What Are Flying Ants & What Are They Attracted To?
The appearance of wings adds a new element to the annoyance caused by ants. Flying ants have the ability to spread out further, which increases the seriousness of an infestation.
Plus, there’s nothing worse than having biting insects buzzing around your house. Flying ants are attracted to several things, and identifying which ones exist on your property helps you deal with this common problem.
Do All Species of Ants Fly?
If this is your first time seeing ants with wings, you might wonder if you’ve stumbled upon a different species. The truth is that this is often a sign that the ants in your area are in their mating season.
At certain times of the year, ants in their reproductive stage sprout wings and fly around to find a mate. This usually occurs from early to mid-spring, but some species make their nuptial flights in the summer or fall.
After the ants mate, the female loses her wings and builds her nest. The male ant either dies or returns to his worker status. Either way, flying ants are usually temporary and will eventually disappear until they return the next mating season.
How Do You Tell the Difference Between Winged Ants and Termites?
Winged ants are often mistaken for termites, leading to serious panic. However, a few clear differences can aid the common person in identifying which pest they are dealing with.
Ants have bent antennae, while termites have straight ones. You’ll also notice that termites have two pairs of wings equal in size. Ants have smaller second pairs of wings compared to the ones up front.
An ant’s waist tends to be slender, giving the appearance of an hourglass figure. Termites have broader bodies that appear straighter.
Although it might seem better to find out that you’re dealing with flying ants, this is still not a time to relax. Carpenter ants are a common flying type to find on your property that can also cause damage to wood structures.
When Do Flying Ants Come Out?
Flying ants might be spotted anytime or night as they leave their colonies to search for food and water. Yet, you might notice an uptick in the number of ants you see as the sun sets.
Flying ants often engage in swarming during the cooler parts of the day, and they are most likely to show up after a rainstorm. While they’ll eventually turn in for the night by returning to their colonies, they will spend the early dusk hours searching for a mate.
What Attracts Flying Ants to Your House?
Like other insects, flying ants often seem attracted to heat and light. For this reason, you might want to turn off porch lights and other bright objects around when the flying ants are experiencing their peak activity level.
Flying ants also look for places that have access to food and water. A recently reproduced female could also begin looking around your property for a safe place to build their nest. Reducing attractants on your property can prevent infestations from taking hold.
If you suspect the winged insects are carpenter ants, you may need to take extra precautions. While carpenter ants prefer dry wood, they may be attracted to moist materials that make it easier to start building their colonies.
Do Flying Ants Go Away On Their Own?
The sudden disappearance of flying ants might give you the false impression that all is clear. But, this typically isn’t the case. The cessation of flying bugs usually means that the mating season has ended, and the ants have returned to their crawling status.
Although the male ants might have mostly died off, the problem is just beginning. Those flying females who were so busy swarming have now conceived and are moving around to start making their babies.
Depending upon where they end up, you might notice a new set of ant problems occurring once the eggs hatch. If the flying ants were carpenter types, you might not notice that the insects still inhabit your property until the damage gets severe.
How to Get Rid of Flying Ants
Since you can’t trust that the ants will go away on their own, you’ll need to be proactive. Ant populations grow quickly, and you’ve already seen a sign that they are working hard on increasing their numbers.
While you can swat a flying ant like you would a fly, you won’t be very successful if this is the only control measure you implement. To successfully get rid of flying ants, you’ll need to take these simple steps.
Make Sure They Are Flying Ants
If hearing that the flying ants might be termites makes you nervous, then you can rest assured that there is an easy way to find out. Asking a professional pest technician to visit your property helps you get a fast ID on the type of insect you are dealing with.
The technician can also tell you if the ant is from the carpenter species or another type. You can use this information to determine whether or not you need to check the structural integrity of the building materials.
Locate the Primary Colonies
Once an active ant problem is identified, the technician can use special tools and a visual inspection to determine where the flying insects are coming from. Some ant colonies create visual evidence on the surface of the ground, such as those mounds that fire ants make.
Others might exist within your home’s walls or under the floor. Outdoors, ant colonies can extend for vast distances underground. Finding the primary colony location makes it easier to ensure that the pesticide is applied where the ants spend the most time.
Whatever you do, avoid spraying pesticide like a cloud into the active swarm of flying ants. This will only serve the purpose of causing them to scatter, which can drive them further out onto your property.
Instead, work with the technician to put pesticides where they will do the most good. You might also need to use baits and powders to control the ants, depending upon where they exist in your home.
Get Rid of Entry Points
Flying ants might get inside of your house just by you opening the doors. However, they might also get inside through cracks around the windows and doors or use broken plumbing lines to access the building.
As your plan’s final part, look around your property to find potential access points. Repairing these areas can deter ants from finding a new place to build a colony. Ants can often be found in bathrooms, garages, kitchens, and even in your laundry!
The ant mating season can ruin a lovely spring or fall afternoon. But, you don’t have to let this reproductive ritual ruin your comfort. Watching out for flying ants gives you an edge on finding the problem early enough to prevent them from rapidly reproducing and growing their colonies on your property.