Flying Ant Week: Why Do Ants Take to the Skies?

Not content with crawling all over your patio, ants take to the skies in the summer. Flying ants can be a big nuisance as they swarm in their hundreds, getting into your home, and ruining your much-awaited summer picnic. But why do ants take to the skies? Read on to find out.

What Are Flying Ants?

Flying ants, known as alates, are not a different species of ant, they come from a normal ant colony. If you’re seeing ants all over your garden, flying ants won’t be far behind. Flying ants are usually queen ants and males who grow wings to help them attract a mate. Queens are usually bigger and they can be up to 15mm long.

Why Do Ants Take to the Skies?

There are on average 500-1000 ants in a colony, but there can be many more. Once a colony grows so big, a queen ant leaves to start a new colony. She grows wings and the ability to fly helps her find a male ant from another colony to mate with.

Once the queen ant has met her match, she flies together with the male. This is what’s known as the ‘nuptial flight.’ Once the ants have mated, the male ant’s job is done. In fact, they only live for a few days after mating. They only exist to mate and ensure the survival of the species.

The Queen Starts a New Colony

The queens chew off their wings and find a site to nest in and start a new colony. They lay their eggs in an underground chamber and over the course of a lifetime, they can build colonies of tens of thousands of ants. Something to consider if you think you can deal with a bad ant infestation on your own.

So When is This So-Called ‘Flying Ant Week’?

Flying Ant Week is not actually limited to a week. Hot and humid weather in July and August can bring winged ants out of their nests. You’ll usually see them swarming in large numbers. No, this is not just to ruin your summer BBQ, there’s actually a good reason for it.

If they fly in numbers, it increases their chances of meeting a mate. It also protects them from predators.

I have a Flying Ant Problem, What Can I Do?

Because flying ants can swarm in such large numbers, sprays and powders you can buy over the counter aren’t likely to work. If there are ants swarming around your home, call professional pest control as soon as you can.

Specialist technicians have access to sprays, powders, gels, and other highly effective treatments that aren’t available to the public. They also have the know-how and expertise to identify the ants and treat the problem fast. This will almost always involve treatment of the nest as well. If you don’t tackle the problem at the source, the cycle of infestation will continue.

Got a problem with flying ants around your home and need help now?

Call Contego.

Must Read