Ants with wings or flying ants in the house appear briefly and disappear abruptly. But during this time they manage to get bored with the order, and some even scare. We will talk about how dangerous ants with wings are and how to get rid of them.
Studying the enemy
Flying ants are not specific species. A feature of ants is polymorphism, the ability to take on different forms within the same species. Thanks to this, among the ants you can find large females and males with wings, wingless and smaller worker ants and soldiers.
Ants are social insects. And the winged stage is the beginning of the colonization of the surrounding territory. They just fly away for a new life) they are safe, they just get married.
Winged ants appear only when there are free resources in the colony. Ants with wings fly away from the colony to establish new ones. The chances of success are very small. Most individuals will die of starvation, dehydration, or be eaten by birds, dragonflies, and other predators. Although almost all of them fail, enough individuals succeed to spread the species and ensure its survival. Departure from the colony means death for most of those who have flown away, but not for the colony. The anthill continues to live and accumulate strength for the next season, the University of Iowa notes.
Among known species, almost all females are winged, but males in some species may appear wingless (along with winged ones). They fight each other for the right to mate with young females inside the mother’s nest.
Winged insects hatched from pupae emerge from the anthill to the surface. The males fly first. They distribute pheromones throughout the area, inviting females to mate. Less mobile females are often unable to take off from the ground and climb onto elevated areas, grass, shrubs, trees, and house walls to start their flight. Ants mate in the air or on the ground.
When the mating season is over, the female looks for a place to create a new colony. At this point, she is especially dangerous, as she can settle in the garden or in the house, depending on the species, and establish a colony near you. The female bites off her wings, digs the first chamber for the future colony, and lays her eggs. She takes care of the first brood on her own. The first worker ants are small and weak, but they get to work anyway: tending to the queen and brood, expanding the anthill, looking for food, and defending the colony if necessary. The female has an extraordinary longevity for insects – up to 20 years. But she never comes to the surface again and gives offspring all her life, using germ cells taken at the very beginning of the journey from one or several males for fertilization.
But the fate of males is unenviable. Having fulfilled the function assigned to them by nature, the males die a few weeks after hatching from the pupa.
Due to the similar life cycle of ants with wings, some people confuse them with termites. Indeed, before the loss of wings, the individuals of both are at first glance similar, however, in ants, the thoracic segment of the body is better expressed and, to a lesser extent, the abdominal segment. The wings of ants are more transparent and have sparse and large veins. Texas A&M University presents the differences between the two insects in tabular form.
|Two pairs of wings, hind wings shorter
|Two pairs of identical wings
|Antennae as antennas
|Narrow “waist” between the abdomen and chest
|No narrow “waist”
Flying ants in the house: how to get rid – advice from entomologists
If you notice that ants with wings have appeared in large numbers and in a small space, this indicates the presence of an anthill nearby. By themselves, ants with wings are safe for the economy. Not all ants that have left the nest for mating will be able to meet each other and, moreover, establish a colony, but you need to carefully monitor their movement near the house and in the house. The female will create a young colony away from prying eyes. We talk more about how to deal with anthills that harm the household in our other material.
Ants usually settle near the house, but carpenter ants can establish a colony right in the wall of the house if it is wooden, in furniture and other sources of wood. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood, but live in it. Outwardly, they are larger than termites, have a different body shape – a more pronounced “waist” and a different shape of the antennae.
Scientists believe that it is pointless and useless to fight winged ants with radical methods. It is enough to clean and monitor the sanitary condition of the house and its environs: to prevent the accumulation of garbage, especially food debris. If the hordes of flying insects that strive to fly into the house are annoying, you can use mosquito nets.
Indoors, fix cracks and crevices everywhere, especially in kitchens and other food and storage areas. Attractive products: Sugar, molasses, honey, pet food, place in closed containers that are clean from the outside. Rinse empty lemonade bottles and put them away. Take out the trash daily, says the University of California.
In the production of natural remedies against ants, essential oils are used, which can also be used separately, having previously been strongly diluted. Peppermint, clove, rosemary, thyme, citrus oils are useful for repelling insects.