An ant infestation is one thing, but when they suddenly start flying at you, it’s like something out of 80s sci-fi horror. If you’ve got an ant infestation, you’re going to be dealing with flying ants or alates sooner or later.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is our step by step guide will help you get rid of them.
What Are Flying Ants?
In a colony, the queen and male ants have wings, which they use when it’s time to mate. Virgin queen ants and drones take to the sky on ‘flying ant day’ or what’s otherwise called their nuptial flight. After mating, the queen and drones drop to the ground, where the males die, and the queen sheds her wings and sets off to start up a new colony.
The fact that you have flying ants means you have nests, which you might not have even been aware of. Also, given that they’re mating just above your head and the queen will soon be on the lookout for a new nesting spot is pretty much a giveaway that your ant problem is going to get worse in the not so distant future.
7 Ways to Get Rid of Flying Ants
What you want to do, other than run for the hills screaming, is get rid of them as quickly as possible. Our handy tips will help you get rid of these winged pests in your home and yard, and to prevent another scourge.
1. Use an Aerosol Bug Spray
Your first line of defense is an aerosol spray that kills bugs on contact. There’s a wide range available, and what you use on non-flying ants will work on these too. Just make sure it’s one that’ll kill the specific species you’ve got dive-bombing you.
We found sprays that have an easy to direct nozzle are the best bet, as you’re able to easily spray the arts, even when they’re in mid-flight.
2. Make Your Own Bug Spray
Don’t have any commercial bug spray in your house? No problem. Whip up your own ant killer with some peppermint oil, one part liquid soap, and two parts water.
Mix everything together and dispense into a spray bottle. You can use this while the ants are flying or on the ground. The peppermint oil suffocates the ants and kills while they’re flying or on the ground.
3. Use a Spray With Dish Soap
Another homemade spray that works really well is dish soap with water. Although it doesn’t kill them on contact, the soap sticks to their bodies, causing dehydration and eventually death.
It’s easy to make. Simply add a few squirts of the liquid soap to a bottle of water, then give it a good shake so it’s all mixes. Then spray.
4. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth
You can also get rid of flying ants by sprinkling diatomaceous earth near possible food sources. The sharp-jagged granules pierce the ant’s body, and the ant eventually dies from dehydration.
Keep in mind though, this won’t have any effect while the ants are flying, but it will work once they’re back on terra firma. Also, it won’t work if it’s wet, so don’t place it in puddles, and reapply after heavy rain.
5. Zap Them
Go old school with a bug Zapper to get rid of flying ants. If you know where they usually are, then simply place it in that spot, sit back and wait for the zapping to begin.
The other option is to hang it in open spaces so that ants accidentally fly into it. If you have children and small pets around, position the zapper out of reach. Although the voltage Isn’t high enough to do serious damage, it’s still pretty painful.
6. Use a Tape Trap to stop them in their Tracks
You could use a tape trap to get rid of flying ants, post their nuptial flight. There are loads of commercial glue traps available, or you could make your own. Simply lay strips of it close to food sources, sticky side up, of course. The idea is as they land, they walk across the tape and get stuck.
For even better results, pour honey or sprinkle some sugar on the tape. This will attract the ants to the tape. The only downside is it won’t have any effect on the ants while they’re flying ants. But it will get rid of the ants on the ground.
7. Bowls of Soapy Water Also work
Keep it simple with a bowl of soapy water, and a light source. Flying ants are attracted by light, so all you need to do is fill a bowl, vase, bucket, or any other kind of container with water (mixed with soap), and place it under the light. As they drop, they fall into the water and drown.
You can hold the water-filled container just under the light, so the ants crash into on their way down, or if you prefer, place them on the floor, directly under the light in different areas around your house.
5 Ways to Prevent Flying Ants
Remember we said earlier, flying ants aren’t a specific species of the ant family, they’re winged members of an existing nest. To prevent flying ants in the future, here are some handy tips to get rid of nests in your home and on your property.
1. Find the Nest
If you’ve got flying ants, chances are there’s an ant nest nearby with wingless female workers. So, one of the first things you should do to prevent flying ants, is locate the nest. You’ll then be able to deal with the ants using the right type of pesticide.
Knowing what kind of infestation you’re dealing with will help here too. Some ants, like carpenter ants, have more than one nest, so you need to find them all to get rid of the ants effectively.
Although your initial response might be to smash the anthill up, this isn’t a good idea. It doesn’t kill the ants, and all that happens is they move on with their queen to find a new spot.
2. Use Ant Bait
There’s a wide range of commercially made baits you can use on flying ants. Just make sure the product you buy targets ants (because flying ants are basically ants with wings) and that it works on the type of ten-ant you have. Ideally, you want a pesticide that gets carried back to the nest and kills the entire colony, including the queen.
If you plan on using it indoors, make sure it’s safe to use around children and pets. Always read the label and follow the instructions with care.
3. Kill Flying Ants With Baking Powder and Powdered Sugar
If you’ve got some baking powder and powdered sugar in your kitchen cupboard, you have an effective ant killer. Baking soda, believe it or not, is lethal to ants because it reacts with a certain acid ants have in their body. When the two mix, it causes a reaction, killing the ant in the process.
The powdered sugar attracts the ants and also masks the smell of the baking soda. This is then carried back to the nest, where the rest of the colony eats it. For ants that prefer greasy foods, peanut butter works really well.
4. Make a Trap With Sugar and Borax
Borax is toxic to ants but safe to use in your home. To make a paste, simply mix sugar and borax together and gradually add water. Once your paste is formed, spread it onto some cardboard. Then, place your homemade traps in areas around your home, especially where you’ve noticed ants.
The ants will be attracted by the sweetness of the sugar and carry it back to their nest for the rest of the colony to eat. We recommend checking the traps every few days because the paste dries up. You might need to make a few more batches before your ant problem is sorted.
5. Use Artificial Sweetener
Here’s a solution you maybe didn’t know about. Aspartame, an ingredient found in artificial sweetener, acts as a neurotoxin and is highly toxic to ants. Make a paste using a few drops of apple juice and leave for the ants to find. It’s carried back to the nest, where the rest of the colony eats it, and, yup, you guessed it, die.
Flying ants might give you the heebie-jeebies, but it’s not all doom and gloom. For one, they don’t appear that often, and when they do, they’re not around for too long. Also, they’re the same ants from an existing colony, so it’s not a case of “aaargh, more ants.”
Instead, use the opportunity, and our helpful tips, to kill as many as you can to prevent new nests in the future.