Ants are a common pest in the United States, but flying ants can be even more alarming to those who don’t know much about them. If you have noticed flying ants around your home or property, don’t worry. These ants are less mysterious than they may seem.
Still, you’re likely wondering how you wound up with flying ants in or around your home. Where did these pests come from? Are they more problematic than regular non-flying ants? And, most importantly, how do you get rid of them?
Today, we are going to answer all of your questions and go over some tips, tricks and products you can use to get rid of flying ants and keep them from returning.
What Are Flying Ants?
Also known as alate ants, flying ants are simply ants who have reached sexual maturity in their colony.
There are an estimated 10,000 or more ant species in the world and over 1,000 ant species in the United States. When we think of ants, we usually think about the crawling kind that invade our homes, yards and sidewalks. Rarely do we think about flying ants, which can make coming across these insects quite shocking.
However, flying ants are actually completely normal in most ant colonies, though you’re likely not going to see flying ants hanging around with worker ants who are tending to the queen. Hold on – worker ants? Flying ants? How many types of ants are there in a colony?
Well, in a typical colony, there are three types of ants. These ants include:
- Worker/Soldier Ants
- Alate Ants
- The Queen Ant
Flying ants, or alate ants, are worker ants that have reached sexual maturity in their colony. When this happens, the worker ants develop wings and fly away from their colony in search of a mate. Alate ants can be both male and female, and often fly away to meet up with other flying ants from other colonies in their region.
Doing this allows the ants the best chance at finding a compatible mate and allows the female flying ants, (sometimes known as princess ants), the opportunity to become a queen and begin her own colony.
The reason we only see flying ants for a brief period is because these ants lose their wings after mating. Male flying ants generally lose their wings and die immediately after finding a mate while female flying ants can fly for a bit longer until they find a suitable spot to build their colony.
Once the female establishes her home base, she will shed her wings and never fly again.
The below video discusses flying ants further and takes you through how and why they develop wings to mate.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that flying ants are generally a secondary symptom to an ant infestation. Flying ants are actually in the process of leaving the colony, which means getting rid of them will only solve a temporary issue and not the real problem, which is the ant colony in or around your home from which the flying ants originated from.
We should also note that seeing one flying ant does not mean you automatically have an ant infestation or colony in your home. It could just mean that a flying ant found its way inside your home or onto your property.
However, it’s important to know for sure.
Flying ants can be so problematic because many people often confuse them for a unique species of ant all their own. Furthermore, some people even confuse flying ants for termites. When this happens, money and time can be wasted on ineffective treatments and products.
Still, if you see a number of flying ants or you have found evidence of ants in your home or on your property, then you likely have a large colony of ants somewhere that needs addressing.
With that being said, it’s important to know the species of ant you are dealing with before you move forward with a treatment plan.
Keep reading to learn more.
How To Identify Flying Ants
Before you see flying ants, you may have noticed signs of worker ant activity in or around your home.
While there are thousands of ant species throughout the world, most ants are not considered pests. However, there are a few species of common ants in the US that can cause damage to our homes or even carry bacteria that may lead to illnesses in people and pets.
Ants are also responsible for thousands of dollars in food waste each year. The most common ant species in the United States that are considered pest ants and that contain flying ants in include:
Carpenter ants are some of the most feared ants in the United States due to their destructive behaviors. In very large numbers, carpenter ants have been known to severely damage structures and can cost homeowners thousands in repairs. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood but instead drill through the wood to make their chambers inside walls, flooring, and even furniture.
Pavement ants are some of the smaller of the ant species and are most commonly found outdoors crawling around the cracks of pavement and sidewalks. They can enter homes in very large numbers and invade pantry foods, garbage bins, kitchens and bathrooms.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants are not dangerous, but they are a serious nuisance in large numbers when they invade homes. They emit an overwhelming odor that smells sickly sweet and foul, and can infest and taint pantry foods, costing thousands of dollars in food waste. Odorous house ants are small and often find their way into homes through cracks, crevices, ripped screens or other means of entry. Once inside, they can multiply quickly and become difficult to get rid of.
Along with the above three common types of ants that contain flying ants in their colony, there are also:
- Pharaoh Ants
- Fire Ants
- Acrobat Ants
- Argentine Ants
- Asian Needle Ants
- Crazy Ants
- Dark Rover Ants
- And Field Ants
If you have an ant infestation in your home, it’s important to identify the species of ant you are dealing with. But how do you know if you have an infestation? You will likely see signs of ant activity before you see flying ants ready to mate.
Some common signs of ants in the home include:
- An ant nest near or on your property
- One or two scout ants in your home looking for food
- A line of ants or ant pathways
- Dropping a piece of food and having ants quickly overtake it
- Smelling a sweet, foul odor (a sign of odorous house ants)
- Finding ants crawling in and out of wooden champers in walls, furniture or wood posts (carpenter ants)
What Attracts Flying Ants To Your Home?
Flying ants are usually a secondary problem to an ant infestation already inside your home.
Because flying ants are simply sexually mature ants of most any home-invading ant species, these pests can be found in and around your home as they are leaving a colony. You may also find flying ants swarming outside your home or near your home as they are looking for mates.
Before flying ants become flying ants, they are part of their colony and are worker ants. And before they are worker ants, they arrive by way of an impregnated queen.
Ants can be attracted to your home for a number of reasons, whether they have discovered an easy food source, their queen ant has built her colony near your home, or you have easy entry points for scout ants like cracks or crevices along your foundation.
Like all insects, ant colonies invade homes that provide them with an abundance of food, shelter and water. If you do notice ant activity in your home, it’s important to first identify the ant species and then come up with a game plan to get rid of them for good.
How To Get Rid Of Flying Ants – Most Popular Methods
Ants are common pests, so there are plenty of products and methods you can use to get rid of them.
Since ants and flying ants are such common pests to contend with in the US, there are plenty of methods and products available to get rid of them. That said, keep in mind that flying ants, while alarming, are not the main problem. Flying ants are a secondary problem to what is potentially a colony of ants in or around your home.
While some aerosol sprays can help you eliminate flying ants one by one or even swarms of flying ants around your home, they will not solve your ant problem altogether. To get rid of the flying ants bothering you and keep them from returning, you will need to locate the colony they came from.
Some of the most common methods for how to get rid of flying ants include using natural methods, home remedies, insecticides and professionals.
Not every method is right or will work for every home or every person, and it’s important to remember that not all ant infestations are the same.
While some people may find that natural methods work best and are safest for their family and pets, others may be experiencing a very large infestation that only insecticides can help quell. Furthermore, some infestations of ants and flying ants can be so overwhelming that you may feel you need to contact a professional.
If you’re not sure which method would be best for you and your unique situation, keep reading. We have listed the different methods along with some products you can use for how to get rid of flying ants. Take a look.
How To Get Rid Flying Ants Using Natural Methods
Natural methods for how to get rid of flying ants are usually safer for people, pets and the environment.
Many people are fans of using natural methods for how to get rid of flying ants because these methods and products work without the use of harsh chemicals or insecticides.
For this reason, natural methods are generally safer for people, pets and the environment. Many natural methods include products like ultrasonic pest repeller plug ins, natural sprays, and other forms of organic pest control remedies.
Not sure which products are best for you? We have listed some of our favorite products for how to get rid of flying ants naturally below.
MDXConcepts Organic Home Pest Control Spray
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Sprays are generally best if you are looking for products to specifically target and kill flying ants. The above spray by MDXConcepts is an organic form of pest control that uses essential oils and plant-based ingredients to kill and repel ants, roaches, spiders, earwigs, and plenty of other crawling and flying insects around your home.
This product is safe enough to use inside your home and in areas where food is stored and prepared like kitchens and pantries. That said, remember that it is a pest control spray and should be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children.
TBI Pro Ultrasonic Pest Repellent Wall Plug-In
Ultrasonic pest repeller products are highly effective in preventing pest problems and keeping flying ants from becoming an issue in the first place. Many people use ultrasonic pest repellers to help get rid of not only ants, but also mice, rats, snakes, spiders, and other creepy crawly pests.
The repellent works by emitting ultrasonic sound waves and vibrations that are harmless to people and pets but highly irritating to pests. The products plug into wall outlets and do not use any chemicals or ingredients at all. They are also generally maintenance free.
The above ultrasonic pest repeller product can reach up to 4,000 square feet and can be used in a number of different rooms as needed.
Harris Glue Pest Traps
Sticky ant traps are not designed to eliminate an ant infestation and will certainly not help with flying ants, but they can help you identify the type of ants you are dealing with and monitor a colony in or around your home.
We like the above sticky glue traps by Harris because they use non-toxic glue and are made with a folding design that can help keep kids and pets from getting stuck. This product is safe and effective and can even help you monitor your home for other pest invasions like bed bugs, roaches and spiders.
Diatomaceous Earth is a popular form of pest control beloved by those who prefer organic methods for how to get rid of flying ants. Of course, because flying ants fly, getting rid of them using diatomaceous earth may not be effective directly.
Instead, this powder can help eliminate the colony that the flying ants come from. The product is made from fossilized algae and works by penetrating the exoskeleton of ants, which dehydrates and kills them.
Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic, completely natural and safe for people, pets and the environment. It also works to eliminate other pest infestations like roaches, spiders, bed bugs, earwigs, and more.
Boric Acid Ant Killer
Boric acid is an effective form of pest control that is often used by those who are somewhere in between a moderate and large pest infestation. Though it is derived from a natural compound, boric acid can be harmful to people and pets if ingested in large quantities.
That said, this ant bait is effective in not only killing scout ants, but often the entire colony. This is because the boric acid is designed not to kill ants right away and allows the ants to bring the food back to the queen. Once in contact with water, boric acid expands in ants’ stomachs and kills them.
Wondercide Natural Pest Control Indoor Spray
Essential oils can be very effective when it comes to natural forms of pest control, which is one of the reasons Wondercide has been found to work so well. When it comes to getting rid of flying ants, many people would prefer a spray that protects them from these air-borne insects.
Wondercide works using essential oils like peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil and cedar oil to kill flying ants and other pests on contact. Wondercide can also help prevent pests from returning and can help control pests like fleas, ticks, roaches, spiders, mites, and flies.
Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control Spray
Ant infestations almost always begin outdoors, so you can prevent infestations from even beginning by using a year-round pest control spray. If you would prefer to use a natural spray for around the perimeter of your home and in your yard, we recommend Wondercide outdoor spray.
The above order includes an attached wand for easy application and the product is effective enough to get rid of pests like ants, earwigs, roaches, fleas, ticks, spiders, and many more while also being gentle enough to use directly on garden plants. It is also safe for people, pets and the environment.
How To Get Rid Of Flying Ants Using Home Remedies
Chalk dust can help keep ants from entering your property.
Along with using natural methods for how to get rid of flying ants, many people enjoy using do it yourself pest control methods and home remedies. Considering there are so many household ingredients that work well for how to get rid of flying ants, we think this is a great idea!
In fact, some household ingredients that repel flying ants and the other ants in their colony include:
- Essential Oils
- White Vinegar
- Citrus Fruits
- Castile Soap
- Salt and Pepper
How To Get Rid Of Flying Ants Using An Essential Oil Spray
Many types of essential oils can work to get rid of not only flying ants, but many other different types of pests. Some of the best essential oils you can use to get rid of flying ants include peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, citrus oil, citronella oil, lemongrass oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil.
You can make your own essential oil spray to repel flying ants by mixing one cup of water into a spray bottle and adding ten to fifteen drops of the essential oil or oils of your choice. Mix the solution thoroughly and spray it as needed around your home and anywhere you have noticed ant activity.
To help eliminate flying ants around your home, you can add three to five drops of liquid dish soap to the solution and shake the bottle until it is sudsy. The liquid dish soap will coat the flying ants and make it impossible for them to fly. It will also suffocate them and kill them on contact.
How To Get Rid Of Flying Ants With A Homemade White Vinegar Spray
Many pests are repelled by white vinegar, which is great news for any of you clean freaks out there. When mixed with water, white vinegar makes an excellent and organic cleaning solution you can use on surfaces, tables, countertops, toys and more. The smell of white vinegar also repels pests like flying ants.
To make your own white vinegar spray, mix one cup of water into one cup of vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle. You can even add a few drops of an essential oil like peppermint oil to make the solution smell good.
How To Get Rid Of Flying Ants Using Chalk, Cinnamon, or Cornmeal
Cinnamon, chalk and cornmeal all work as ant deterrents because ants do not like walking through these substances. You can use these substances to prevent ants from coming into your home or to prevent them from getting to pantry foods.
While using these methods may not prevent flying ants who have already sprouted their wings, it can stop worker or soldier ants in their tracks before they get into your home and reach sexual maturity.
How To Get Rid Of Flying Ants Using Insecticides
A large infestation of ants and flying ants may require more intensive treatments.
A large infestation of ants may not be able to be stopped by natural methods or home remedies on their own. In some cases, you may need to use insecticides and chemical products to get rid of ants and prevent flying ants from becoming an overwhelming problem.
Keep in mind, however, that insecticides often contain chemicals that can be toxic to people and pets and can sometimes even be harmful for the environment. Use insecticides only as directed and keep them out of reach of children and pets.
Hot Shot Ant Killer Aerosol
Most products with permethrin will work for how to get rid of ants, but we have included the above aerosol by Hot Shot because it can work especially well in controlling and eliminating flying ants who are swarming around your property.
This product is also effective in eliminating other pests including silverfish, roaches, spiders and flies. You can use this product as a target treatment both inside and outside your home. However, keep in mind that it does contain a chemical insecticide that can be dangerous for people and pets.
Amdro Ant Block Granule
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One of the best ways to prevent flying ants from becoming a problem at all is to control the colonies around your home. And since most ant infestations begin outside, we recommend using a perimeter pest control method to get rid of ants before they can get indoors.
The granules above are a poisoned attractant designed to be used on ant colonies outdoors. The ants eat the granules and bring them back to share with the colony, which can effectively eliminate colones and get rid of worker ants, flying ants, and even the queen.
However, this product does contain chemicals and should be used with caution.
TERRO Liquid Ant Bait Killer
Another bait that can help eliminate the entire colony of ants is the above bait by Terro. This is a liquid bait product that can work against ants and roaches and is designed to eliminate the entire colony, just like the granules above.
The product can be used indoors but it can be toxic to people and pets and should be used with caution and only as directed.
How To Get Rid Of Flying Ants – When To Call A Professional
A professional pest control expert can help you pinpoint the source of your flying ant problem.
Not all ant invasions require professional help, but some species of ants can be particularly destructive. If you notice damage to wood surfaces, flooring, furniture, or structural beams, you may have carpenter ants.
Other types of ants can invade food sources and spread throughout the house. If you find you are facing an ant infestation that you cannot identify or control on your own, it is always wise to contact a professional.
Most professional pest control experts charge around $100 to $500, but they can cost more depending on your region and the severity of your infestation. However, once you manage to pinpoint the source of your flying ants issue and are able to eliminate the colony from which they came, we recommend focusing on preventive measures to keep the flying ants from returning.
How To Prevent A Future Problem With Flying Ants
Practice routine home maintenance and keep your home sealed to avoid ants and other pests from entering.
Prevention is incredibly important when it comes to pest control. Remember, just because you managed to get rid of flying ants the first time doesn’t mean they won’t return if the conditions are right. In order to keep ant colonies and their subsequent flying ants from becoming a problem in or around your home again, we suggest following the below steps.
Clean Up Dirty Dishes And Seal Garbage Bins
An ant infestation can happen in your home faster than you may realize. Once scout ants find a good source of food, they can alert the whole colony. Leaving dirty dishes out overnight or having an unsealed garbage bin may help ants to find your home. Avoid flying ants and ant colonies by washing dishes as you use them, soaking dishes in soapy water overnight, or putting them straight into a dishwasher if you have one.
Seal Food Properly
Since ants have such a good sense of smell, any type of food left out can encourage them to come into your home. You can keep flying ants at bay by storing perishable foods in the refrigerator and pantry foods in airtight containers. We also recommend not leaving fruit out to get overripe in fruit bowls on the counter.
Clean, Vacuum and Sweep Often
Make sure you practice good habits and clean often using vacuums, brooms and cleaning products. This will help eliminate crumbs and other food sources ants are attracted to in your home and help keep flying ants from invading your space.
Keep Up With Routine Home Maintenance
Ants cannot become a problem if they cannot get into your home. Of course, ants are very small so keeping them out forever could be difficult. Still, you can lower your chances of dealing with an ant infestation by caulking and sealing cracks and crevices along your foundation. You should also make sure gaps in doorways and windows are repaired and that rips in screens are fixed.
Remove Large Colonies Of Ants Near Your Property
Keep an eye on your lawn and property and remove or control large ant colonies near your home. You should also try and keep vegetation at least three feet from your home’s perimeter to avoid giving ants and other pests an ideal nesting spot and thus easier access to your home’s interior.
Keep Up With Routine Pest Control Year-Round
Last, it’s always a good idea to use a routine form of pest control year-round, even if it is not “pest season” in your area. Some pests can be problematic all year long, even if you only see them during certain times throughout the year.
And remember, most flying ants are not harmful to people or pets, though they can be startling to come across. Luckily, if you keep up with routine pest control and follow the steps, tips and tricks listed above, you should be able to enjoy your home and property pest-free.
Best of luck!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.