How to Get Rid of Flying Ants: A Complete Guide

Having an ant infestation is already problematic enough, this is why it is even more troubling when the ants sprout their wings and start to fly around your house. Flying ants seem to appear out of nowhere, and most of the time you won’t only find one of them. These winged-ants emerge in swarms which can be very intimidating, especially when they enter your home. Now, let’s take a look at how you can get rid of these pests and ensure they don’t come back.

How to get rid of flying ants? In order to successfully get rid of the flying ants, it’s important to first find out where they came from. Flying ants are not a separate species of ant, they are the ‘’reproductives’’ of any given ant species. Flying ants have wings with the sole purpose of leaving the nest in search of a mate. If you have winged ants in your home, there are two ways in which 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. Either way, treating your flying ant problem will be a two-part process: killing the flying ants in your home, and getting rid of the colony. We will talk about these two methods in detail later in the article.

Simply killing the flying ants you see will not be enough, as the colony will still be in your home or in your home’s proximity. The colony, if it survives, will produce more winged reproductives during the next mating season, which typically occurs in the spring or early summer. 

You can easily get rid of the flying ants with a spray pesticide or natural solutions such as tea tree oil mixed with water. They can also be killed with an electric bug zapper or a sticky fly tape. If you believe the nest is located inside or within close proximity to your home, it will be necessary to set up ant baits to exterminate the entire colony.

Can flying ants pose a threat to your home? How do you know if you are dealing with flying ants, or something else? What are the most effective flying ant killers available?  Find answers to all of these questions and more in the following sections below. Let’s start!

What Are Flying Ants?

Let’s look at how you can identify flying ants and what you can expect if you spot these pests in or around your home. So what are flying ants and where do flying ants come from?

Flying ants are not a separate species of ant. Rather, they are male and female ants that are able to reproduce (sexually mature). They remain in the ant nests for most of their lives until it’s time for them to disperse and find a mate.  


• What Do Flying Ants Look Like?

There are a few distinct characteristics that will help you identify flying ants. Flying ants have two wings on each side of their bodies. Their front wings are longer than their back wings.  Flying ants also have small waists like their land-bound cousins. Bent or ‘’elbowed’’ antennae are another flying ant identifier. Colors range from brown or black to red.


• Are Flying Ants Attracted to Light?

Flying ants, like most insects, are attracted to light. Scientists believe this behavior is rooted in their use of the sun as a navigational tool. So, if you see a flying ant swarm nearby, it’s a good idea to turn off the lights in your home.

Related: What Attracts Ants? Information and Facts


• How Long Do Flying Ants Live?

After leaving the nest, male flying ants live anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks. The females, however, are just beginning a new phase of their life cycle. After mating, they will find a new nesting place and start laying eggs, eventually becoming the queens of their own colonies. In the safety of their nests, they can live anywhere from 10 to 30 years.

Related: Ant Lifespan: Information and Facts


• Can Queen Ants Fly?

By the time female flying ants become queens, they have already lost their wings. After mating, the queen no longer has a use for her wings, as she will spend the next phase of her life underground, laying eggs for her colony. 


• Do Flying Ants Eat Wood? | What Do Flying Ants Eat?

Flying ants do not eat wood. In fact, flying ants are not interested in eating. These creatures have sprouted wings and taken flight for one purpose only – to find a mate. Shortly after mating, the male flying ant will die. Females will fly to a new location and begin laying eggs.  Her offsprings will then be responsible for bringing her food. If you see insects resembling flying ants and that also are eating wood, watch out. You may be dealing with termites instead of just ordinary flying ants! 


• Can Flying Ants Cause Damage?

What Are Flying Ants

While most flying ants cannot cause damage to your property, you’ll still want to take note if you see them in your home. Remember that flying ants are the reproductive members of an ant colony. So, if the flying ants appear to be coming from the inside your home, it’s a sign of an ant infestation. Ant infestations can be costly in terms of spoiled food and pest control expenses.  

The only type of ant that can cause structural damage is the carpenter ant. If you spot flying carpenter ants, it means a carpenter ant colony is located near your home. Carpenter ants do not eat wood but will burrow into the wood while creating their nests, which can cause structural damage.


Types of Flying Ants


• Flying Carpenter Ants

If you see flying carpenter ants in or around your home, act quickly. While carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they do borrow into it while making their nests. Treating the problem as soon as possible will prevent damage to your home.

Related: How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Without an Exterminator


• Flying Red Ants

If you are dealing with red-colored flying ants, it is likely you are dealing with fire ants. Fire ants, also called red imported fire ants, are the most common type of red ants in the United States. 


• Flying Fire Ants

Flying fire ants are common pests throughout North America. They are highly aggressive and can pack a nasty sting, so stay clear of these pests the best you can.


• Black Flying Ants

If you spot flying black ants, they likely belong to the little black ant or black garden ant species. While they don’t typically bite or sting, they are notorious for invading kitchens in search of both sweet and greasy foods.  


Flying Ants vs. Termites: Difference Between Flying Ants and Termites

Knowing the difference between flying ants and termites is crucial, as one is significantly more harmful than the other. While flying ants can be a nuisance, termites can cause serious damage to your home. To find out what kind of insect you are dealing with, take a close look at its wings. 

Both flying ants and termites have two sets of wings. However, termites’ front and back wings are of equal size, while a flying ant’s front wings are longer than its back wings. Also, flying ants have a ”pinched waist” meaning the region connecting their thorax and abdomen is very thin. A termite, in contrast, has a straight body.


Other Bugs That Look Like Flying Ants


  • Dirt daubers – look similar to flying ants but have a longer waist. They can reach one inch in length and can sting if they feel threatened. If you look closely, you may see small amounts of yellow on the dirt dauber’s legs.
  • Snake flies – also resemble flying ants, but have an extended tail. Like termites, they have two sets of wings of equal length. Despite their intimidating name, they are not aggressive insects.
  • Black carpenter bees – could easily be mistaken for flying ants at first glance. To spot the difference, look at the insect’s body shape. Black carpenter bees are wider and have an oblong-shaped head when viewed from above while flying ants have a narrower and pointy head.

Flying Ant Bites: Do Flying Ants Bite?

Since flying ants are simply the reproductives of a variety of ant species, it depends on which species of ant you are dealing with. Some ant species, such as carpenter ants, crazy ants, and field ants, are more likely to bite, and so are their flying reproductives. Similarly, flying fire, harvester, and acrobat ants are more likely to sting, as are their wingless counterparts.

If you get bit or stung by a flying ant, wash the area with soap and water and avoid touching or scratching it, as that could lead to an infection. If the itching is unbearable, apply hydrocortisone cream or take an antihistamine. In very rare cases, ant bites can lead to anaphylactic shock, which is a medical emergency. If you experience swelling of the throat, lips, or tongue, hives, dizziness or fainting, shortness of breath, or stomach pain, contact emergency medical help.


How to Get Rid of Flying Ants: Step by Step Instructions

Whether flying ants are located inside or outside of 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.


Method 1: How to Get Rid of Flying Ants Inside the House


Step 1 – Use sticky tape, insecticide spray, or a bug zapper to kill the ants flying around your home.

Step 2 – Use a vacuum cleaner with a nozzle attachment to suck up any dead bugs or bugs crawling on the floors and walls.

Step 3 – Set up ant bait inside of your home, especially in your kitchen and bathroom, as ants are attracted to food and water.

TERRO T300B Liquid Ant Bait Ant Killer, 12 bait stations
  • Kills the ants you see and the ones you don’t
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Step 4 – Check the ant bait periodically. Once the pod is empty, replace it with a new one in the same location.

Step 5 – Be patient as it can take a number of weeks for the entire colony to be killed through the use of ant bait, but this process will ensure that the ants don’t come back.


How does the ant bait work? When ants spot the ant bait, they mistake it for food and carry portions of it back to their nest. The bait is then shared with the rest of the colony and eventually, it will wipe out the entire nest.


Method 2: How to Get Rid of Flying Ants Nest Outside


Step 1 – Use a stationary bug zapper to lure and kill flying ants. You can also use an insecticide spray intended for outdoor use to kill individual flying ants.

Step 2 – Purchase ant bait intended for outdoor use. This will exterminate any ant colonies living on your property. 

Terro 1806 Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits, 1.0 fl. oz. - 6 count
  • Kills that ants you see and the ants you don’t
  • Pre filled bait stations are Ready to use
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  • Patented station protects the bait from the elements, prevents it...

Step 3 – Use both a liquid and granular bait in each station to ensure that any species of ant you are dealing with will find it attractive.

Step 4 – Once per week, check the bait and replace it if needed.

Step 5 – Play the waiting game. As mentioned above, it can take a few days or even weeks for your property to be ant-free. The time period depends on how hard your property is infested.


Flying Ant Killer | Best Flying Ant Killer Products


Hot Shot, Ant Killer Plus Aerosol

Hot Shot HG-4480 4480 16 oz Ant Killer Plus Aerosol, Pack of 1, unknown
  • KILLS A VARIETY OF ANTS: Kills Argentine, southern, field,...
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  • FOR INDOOR AND OUTDOOR USE: Spray Hot Shot Ant Killer Plus both...
  • AEROSOL SPRAY: This water-based, unscented formula leaves no oily...

This spray kills flying ants on contact and will deter ants from coming back. This company has been a trusted name in pest control for years, and for good reason. Their products are effective and affordable.

Related: Best Natural Ant Sprays | Kids and Pet-Friendly Sprays


Caerleep Yellow Sticky Traps

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ALIGADO 50 Sheets Yellow Sticky Traps, Dual-Sided, 8x6 Inch, with Twist Ties and Plastic Holders, for Capture Insects Like Gnats, Flies, Aphids
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Caerleep yellow sticky traps are intended for a number of flying insects and are effective at catching flying ants. They can be set up in a variety of ways and cut to the right size, allowing them to be placed in any area of your home. They are non-toxic and odorless.  


ZAP IT! Bug Zapper

ZAP IT! Bug Zapper Twin Pack - Rechargeable Mosquito, Fly Killer and Bug Zapper Racket - 4,000 Volt - USB Charging, Super-Bright LED Light to Zap in The Dark - Safe to Touch (Twin Mini)
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This product works especially well for flying pests.  Just press a button on the side of the handle, and bring the paddle in contact with the flying ant. An electrical impulse will kill it immediately. This product contains a built-in safety feature, so you don’t need to worry about using it around kids or pets. 


Hoont 1 Robust Electric Indoor Ant Zapper

Hoont 1 Robust Electric Indoor Ant Zapper with UV Light and Dual Fans, Silver
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Hoont 1 Robust Electric Indoor Ant Zapper also uses electricity to kill flying ants. It includes a fan that will suck in flying ants and other bugs. A removable tray at the bottom collects the dead bugs, allowing easy cleanup.


Home Remedies for Flying Ants| Natural Way to Get Rid of Flying Ants

If you prefer a greener solution to your flying ant problem, there are a number of options available that are safe and effective. Here are a few ways to kill flying ants naturally:


• Kill Flying Ants With Vinegar

Mix a half-water, half-vinegar solution into a spray bottle and spray it on flying ants. This will not only kill the flying ants, but it will also deter other members of the colony, as ants hate the smell of vinegar.  


• Essential Oil for Flying Ants

Tea tree oil is known to kill and repel flying ants. Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil with two cups of water in a spray bottle, and spray the mist directly onto the flying ants. Just be careful when using tea tree oil around pets, as it can make them sick.


• DIY Flying Ant Killer

Mix liquid dish soap and water into a spray bottle and spray it directly onto the flying ants.  The soapy mixture will cling to the ants’ exoskeletons and suffocate them.


What Causes Flying Ants in Your House? | Prevention Guide

When it comes to deterring flying ants from entering your home, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Remember, flying ants can enter your home in two ways: they will either fly in through windows or crawl through cracks, or they are coming from a colony that is already inside your home.  Essentially, flying ant prevention is the same as any other traditional ant prevention.


• Seal up Any Cracks in Your Windows and Doors

Flying ants, as well as regular ants, usually enter your home through cracks in your windows and doors. Do a thorough inspection of the perimeter around each window and door in your home. Use a caulking gun to seal up any cracks.


• Store Food Properly

While flying ants are more interested in mating than eating, the rest of the ants in their colony are always on the prowl for something to eat. If their nest-mates do find food in your home, they are likely to set up a nest nearby. That means that sooner or later, a swarm of flying ants will be headed your way. That’s why it’s so important to store your food in sealed, airtight containers. When possible, store fresh fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator.


 Summary

When flying ants seem to appear out of nowhere, it can certainly be distressing. However, understanding where these pests come from is the key to preventing an invasion of your home. 

Keep your windows and doors tightly sealed, and store food properly so that ant colonies don’t make their way inside. This will ensure that flying ants stay outdoors, where they belong! If by any chance you get them inside your house, just use our methods to get rid of them. For more pest control content please keep following our site!

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