If you spot one flying ant, more are likely to appear soon. These social insects swarm during their mating season. The good news is that this period is short. Flying ants may be attracted to some household items, but their main instinct is to return to their colony after the mating season ends.
The Catalysts of Mating Season
Humid, late summer weather triggers flying ants to begin their mating ritual. This will often occur a few days after a heavy rain. Winged queens and male ants will begin to take flight, and more and more ants will join, swarming as they detect the chemical scent of other flying members of their species. This mating season is generally short-lived, with many ants mating within a day of their flights. After mating, the ants will return to their colonies.
Sites That Attract Flying Ants
Flying ants will often head for high ground in order to search for mates. It’s not uncommon to see swarms of these insects around chimneys, treetops, or towers. Certain species, such as the carpenter ant and the pharaoh ant, have been known to establish colonies inside buildings. Field ants typically live outside near foundations, but may make their way into houses through cracks. Harvester ants can get inside after falling down chimneys during their mating season.
Other Things That May Attract Flying Ants
As with many other types of insects, flying ants are attracted to sweet things like honey and sugar. If you have sweet products in your kitchen or pantry, make sure they are tightly sealed. Keep household counters wiped down and floors mopped to avoid an ant trail in your home. You should also make sure your yard is clear of tree stumps and fallen branches, as flying ants like to settle in woody materials.
How to Get Rid of Flying Ants
Swarms of flying ants pose no real danger to humans and often become dormant shortly after mating season, but they can still be annoying pests and cause property damage when they are indoors. If you have flying ants in your house, search the area where you first spotted them to attempt to find their colony. Look for entry points like cracks and partially opened windows, and be sure to seal these. Spray any entry points that you discover with boric acid to get rid of the colony. If the infestation is severe, consider calling an exterminator.
Juliana Weiss-Roessler has been writing since 2000. She worked as the head of the Web content department for the star of an Emmy-nominated reality series. Her ghostwriting has appeared in "PARADE" and "People." Weiss-Roessler is a blogger for Resumark and an editor for Pink Raygun. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida.