What Are Flying Ants And How Can They Be Controlled?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:51 pm

Ants are not a good idea to have in the house, as they can cause serious damage to electrical appliances and also attack food supplies. Once the ants have made a mess of the food supplies, they have to be disposed of.

But there are not only ants that usually crawl on the ground, there are also winged ants. Where do these flying ants come from and why have they grown wings?

What Are Flying Ants And How Can They Be Controlled?

If you are struggling with flying ants in your house or apartment, then you will also be shown gentle ways to get rid of the flying ants.

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Effective means against the ants

The flying ants
The flying ant is often thought to be a separate species. Ants with wings are rather unknown and usually an ant is not able to fly. So how can it be that an ant suddenly has wings?

Ants with wings, contrary to popular belief, are not a separate species of ant. Rather, ants have the ability to develop wings. This is the case when the ants set off on a nuptial flight.

However, not all ants can experience a wedding, but only ants that were born specifically for this purpose. This is because ants have made the division of labor their principle. Thus, within an ant colony there are certain subgroups. For example, worker ants or stronger ants that are responsible for defense.

Flying ants are responsible for mating and spreading the ant species. Sexually mature males and females set out on the nuptial flight from about the beginning of May. The goal is mating.

Thereby it goes quite wildly to the thing. One female mates with about 40 males. The males, however, meet a hard fate, because after the mating they die. The female, on the other hand, sheds her wings and either returns to her home nest or establishes her own colony.

Before the ants leave for the nuptial flight, they have spent time in the nest. The winged ants can therefore only be observed during the mating season starting in May. Here, however, they can become quite a nuisance.

Ants also have not only a fixed mating season. Mating also takes place throughout the summer. Thus, it is quite possible that you will often encounter flying ants.

Moreover, the marriage is not of extremely long duration. After about two to three days, the whole spectacle dies down and you should at least have peace from flying ants again.

How do the flying ants get into the house?

Flying ants have a much easier time getting into the house than their ordinary counterparts. In most cases, ants already have an easy time. Thus, leaky windows or doors are a popular access point for the ants. Since ants are only a few millimeters in size, they can enter the house through small slits.

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They are attracted here by sweet foods. If they have found a favorable food source, an ant trail will form shortly afterwards and the worker ants will also help themselves to this food source.

Flying ants now have the advantage that they can enter the house or apartment through open windows. They are not necessarily looking for food, but either attracted by light, or just accidentally landed in the house.

Because their goal is not food, but mating with other sexually mature ants. Likewise, winged ants do not form ant trails.

However, since flying ants can still run excellently, you are altogether much more mobile and can penetrate not only through the smallest slits, but also through open windows or doors.

Upper floors can also be threatened by this, because flying ants can cover quite a remarkable distance.

Can the flying ant nest in the masonry

Like most ants, flying ants can also nest in masonry. The space requirement of the ants is relatively low and so even the smallest slits are sufficient for the ant to settle in the masonry.

Even if the damage here is rather manageable, the long-term risk should still be considered. Ants are not quite as harmless as is often assumed.

The insulating material in particular can be decomposed by the ants. This can cause further damage.

In addition, ants can also decompose other materials over time. Although the damage does not occur immediately, it becomes clearly visible over time. The danger here is that consequential damage can occur. For example, moisture could penetrate and, in the worst case, cause mold infestation.

Therefore, it is important to expel the ants from the masonry as early as possible.

As a preventive measure, all larger gaps should be sealed. This significantly reduces the ants’ habitat. The main causes here are leaking window seals and a damp masonry.

If the flying ants have already settled in the masonry, then only draining and relocating the ant colony will help.

How long does the flying ant live

The life span of flying ants is highly variable. It has already been mentioned that the life span of males is very limited.

The males die shortly after mating. Therefore, it may well happen that after the infestation of an ant swarm you will find a larger number of dead ants. This is normal in this case and you do not have to worry much.

However, the females are lucky enough to be able to start a new colony. As queens, you will have a much longer life span than your male counterparts in this regard.

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Depending on the type of ant, the lifespan can be several years. So, if you have flying ants in your house, don’t rely on them to die again shortly.

Because even if there should be a large number of dead ants, then it is only the males. However, much more harmful are the young queens, which can live for several years, incessantly producing offspring.

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Preventive measures against the flying ant

Fighting the flying ants over and over again can be quite a nuisance. After all, even if you managed to remove the current generation of flying ants from the house, there is always a risk that new nuptial pairs will settle in your house.

So, instead of starting to fight them every time, you should take preventive measures that will prevent the flying ants from entering in advance.

However, to keep flying ants away, you should take a combination of measures.

First, it is a matter of eliminating all open food sources. This is because once flying ants have discovered a food source by accident, other flying colleagues can be drawn to it in no time.

Windows and doors should remain closed if possible. In summer, however, this approach is usually not suitable and who wants to sit behind closed windows all the time?

To ensure that the windows can still be used, fly screens should be attached to the windows. The fly screens are already fine-meshed enough that flying ants usually cannot fly through them.

As a further preventive measure, bright lighting should also be avoided. This is because flying ants are also attracted by light.

In addition, old window seals should be replaced to make access more difficult for flying ants.

Fighting the flying ants effectively

However, preventive measures are not always successful. It can hardly be ruled out that a flying ant will not get past your security measures from time to time. However, if only a few flying ants get into your house or apartment, this is not a major problem, because you will hardly be able to establish new colonies and nests in this way.

However, if you discover an ant trail, then this is a clear indication that despite all precautions, a new nest has formed. So, in this case, only control will help and you should extend your precautions to better prevent future infestation.

The control of ants is similar to the control of common ants. However, while the common ants are in most cases only intruders from the outside, the flying ants have better opportunities to establish a nest in your house.

First, you should follow the ant trail to the end. This way you can trace the origin of the ant trail and locate the nest.

In most cases, however, it is advisable to hire a professional to fight the nest and relocate it with appropriate means. Especially if the nest is difficult to access and the population is so large that it is difficult to push it back with your own means, the ants should be removed by a professional.

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Home remedies against the flying ants

Alternatively, of course, you can use your own home remedies against the ants. Here it depends on where they are located.

If the ants are already in the house, then you should cut off the ants’ way to the food sources. This means that any open food should be sealed. If ants have already taken over the food, then it should be disposed of. This is because the ants may well carry bacteria that can be dangerous to humans.

If you have discovered an ant trail, you can also contain it with scents. For this purpose, you can use essential oils, lemon slices or vinegar, for example. The scents will then settle over the ant trail and the ants will become disoriented.

If the nest has been found and you recognize the possibility of relocating it, you can take a flower pot for this purpose, line it with wood wool and put it over the nest. The ants will then voluntarily move into the flower pot and you can relocate the ants quite gently.

If flying ants appear in the garden, then they cannot be contained with the means mentioned here. However, flying ants are also very sensitive to odors. Therefore, set up fragrance lamps with lavender oil or lavender bushes and the flying ants will keep their distance from your garden.

So at least you have the opportunity to keep your terrace reasonably free of flying ants. In general, however, flying ants are still relatively harmless and only when ant trails are sighted should you intervene.

In addition, fly screens can already keep most flying ants away from the house.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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