Having an ant infestation is problematic enough, but it can be even more troubling when the ants sprout wings and fly around your house. Flying ants are not a distinct type of ant but rather the reproductive members of an ant colony. Their wings serve the sole purpose of leaving the nest in search of a mate.
If you have winged ants in your home, there are two ways they’ve gotten there: they’ve either entered your home through cracks or open windows in search of a mate, or they’ve come from a colony already inside your home and are trying to get out. To successfully get rid of flying ants, you need to eliminate both the ones in your home and the colony they come from.
To eliminate the flying ants in your home, spray pesticides or natural solutions such as tea tree oil mixed with water, or you can kill them with an electric bug zapper or sticky fly tape. However, simply killing them will not be enough, as the colony will still be in your home or your home’s proximity. If the nest is inside or near your home, you may need to use ant baits to exterminate the entire colony. If the colony survives, it will produce more winged reproductives during the next mating season, typically in spring or early summer.
In the following sections, we will answer common questions about flying ants, including whether they pose a threat, how to identify them, and the most effective ways to eliminate them.
Home Remedies for Flying Ants
If you’re looking for natural ways to get rid of flying ants, here are some effective remedies:
• Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it directly to flying ants. The acidic nature of vinegar not only kills the ants but also repels other members of the colony. Use this solution on surfaces that won’t be damaged by vinegar.
• Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is a natural insecticide that kills and repels flying ants. Mix ten drops of tea tree oil with two cups of water and spray the solution directly onto the ants. However, be cautious when using tea tree oil around pets, as it can be toxic for them.
• Soapy Water: Create a mixture of liquid dish soap and water in a spray bottle and spray it directly onto the flying ants. The soapy solution will cling to the ants’ exoskeletons and suffocate them.
These natural remedies are a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to chemical insecticides, but remember that they may not be as effective in controlling large infestations. If the problem persists, consulting a pest control professional may be necessary.
How to Get Rid of Flying Ants: Step-by-Step Instructions
Whether flying ants are inside or outside your home, getting rid of these pests will be a two-part process. This is because the flying ants are only a temporary symptom of a more enduring problem (an ant nest near your home). Your first step will be to kill the flying ants you see in your house and then exterminate their entire colony.
How to Get Rid of Flying Ants Inside the House
Step 1 – Use sticky tape, insecticide spray, or a bug zapper to kill any flying ants you see indoors.
Step 2 – Use a vacuum cleaner with a nozzle attachment to remove dead bugs or bugs crawling on the floors and walls.
Step 3 – Set up ant bait stations inside your home, especially where you see the most ant activity. Ants are attracted to food and water, so place the bait near moisture and food sources.
- Attracts & Kills – Kills common household ants including...
- Kills the Ants You See & the Ones You Don't – As worker ants...
- Works Fast – You should see a significant decrease in the...
- Ready to Use – Place the bait stations, watch it attract ants,...
- Use Throughout Your Home – Place stations near areas where...
Step 4 – Check the ant bait periodically to ensure it hasn’t dried out or become contaminated. Once the bait has been completely consumed, replace it with a fresh bait station in the same location.
Step 5 – Be patient; the entire colony can take several weeks to be eliminated. Ants will carry the bait back to their nest, where it will be shared with the rest of the colony and eventually kill off the entire nest.
How does the ant bait work? When ants spot the ant bait, they mistake it for food and carry portions back to their nest. The bait is then shared with the rest of the colony, and eventually, it will wipe out the entire nest.
How to Get Rid of Flying Ants Nest Outside
Step 1 – Use a stationary bug zapper or insecticide spray to kill flying ants around the nest.
Step 2 – Place ant bait stations near the ant nest to exterminate the entire colony. Make sure to use bait stations specifically designed for outdoor use.
Step 3 – Use liquid and granular bait in each station to attract different species of ants. Place the bait near the nest and in areas with high ant activity.
Step 4 – Check the bait stations weekly to ensure they haven’t dried out or become contaminated. Replace the bait as needed.
Step 5 – Be patient, as it can take several days or weeks to eliminate the ant nest, depending on the level of infestation.
Best Flying Ant Killer Products
- KILLS & REPELS. A preventative and a treatment, this...
- PROTECT YOUR HOME. This versatile bug control spray is also an...
- SAFE AROUND DOGS & CATS WHEN USED AS DIRECTED. This spray is...
- PLANT POWERED AND POWERFULLY EFFECTIVE. Using natural essential...
- EASY-TO-USE. This biopesticide can be sprayed easily around the...
- Proven Safe and Effective - Quickly Kill and Repel Insects in the...
- Concentrated Formula for Powerful Protection
- Each 8oz Concentrate Makes 1 Gallon Repellent Spray
- Made with Premium Natural Peppermint Essential Oil
- Great Value for Refills
- KILLS FLEAS YOU SEE AND THOSE YOU DON’T- Effective long-term...
- KILLS NUISANCE INSECTS - Kills ticks, roaches, ants, spiders,...
- MULTIPLE USES - For use in homes, garages, and kennels
- ODORLESS PROTECTION - Leaves no lingering odor or sticky mess,...
- VALUE PACK - Includes 3 foggers for economical do-it-yourself...
What Are Flying Ants?
Flying ants are not separate species of ant but male and female ants that have reached sexual maturity. These ants remain in the ant nest for most of their lives until it’s time to disperse and find a mate.
• Identification: Flying ants have two pairs of wings, with the front wings longer than the back. They have small waists and bent antennae, ranging in color from brown or black to red.
• Attraction to Light: Like many insects, flying ants attract light. This behavior is thought to be related to their use of the sun as a navigational tool. If you see a flying ant swarm nearby, it’s best to turn off the lights in your home.
Related: What Attracts Ants? Information and Facts
• Lifespan: After leaving the nest, male flying ants typically live for a few hours to a few weeks, while females begin a new life cycle phase. Once mated, the female finds a new nesting place, lays eggs, and eventually becomes the queen of her colony. Queens can live anywhere from 10 to 30 years in the safety of their nests.
Related: Ant Lifespan: Information and Facts
• Can Queen Ants Fly?
After mating, female flying ants lose their wings and become queens. The queen no longer needs her wings as she spends the rest of her life underground, laying eggs for her colony.
• Do Flying Ants Eat Wood? | What Do Flying Ants Eat?
Flying ants have no interest in eating and only sprout wings to find a mate. Once they mate, the male ants die, and the females fly to a new location to start their colonies. Their offspring will be responsible for bringing them food.
• Can Flying Ants Cause Damage?
While most of them are harmless, seeing them in your home could indicate an ant infestation. Flying ants are the reproductive members of an ant colony, so if you see them inside your home, it’s a sign that the colony is nearby. Ant infestations can be a nuisance and may result in spoiled food and pest control expenses.
The carpenter ant is the only species of ant that can cause structural damage to a home. These ants burrow into wood to make their nests, which can weaken the wood over time. If you spot flying carpenter ants, it means that a carpenter ant colony is nearby and may be causing damage to your home.
Related: How to Get Rid of Ants | Safe and Effective Methods
Types of Flying Ants
• Flying Carpenter Ants
These ants can be identified by their large size and black or reddish-brown color. They nest in wood and can cause damage to homes if not treated promptly.
Related: How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Without an Exterminator
• Flying Red Ants
These are likely fire ants, a common and aggressive species in the United States. They have a reddish-brown color and can deliver painful stings.
• Flying Fire Ants
These ants are similar in appearance and behavior to fire ants but can also have a darker color and a more venomous sting.
• Black Flying Ants
These ants can belong to various species, such as the little black ant or black garden ant. They are generally harmless but can invade kitchens in search of food.
Difference Between Flying Ants and Termites
Knowing the difference between flying ants and termites is important, as termites can cause serious damage to homes. Here are some key distinctions:
• Wings: Both flying ants and termites have two pairs of wings, but a termite’s wings are equal in length, while a flying ant’s front wings are longer than its back wings.
• Body Shape: Flying ants have a narrow, pinched waist that separates their thorax and abdomen, while termites have a straight, broad body shape.
Other Bugs That Look Like Flying Ants
• Dirt daubers: These are wasps with a slender waist and a dark color. They can sting if provoked and build mud nests.
• Snake flies: These insects have elongated bodies and two pairs of wings of equal size. They are not aggressive and are mostly harmless.
• Black carpenter bees: These bees are wider and have oblong-shaped heads compared to flying ants. They can cause damage to wood but are generally not serious pests.
Do Flying Ants Bite?
Flying ants are the reproductive members of various ant species, and whether they bite depends on the ant type. Some species, such as carpenter ants, crazy ants, and field ants, are more likely to bite, and their flying reproductives may do the same. Other species, such as flying fire, harvester, and acrobat ants, are more likely to sting.
If you are bitten or stung by a flying ant, follow these steps:
- Wash the affected area with soap and water to remove any dirt or bacteria that could cause an infection.
- Refrain from touching or scratching the bite, which could worsen the itching and inflammation.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream or take an antihistamine to alleviate any discomfort or itching.
- In rare cases, ant bites or stings can cause anaphylactic shock, a severe allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention. If you experience throat, lips, or tongue swelling, hives, dizziness or fainting, shortness of breath, or stomach pain, seek emergency medical help.
Related: How to Get Rid of Ants in Hot Tub | A Complete Guide
Flying ants can enter your home in two ways: they will fly in through windows, crawl through cracks, or come from a colony already inside your home. To prevent flying ants from entering your home, follow these steps:
- Seal up any cracks in your windows and doors. Inspect the perimeter around each window and door in your home thoroughly, and use a caulking gun to seal any cracks.
- Store food properly. While flying ants primarily focus on mating, the rest of their colony is still searching for food. Storing your food in sealed, airtight containers is important to prevent ant colonies from entering your home. When possible, store fresh fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator.
If you spot flying ants in your home, don’t hesitate to apply our effective methods to eliminate them. Properly sealing your windows and doors and securely storing your food will guarantee that these pests remain outdoors, where they belong.
Related: Flying Ants in Pool: How to Keep Them Away | Tips & Guide
List of Sources
Flying Ants, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Davis H., Winged Ants and Termites in the House, Department of Entomology, Kansas State University
Winged Carpenter Ants, Michigan State University
Termites and Ants, Maryland Department of Agriculture