Flying ants are often mistaken for termites. You should understand the differences between these two species of insects, to know which elimination techniques will be the most effective. In this article we’re going to look at the causes of flying ants to better understand how to deal with the problem.
When you have flying ants in the house, the most important thing to realize is that these winged insects are not termites. Termites have two body segments-a head and a body, while ants have three segments-a head, an abdomen and a thorax. Termites also have straight and hairy antennas while ants have curly, hairless antennas.
Ants with wings are ants on a mission. While most don’t have wings, you may have seen swarms of these winged insects during spring and summer, or have had to deal with them in the house during certain times of the year. These winged ants are sexually-mature and ready to mate, and their mission is to travel far from their local abodes and habited new areas. The wings permit them to separate from their original colonies and reach areas that are farther away.
The males die soon after mating, while the females go on to establish new colonies. These females become queen ants and discarded their wings after the mating stage. During the early days of the colony, the discarded-off wings of the female queen ants are used as source of nutrition. After colonizing a new area, the queen lay eggs, a small number of which become female winged ants for propagation of future generations of colonies.
In some situations, swarms of flying ants in the house are caused by colonies that are inside the house. Carpenter and pharaoh ants often build colonies inside a house, which may rule to swarms inside the house.
Flying ants are most active after periods of heavy rainfall. During the mating stages, a male can only fertilize one queen while a queen can mate with different partners. As a consequence, the queen tends to be highly selective, allowing only the fastest and most promising among the species to mate with her.
The mating ritual lasts for less than a day. The insects mate three to five days after a day of heavy rain, and soon after mating, the males lose their wings, fall off and die. The fertilized females go on to develop new colonies. Since the very same species can be winged or wingless, getting rid of winged ants entails the same methods as eliminating wingless ants.
The most preferred places to start a new colony include dead trees or under woodpiles. Only a very small number of fertilized females can successfully go on to create a new colony. This method, the number of new colonies is far lesser than the number of fertilized females.
In a newly-established colony, before the queen can produce reproductive males, she must produce several thousand worker ants. As a consequence, it can take up to several years for a new colony to produce sexually-mature winged ants. This method flying ants only appear from nests that are mature and thriving. In getting rid of flying ants, your elimination technique should consequently focus on long-term strategies that target the nest, instead of short-term techniques that target individual flying ants.