What Causes Flying Ants In Your House And How Do You Get Rid Of Them

If you feel like you notice swarms of flying ants at the exact same time every year, you're not going crazy. This is part of the mating cycle of ants, and it occurs so regularly that, according to an article published by pest-control company Terminix, some bug enthusiasts look forward to celebrating Flying Ant Day in their region every year to observe huge swarms. Really.

However, seeing flying ants in your home typically isn't a cause for celebration. It's alarming enough to see ants on the ground inside your house — but in the air? That's doubly unsettling. But winged ants, also known as "alates," aren't some weird mutant monsters. They're actually ants that have reached their reproductive cycle and left their nest to establish new colonies, according to the aforementioned Terminix article.

While you shouldn't be scared of these horny ants, you definitely don't want them to establish a colony in your home. So what does it mean if you spot one or more in your home — and what can you do about it? Keep reading.

Seeing flying ants in your home isn't necessarily a reason to panic

First, take a breath: If you see a flying ant or two in your home, usually during the summertime, it doesn't mean they've made a colony in your house. They could be searching for one, but it's rare that they find an appropriate spot inside a structure, according to Michigan State University. The majority of winged ants that enter your home will die before they can create a nest.

But that doesn't mean it's impossible. Flying ants are drawn to wet wood and excessive moisture, so make sure you don't have any leaky pipes or drains in your house, or any missing or loose roof shingles. They sometimes form colonies in dry areas, too, like false beams and hollow doors, so be on the lookout.

If an ant colony does form in your home, your best bet is to locate it (look for piles of dead ants and sawdust) and use an indoor ant killer. You can also make a natural bait, using jelly and pet food, to lure all the ants back to the nest and the pesticide. However, if you can't find the nest, you can make this same bait and poison it, hopefully getting rid of all the ants. And of course, you can also just call a qualified exterminator, if you don't mind paying a little extra.