7 Simple Ways to Get Rid Of Flying Ants
Ants are bad enough when they’re crawling across the kitchen counter. But ants with wings? That’s the stuff of nightmares.
Thankfully, these flying pests are nothing more than, well, pests. They can’t hurt you, but they can be a nuisance.
FYI: flying ants are just regular ants that are sexually mature. They develop wings, and set off for flight with one purpose: to mate.
Seeing a few flying ants around the house in the summer is usually no cause for concern, and these guys tend to travel in large swarms, so you may see a lot at one time. But if you’re seeing winged ants in your home, there’s a good chance that carpenter ants have created a nest in or near your home. In the cold winter months, they seek out shelter, food and water. And your home is like a five-star hotel in the middle of a desert.
Whether you have an invasion or just a few pesky fliers, there are several ways to get rid of flying ants. Follow these steps:
Table of Contents
1. Identify the Insect
Before you attack the ants (or the nest), you need to first make sure that you’re actually dealing with flying ants – not termites.
At first glance, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the two. But these two insects have a few distinctive qualities.
- Winged ants have antennae that are bent, and they have thin waists. Flying ants also have two different sized wings, with a smaller set of hind wings.
- Termites have straight antennae, a wide waist, and their wings are equal size.
If you do have flying ants, move onto the next step.
But if you’re dealing with termites, call a professional exterminator right away. Termites can cause serious, expensive damage in a short amount of time, and you don’t want to take half measures when trying to get rid of them.
2. Use a Commercial Aerosol Spray
If you’re dealing with only a small amount of winged ants, you can use a commercial aerosol spray to get rid of them.
You can pick up a can of commercial bug poison at your local home improvement store.
Aerosol sprays are more effective because they’re easy to direct and can easily target flying ants.
Please take care when using these sprays. Don’t point them at yourself, others or pets. If you’re going to use the spray inside, make sure that it’s safe for indoor use.
3. Dish Soap
A simple mixture of water and dish soap is an effective way to kill these winged insects. The soap dehydrates the ant, killing it in the process.
Just fill up a spray bottle with soap and water, and go to town.
The great thing about this spray is that it’s non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about using it indoors (aside from the fact that it’s messy), and it won’t hurt kids or pets.
4. Lay Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) will kill ants through dehydration. The powder actually contains little sharp edges that slice right through the body of the ants. And if the ants eat it, it will shred their insides.
Ideally, you want to place DE inside of the nest. But if you can’t locate the nest, try creating a perimeter around a food source that will attract the ant. The ant will walk through the DE, and die shortly after.
Make sure that you use food-grade DE, which is safe to use around kids and pets. Do not wet the powder. It needs to be dry for the sharp edges to be truly effective.
5. Track Down the Nest, and Attack
If you’re dealing with an ant invasion, you need something a bit more thorough than spraying ants with a bottle of soap. Otherwise, you may be there all day and night attacking these pests.
Before you put your plan of attack into motion, put on your investigator cap and track down the nest. The best way to find the nest is to follow the trail of ants. They’ll usually lead you right to their nest.
Killing the colony is a permanent solution, and will kill both the flying ants as well as their grounded cousins.
Once you’ve found the nest, use a commercial pesticide to kill the colony. Ideally, you want to choose a bait that the ants will take back to their nest.
6. Set a Trap with Borax and Sugar
Borax is lethal to ants. Mix it with something sweet, and they’ll take this sweet-smelling bait back to the nest for everyone to feast on.
Once the queen and the worker ants eat the borax solution, they will die off.
Mix together equal parts borax and sugar. Add in water slowly to create a paste. Spread the paste on a piece of paper and place the paper in the problem area. The ants (both the flying and grounded ants) will be attracted to the paste.
7. Seal Off Entry Points
If you can’t find any nests, the ants may just be coming into your home from outside. The best way to keep them from getting back in is to seal off any cracks and close any gaps that may be letting them get inside.
Check your foundation for cracks, and seal them right away. Silicone caulk can also be used to seal off other points of entry.
Clean the area with soap and water or vinegar to clear any pheromone trails and keep the ants from coming back inside.
Flying ants can be troubling to see, but they aren’t harmful – although they can be a nuisance. Use the tips above to kill these winged ants one by one, or attack them at the source: the nest.
Please be extra careful if you’re using borax around children or pets, as it can be toxic in high doses. To be on the safe side, boil the sugar, water and borax together in a pot. Dip cotton balls in the mixture, and place it in trouble areas to attract the ants.