Any pest is an unwelcome visitor in our homes, especially ones that swarm in on mass the way flying ants do. We have consulted with pest control experts to find out how to get rid of flying ants and keep them away from the house for good.
It’s worth first of all stating that flying ants, while incredibly annoying, are not harmful and therefore the task of getting rid of them is less fraught than keeping wasps away because there’s no potential sting in the tail. The trouble with flying ants is the sheer volume because they arrive on mass, so getting rid of them can feel overwhelming.
How to get rid of flying ants to keep them out of the house
“In short, ants develop wings when they are ready to fly off and find a partner, ensuring genetic diversity,” Adam Juson, co-founder of commercial pest control company, Merlin Environmental. “Not all ants in a colony will take to the skies – only virgin queen ants and male drone ants will enjoy this aerial experience.”
“After they’ve mated, the drone ant usually dies within a few days, and the female ant will remove her wings and go off to start an ant colony, in which she will be the queen.”
“Most flying ants in the UK are the typical garden black ant, which is harmless. Even if they don’t bite, garden black ants can make one feel uneasy – especially when they are flying around in large swarms.” And for that reason, we look at how to get rid of flying ants from inside the house…
1. Seal up entry points
Similar to keeping spiders out of the house it’s important to restrict access first and foremost. “To start, you need to prevent flying ants from getting in – either by closing your windows and doors, using insect screens, or sealing up any cracks or holes by the windows,’ says Adam.
“If you notice a swarm of flying ants, it’s likely that the queens from the swarm will soon be looking for somewhere to set up a colony, so you need to make sure that the colony doesn’t end up in your house. Preventing entry is really everything when it comes to flying ants.”
“Small, fast, and capable of flying and crawling into your home from outside, flying ants can enter your home through a window or a crack in the wall,” advises Jordan Foster, a pest control expert at Fantastic Pest Control. “Fill in any gaps or cracks with caulk.”
2. Keep surfaces clean
Daily habits to keep your house clean becomes crucial in the prevention and control of unwanted pests, especially flying ants because they can swarm with unsettling speed.
“Keep your home as clean as possible to force the ants to leave and look for food elsewhere,” says Jordan “For them to survive, food and water are essential. Keep edibles in an airtight container. As soon as you bring home fresh fruits and vegetables, place them in the refrigerator.”
“Crumbs, spilt food, and pet food are great sources of food for ant colonies. If ants can munch on something in your home, then they can easily nest under floors and walls in dark spaces. Therefore, you should prevent ants from getting these foods at all costs.”
3. Spritz a homemade remedy
An alternative to commercial pest control products to help you treat an ant infestation without using chemicals is that of essential oils and natural ingredients.
“With most ants, you can deter them with natural repellents such as cinnamon, mint, chilli pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, charcoal etc,” says Adam. “These hacks only work when sprinkled on surfaces where worker ants are marching. But flying ants don’t need to march (because they fly) so they likely won’t be very effective on surfaces.”
With that said Jordan has an idea of how to use them as a repellant for the flying pest – make a spray. “Add one to two drops of peppermint oil to one part dish soap and two parts water in a spray bottle. Where you find ants, spray the area,” suggests Jordan.
You could also try cleaning with vinegar as it worked for Jordan. “You can use vinegar and water to clean kitchen cupboards and countertops. A vinegar and water cleaning solution worked great for me,” Jordan adds.
4. Make your own fly trap
You can stop the airborne pests in their tracks by making a DIY trap. “You can also use flypaper or sticky tape. Making one yourself is easy, ” says Jordan.
“Make strips from a brown paper bag. Over medium heat, mix equal parts honey or syrup, sugar, and water. The sugar must be stirred until it dissolves. Place the strips in the mixture and let them soak until fully saturated. Place the strips on baking sheets over drying racks. Let the strips dry completely until they are no longer damp. A few hours should be enough.”
“Place the tape near areas where you’ve seen ants flying around. Flies and other flying insects, flying ants included, find it hard to get off flypaper once their legs touch the sticky surface.” You can then dispose of the strips.
5. Use specialist sprays
If all else fails, there are pesticide sprays. “Flying ants can be kept out with bug spray,” says Jordan. “Pesticides can be used indoors and outdoors to terminate crawling and flying ants.”
“However, the hidden colony cannot be eliminated until it is dealt with on a long-term basis,” warns Jordan. “Track down the nest first, as only attacking the colony itself will rid your home of flying ants permanently. If necessary, you can also use fumigation or professional fogging services.”
We would stress that this should be a last resort as all pests play an important role within our ecosystem.
Why do flying ants suddenly appear in the house?
So why do these airborne pests suddenly appear out of nowhere? “During the ant mating season, usually in the summer months, they appear in large numbers suddenly,” explains Jordan. “It is the main purpose of flying ants to reproduce and establish new colonies.”
“One of the first signs of an indoor infestation is the sudden appearance of swarming flying ants,” says Jordan. “There might be an infestation hidden in your wall voids, a nest somewhere else within your home, or even a nest outside on your property.”
What attracts flying ants into your house?
Like all other pests, food and shelter are the main attractions for flying ants to invite themselves into your house. As a result, a good kitchen cleaning routine is paramount to keeping flying ants away by ensuring all food remnants are cleaned away to avoid temptation.
Another attraction for pests to venture indoors is always light. “Light sources often attract them,” Jordan explains. “Which may lead them into your house through open windows or doors.” Where you can it’s advisable to keep these closed or covered to prevent an easy entry.
What is flying ant day?
“When people come across swarms in their area, they call it ‘flying ant day’, which is a bit of a misnomer,” says Adam. “In fact, there is no single flying ant day. It can happen whenever the weather is warm and calm. Temperatures must be above 13 degrees and wind speeds below 6.3 metres per second for flying ants to appear.”
“In the UK, the perfect weather for flying ants is usually around July and August. The majority of the flying ant activity will generally be concentrated on just a small handful of days in these warmer months. For example, in July 2023, there were three major spikes in flying ant activity, which occurred on the 7th, 18th and 27th of July, but there were lower levels of flying ant activity on other days in the month too. There may also be more flying ant activity to come in August.”