Everyone knows how humans reproduce but have you ever wondered how ants keep their cycle going?
Fun quiz before we dive in:
Did you know that male ants die immediately after mating and female ants chop off their wings after mating?
Well, If you didn’t, now you do.
Coincidentally, this is just your first step in knowing how to get rid of flying ants that have infested your house.
Flying ants, contrary to popular belief, are not a species of ants. They are basically normal ants that are responsible for mating and reproducing. Fly ant species vary, but mostly, they exist as black garden ants.
Flying ants belong to a colony, the smallest unit by which ants arrange their lifecycle. Every ant colony contains at least one egg-laying queen, a host of ant workers who complete most of the colony’s tasks, and winged ants responsible for reproduction.
So, if you have constantly seen winged ants, you shouldn’t be overly scared; they are not a foreign species of ant. Moreover, they are not dangerous.
However, even though they are not dangerous, their presence in the human habitat will cause any homeowner serious concern and problem. It would be best if you didn’t stress yourself over flying ants invasion; that’s why we have put together this post for your use.
Why Do Flying Ants Exist
Just like the name implies, flying ants (also called alates) indeed fly around, and it is during the flight that they mate. But don’t take them for their name; the average ants’ colony is a very organized one. The colony consists of both male and female ants saddled with different duties.
The responsibility of flying ants is to set up new colonies that will further the ant’s lifecycle. The male alates are inferior to the female ones, and they mostly live to inseminate sperm into the female alates. However, it is the female alates that actually release the pheromones to attract the male. These alates would go on to reproduce after the mating.
The gist here is that if you see alates, it might mean that a new ant colony is just near your home. And if not, the presence of alates themselves might be frustrating as they can be burdensome.
How to Differentiate Flying Ants From Termites
Most times, homeowners mistake a swarm of insects for flying termites when there is a flying insect infestation. Well, this is the norm, and you’re not alone.
It is easy to confuse a flying ant infestation with a termite infestation because of their similarities. Well, this does not always have to be the case.
In fact, before you can take drastic steps on how to get rid of flying ants, you need to know that you are dealing with the flying ant and not a termite.
Termites are pests too, and you can find them around the house. However, unlike the flying ant, they have certain features you can’t find in winged ants.
Termites have straight antennae, their wings have the same length, and they have a straight waist. Contrasting termites, winged ants have an elbow-formed antenna, unequal length wings, and a narrow or pinched waist.
Moreover, to be sure that you have a termite infestation, you need to check your structure and determine if damage has been done because termites generally love the wooden part of structures, debris from wood, and lumbers.
Unlike them, flying ants cannot cause damage to the home structure. And although a species of this ant called Carpenter ants live in woods and form their nests there, these Carpenter ants do not damage like the termite. However, much like every other pest, they can be a nuisance.
Why Do I Have Flying Ants In My House？
Like other pests, something must have attracted the flying ants to your home. Therefore, in the quest to know how to get rid of flying ants, every homeowner needs to learn why flying ants keep coming into their homes.
Here are some reasons why you may be experiencing flying ant infestation:
- An old colony
The flying ant will generally not move away from its old colony to form a new colony. So, if you are experiencing this pest around your house, a valid reason could be that you’d find an old colony around your home.
- Sweet/sugary food
Like every other pest, winged ants are attracted to sweet things such as honey and sugar. If your pantry or kitchen is not well sealed with these sweet things, flying ants might decide to use your home to feed.
During the winter, if ants are seen around, especially in the house, they try to avoid the weather, which might mean that they find your house very suitable.
How Long Do Flying Ants Stay Around？
The time that flying ants live for varies because the males only exist to inseminate their semen in the female alates. For this reason, they often die off as soon as they are done with carrying out their role in reproduction. The best of them only live for just about two or three days after mating.
The black queens that eventually develop after having their wings chopped off can live for another 15 years after starting a new colony. They only spend a tiny part of their lives as winged ants.
Even as winged ants, they do not come out all the time; they only come out in hot and humid weather between June/August.
Once mating is done, the females get rid of their wings while the males die. This right here is the answer to your question.
Can Flying Ants Damage Your Home？
Flying ants can generally not damage the home. They are merely annoying, and a swarm of these insects inside your home will make living uncomfortable.
However, they are neither harmless to humans nor poisonous. What is more? Flying ants do not bite, and members of the colony do not damage the building structure of your home.
Well, except for the Carpenter ant that can chew through wood, flying ants are not dangerous. And even carpenter ants are not anywhere as destructive as termites who eat through everything.
How Do I Get Rid Of Ants ASAP？
Before you can truly make sure to get rid of flying ants, you need to understand the methods in handy when getting rid of flying ants.
These methods vary from pest control to natural remedies or using the spray bottle. They all help to make sure that the ants you see are sent back to the colony or back to their nest.
Natural Remedies To Help In Getting Rid Of Flying Ants
1. Dish Soap
To eliminate an ant infestation, a simple housemade soap-water mixture never goes wrong.
Mixing dish soap and water to spray will help to kill the pest before you know it. The mixture dehydrates the pest and helps to kill it. So, once you fill a spray bottle up with this, you will eliminate the flying ants considerably.
2. Peppermint Oil
This is also a great natural remedy that has proven effective in eliminating rodents and pests. It has served as a potent pest control agent, and it may help to repel insects too.
As long as the peppermint oil contains some water, you are good to go. The species of ant does not matter; it will be repelled.
3. Baking Soda
This is a multipurpose item that serves a great purpose in repelling so many insects. However, for it to be effective, it should be mixed with something that will attract the ants in the first place.
Sugar can be preferably used for this. Once the sugar attracts the ants, the baking soda will do its job to kill off the insects.
Because cinnamon has high eugenol content, it can help to drive flying insects off. Once you mix the powder with water and you spray it in the affected area, the cinnamon oil serves as repellents to drive them away. It can also be used as a preventive measure before the insects come in.
The only way ants get into the room is through the walls and holes around the house. If you are looking to get rid of the flying ants that occupy your home, you can use fresh mints to stop the ants from coming in.
Unlike some other repellents, the mint will not kill the ants. Instead of doing that, it will ward them off in a way that looks nothing short of a spell.
6. Lemon mix
lemon sprays help to keep the room smelling nice and refreshed. For humans, they scent nice, which makes them great to have around. The opposite is the effect lemons have on winged ants. They repel them with their smell and help to keep the ants back to the nest
This also helps to get rid of flying ants. Once it is mixed together with water in an equal amount and sprayed, it will send them away from your home.
Vacuum cleaners can be easily used to eliminate insects. All you need to do is to use the vacuum to suck them in. Once you use the vacuum cleaner to suck in all the ants, you have to immediately dispose of the canister to stop them from coming back.
You could also decide to spray the ants with a combination of any of the repellents above when you get them.
These natural remedies can help eliminate flying ants when they occupy the house and kill off the pest problem.
However, other remedies can also help make certain to kill flying ants in your home and quench the pest problem they bring along.
Some of the alternative remedies for eliminating flying ants are:
- Bug zapper
This is widely used to attract insects and kill them off. Flying ants are not saved from this. The light will attract them, while the shock from the electric zapper kills them off.
- Sticky tape
To catch flying ants, you can use sticky tape. Just make certain to place the tape around the food, and place the bait back to where the ants in your home always visit.
This helps to trap the ant. Once it attracts the insect, the tape will hold them down, and you might then be able to kill them once and for all by yourself.
The efficacy of this method is doubted, though. This is because these insects are flying insects exactly the way the name suggests. They do not crawl, and it might be difficult for them to be caught by the trap.
If you do not want to use ant bait to trap the ants inside the house, you might have to provide another means to help in eliminating the flying ants.
Pesticides, for one, can be used to make certain that they are eliminated and sent back to the colony. However, this must be used cautiously because it could have dangerous side effects when consumed by pets and small children.
- Pest control agency
If the pest issue has become more serious than you can handle, you can hire a pest control agency to help with their expertise. Ants usually come and go depending on the time of the year and season, meaning that certain homeowners might have tried and failed with DIY methods.
In this case, a message can be sent to the pest control agency’s email address to send experts to help with the pest problem.
Seasonal pests like the flying ants can be deceitful and difficult to manage. One moment the skies are clear, and your house is free of them; the next, they are everywhere.
Having an ant problem like this can be frustrating. This is the reason why you should seek advice on how to get rid of your ant problem. Thankfully, we’ve laid down the steps to help get rid of this pest infestation, and they are sure to help.