While finding ants in your home is not always a problem, you definitely don’t want to see flying ants in your home during the winter. Also known as carpenter ants, flying ants usually live outdoors in the summer months. If you see one them in your home during warm weather, it probably just means they have accidentally flown in through an open door or window. On the other hand, a flying ant in your home is often a sign of a more significant problem. It is usually an indicator that the ant is living somewhere in the structure of your home and this means that you will find a carpenter ant somewhere. Here is a little more information about flying ants and how to get rid of them from your home.
What Are the Differences Between Ants and Termites?
People often mistake ants for termites as they are similar in appearance and there are flying varieties of both species. Carpenter ants are generally larger than termites, but this is hard to determine unless you have the two species next to each other. Some other characteristics that identify a flying ant are dark-colored bodies, bent antennae, narrow waists, and hind wings that are shorter than the front wings. The different behavior of the two species is also something to observe. Although they are both destructive, they will damage your property in different ways. While termites eat the wood, flying ants simply nest in the wood and you will see wood dust below the area in which they have created their nest.
Swarming and Mating
Only males and queens have wings, as it is these members of the colony that mate and reproduce. Like termites, flying ants swarm to mate. Once they have mated, the males die and the queens lose their wings before they find a site to create a nest. If you see a winged ant inside your home during the winter, it means it is part of the mating process and is an indicator that you probably have a nest somewhere in your structure. A swarm of flying ants means there is definitely an infestation in your home.
Treatments for Carpenter Ant Infestations
The first step to take is to locate the infestation. Although flying ants are sometimes found nesting in dry wood, it is more likely that they will nest in wood that is wet, damp, or rotting. Try to find such spots in your home and you may come across the nest. Another sign to look for is the dust pile below the nest where they have burrowed into the wood. Once you have found the nesting area, you need to replace the wood. Not only will this remove the infestation, but it will also reduce the likelihood of a further infestation in the future. Then you need to find the best treatment and there are three options for dealing with a carpenter ant infestation.
The first option is to buy insecticide dust for indoor use that is intended for carpenter ants. You need to inject this into the area around the nest. Sometimes it is difficult to get into the area and, if this is the case, you may need to drill small holes to inject the dust. Another option is an insecticide spray for carpenter ants. These are not as effective as they can only kill ants that are foraging for food. They will not kill lone invaders that have mistakenly flown indoors. Therefore, an insecticide spray is probably not the best option for tackling an infestation of flying ants.
The final option is to use baits. These are slower acting than insecticide dust but more effective than an insecticide spray. They are also easier and safer to use than other options. The foraging ants are attracted to the bait and they will pick it up while looking for food. They then take the bait back to their nest that is housing the queen and the rest of the colony. When the colony and queen feed off the bait, it kills them. There are many different types of bait, so you should make sure you buy one that is labeled for use with carpenter ants.
Regardless of which type of insecticide you choose, you should always read the packaging and follow the instruction for use carefully.