When you think of common pests that give you a scare, are flying ants the first that come to mind? We hear a lot of panicked talk around this time of year about flying ants. Folks often see them hanging around the house and yard and get worried. After all, aren't tiny flying insects usually carpenter ants? Or even worse, termites? Generally, all flying insects are a bit scary and alarming, especially if they are in the home.
Are They Really Flying Ants?
Before you act, it’s good to ensure you know the insect you are dealing with. A quick rundown of some very common flying household ants would include winged pavement ants, flying ants, carpenter ants, and termites. When they fly around you they all might appear to be the same but, when you catch them resting and not in flight you can take a closer look and ID it. Typically, the trickiest to tell the difference between are flying ants and termites.
The difference between termites and flying ants can be determined by these characteristics:
Termites – have wings that are equal in length, straight antenna, straight body.
Flying Ants – Unequal wings, bent antenna, thin abdomen.
For extra help telling them apart, check out this guide.
Why Are the Ants Swarming?
Are your flying ants swarming? When an ant colony is first starting up, all the ants it produces are sterile, female worker ants. But when a colony decides to expand, it starts producing winged, sexually mature males and females. These ants take off in a swarm called a nuptial flight and begin to mate. When female ants have been fertilized, they start a new colony. So, that's why you see all those ants flying around. These ants aren't as destructive as carpenter ants or termites, but they're still annoying.
Flying ants typically go for a few things: moisture, light, and wood. These ants might be found lingering around a pool, swarming after a fresh rain, or even flying around in the humidity of late summer. These ants enjoy moisture and they will actively search it out. Some say that they find flying ants swarming around lights, although there is no 100% known attraction there. Typically, these ants stay outside of the home, but if you see a flying ant inside, or worse, a swarm inside, flying ants may have found their way in through a foundation crack and made a nest. Often the ants are found around the foundation of the home and even around trash cans or sheds.
How Can I Control Flying Ants?
Flying ants can become extremely detrimental to your property and home. When you know that you’re dealing with flying ants, here are ways that you can control them:
Vacuum – You can immediately vacuum the swarm to remove them from the nest or hiding place.
Fix Damaged Wood – Obviously you want to make sure your house is in good shape, but by fixing the damaged wood you’re preventing them from furthering the damage that they caused.
Seal Cracks – Make sure no spaces are open for the ants to fly indoors and cause damage.
Prevention and Prep – When it comes to dealing with pests, it’s much easier to deal with them before they come into your house. Use our Terro® Spring Kit to make sure you’re protected from all sorts of pests this season.
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