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How To Get Rid of Flying Ants (aka Swarming Ants!)

Dealing with a sinister trail of ants marching around your kitchen sink is already unnerving enough as it is.

Now just imagine your horror when these ants unfold their wings and begin to fly around your kitchen.

An infestation of flying ants (fire, carpenter, sugar, etc), are actually ants "swarming" or attempting to mate!

Read on about how to to effectively solve this problem and prevent it from happening again going forward.

getting rid of flying ants

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Why Do Ants Have Wings In the First Place?

Unfortunately, some ants do, actually, have the ability to fly. And as much as you want to think that seeing these winged insects at home is a big problem, the truth is that it's a normal once a year occurrence.

Once a year the reproductive caste of male and female ants dawn wings to reproduce with other nearby colonies, This can happen with fire ants, carpenter ants (not termites), sugar ants, protein ants, and any other ant type you can think of (mostly).

Take a look at what an ant swarm actually looks like below.

At the first sign of these winged insects, the first step is to keep calm. Don't worry—this pest issue is a common obstacle among a lot of households during the summer months.

The reproductive males and queens are the only ants which have wings. When you see these insects swarming around your home, it means that these ants are preparing to mate with another colony.

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Flying Ants Vs Flying Termites

It's important to call out that if you have swarming ants in or around your house, that yes, it does suck, but it isn't the end of the world and won't cause too much harm outside of a little annoyance.

The difference comes when you have flying termites ALSO swarming in or around your house. This is bad, as termites can be a source of a lot of damage to homes.

See below for an excerpt from from Texas A&M's site outlining some of the main differences between swarming ants and swarming termites.

Below is also a good video to show you exactly what a termite swarm looks like.

Now the level of worry you should have largely depends on WHERE you see termites (or flying ants for that matter).  Let's have a look at what you should do in either case.

What If You See Flying Ants Inside Your House?

Unfortunately, if you see ants with wings INSIDE your home, it means that you have an ant colony somewhere inside your house and that the colony is trying to expand. 

This is bad, and I would recommend looking into the following guides:

We also recommend gathering a few free quotes from our exterminator search tool.

It's worth noting if you've never seen an ant in your home, then it is possible the the insect got in through a window or door. Just be aware in both cases!

What If You See Flying Ants Outside Your House?

Outside is where you will most likely encounter swarming ants, which is good and totally normal.

After mating, the male winged ants die while the queen sheds its wings and builds a new colony.

Carpenter ants are quite destructive because they burrow through your home's wood foundations to establish a colony. In fact, due to their destructive nature and their small bodies, winged ants are often mistaken for termites!

It's an easy mistake to make—some need a magnifying glass to spot the minute differences in the two insects!

winged ant facts

While these winged creatures do substantially less damage to homes than termites, carpenter ants can still pack a punch to your woodwork. If you are faced with a swarm of these winged ants, it's imperative that you solve the problem immediately. 

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How To Get Rid of Ants with Wings?

Ants with wings emerge during mating season. Aside from the fact that their end game is to produce more annoying pests, their presence simply means that there's an infestation inside or around your property. 

So, how you get rid of them?

Spray 'Em as You See 'Em

Insecticide sprays are highly effective in killing these ants upon contact. 

However, this is only an advisable option if you are dealing with just a few flying ants at home. Spraying aerosol insecticide can only kill ants one by one as they fly into the mist unless theirs a residual effect.

Below are a few tips you can use to maximize your success when using an aerosol spray to take down the carpenter ants in your home.

  • If you have children or pets at home, make sure to buy an ant insecticide spray composed of chemicals marked for indoor use.
  • Spray when you have the house to yourself. If this isn't possible, corner yourself in one spot in the house to avoid accidental contact with other family members.
  • To make sure that your spray is highly effective in killing ants mid-flight, purchase a spray nozzle with a wide coverage range.

If you prefer to use a milder formula, you can easily make one on your own. Simply mix water and soap with essential oils known as effective ant repellents. These include peppermint, cinnamon leaf, pine oil, and lemon juice. 

We also recommend you read our carpenter ant killing guide. Click here to check that out.

​Use Fly Sticky Tape

Although they're originally intended for house flies, sticky tapes are quite effective in catching winged ants. This is especially true if they're annoyingly hovering across your porch when you're trying to relax and enjoy the sunset.

Just like any other flying insect, winged ants usually hover around light sources at home. Unroll and hang the fly sticky tape near light bulbs, lanterns, lamps, or any source of bright light to catch most—if not all—of them. 

Check out our top fly traps here.

​Hold a Basin of Water Directly Under a Swarmed Light Source

As mentioned earlier, winged ants usually fly around your light sources at home.

You can easily eliminate these annoying insects by holding a vase, bowl, or any other sort of basin (half-filled with water and a splash of dish soap) directly underneath the hovering swarm. Hold it for at least two to three minutes...or until your arms get tired.

The ants will eventually fly low and crash into the basin. Their wings will get stuck in the suds, and the insects will eventually drown.

Of course, the wider the mouth of the basin, the more effective it is in catching flying ants.

​The Final Blow

The aforementioned tips are just temporary solutions and are not effective in getting rid of winged ants for good.

As long as their permanent nest is still there, more and more winged ants will emerge in the future.

Think of this nest as a home base: unless it is removed for keeps, you'll be fixing this problem again and again, season after season. In order to avoid getting swarmed again by these nasty winged insects, it's best that you deliver the final blow to the nest. 

Winged ants are male and females ants looking to mate, plain and simple. When tending to an ant problem, carefully observe their trails simultaneously. Think of the swarming as a signal that you might have an ant infestation somewhere. When you find one ant (not a swarmer), take note of their trail and see if you can sniff out the nest.

This will help you locate their colony, or at least point you to the entrance of their nest. Use ant baits and apply them alongside their trail nearest to the suspected nest location. This will allow the ants to take the bait back to the nest and exterminate the rest of the colony. 

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