the queen. Male ant life span can range from several days to several weeks, depending on the species.