You might think that ants are typically wingless insects, but when these pests gain a certain level of maturity, they start developing wings. It can be a nightmarish experience to see these ants unfold their wings and begin to fly around your house, but fortunately, getting rid of these winged creatures isn’t as hard as it seems. Read on to know more about flying ants and how to get rid of flying ants effectively.
What is a flying ant?
Flying ants are simply ants that have reached sexual maturity. Also known as alates, these ants are sexually active male and female ants that fly out of their colonies to look for suitable mates and find a good place to start a colony.
What do flying ants look like, exactly?
Flying ants have wings and are bigger in size when compared to typical worker ants. They have a pinched waist, and elbowed antennae and their bodies can be brown, black, or reddish in color. They have two pairs of brown-tinted wings of unequal length.
Do flying ants bite or sting?
Flying ants are focused on mating, and they usually don’t bite. However, some species may occasionally sting. A simple way of finding out if a flying ant is potentially harmful: if the ant species are known to bite or sting, the alates of that species can bit or sting if threatened. If the ant species don’t bite or sting, their alates won’t bite or sting either.
What causes flying ants?
If you are wondering, “why do these winged ants enter your house”? here are some of the reasons:
- They are in search of food to feed on and moist, dark hidden areas for establishing colonies. If you see flying ants, it could mean that there is a well-established hidden colony fostering reproducing ants.
- If you see carpenter ants in house, it means there is decaying wood somewhere in your house. Carpenter ants do not eat the decaying wood but use it to make tunnels and galleries for them to nest.
How can I get rid of flying ants?
When swarming begins, there’ll be hundreds of thousand ants swarming. Fortunately, swarming doesn’t happen frequently, and when it does happen, it typically lasts for a few hours to a few days. Follow these tips to get rid of flying ants:
- Tackle the problem immediately
- Use a vacuum cleaner to vacuum the swarms. Remove the vacuum bag and take it out of the house immediately.
- If you notice ants crawling or flying, kill them with a pesticide spray.
- Fill a spray bottle with two parts of water, one part of liquid soap, and a few drops of peppermint oil. Spray this mixture on the ants. The oil suffocates the ants and the soap dehydrates them.
- Destroy their colony
The best way to get rid of flying ants is to attack the source – the colony. Set a bait by mixing a sweet substance like honey with borax powder. The ants fall for the bait and take it to their colony. The borax disrupts the ants’ reproduction cycle and kills the entire colony.
- Remove and replace any rotten, decaying wood
Damaged and decaying wood is a perfect breeding place for carpenter ants. Carpenter ant infestation is serious because of its ability to cause structural damage. Therefore, it is important to replace any decaying, rotten wood under the floors or in the walls.
- Seal up cracks and crevices around your home
Make sure you seal the cracks in windows, walls, and baseboards. Also, seal the areas that look like they could be letting in the ants from outside.
- Take professional help
Professional exterminators have the expertise and equipment necessary to solve your problem once and for all. If you are looking for high-quality and cost-effective pest control services in California, Take Care Termites & Pest Control provides you the best defense against potential swarms.
How to prevent flying ants?
Eliminating the food sources is the best way to protect your home from ant infestation. Keep your kitchen countertops and floors clean, and store the food in closed containers. Even if you have treated the ant problem, ensure that you seal any cracks around baseboards and windows or in walls to reduce the chances of a second invasion. Ensure that you regularly inspect and repair decaying wood to prevent carpenter ant infestation.
Flying ants vs. Termites
Although flying ants and termites swarmers look similar because of their color, size, and wings, there are notable differences between flying ants vs. termites.
Flying ants have a long, narrow, segmented waist. The two wings on each side of their body are of unequal length; the longer wings are clear or smoky in color, toward the anterior of the ant. They have bent or elbowed antennae.
On the other hand, termites have two wings of equal length on each side. Unlike flying ants, the termite’s wings break off when they land on the ground. They have straight antennae, and the waist is broadly joined.
Hopefully, the tips given above have provided you with a starting point on identifying and subsequently eliminating flying ants in your home.