General gardening topics

How to get rid of flying ants – and keep them away

Last updated on October 5th, 2021

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Although flying ants aren’t poisonous or harmful, they are very annoying. Follow our easy-to-implement suggestions for how to get rid of them and how to keep them away. Whichever methods you choose, always be aware of the safety requirements of using these substances, even home-made ones.

What are flying ants?

flying ants which seem to arrive all in one day

The ants of some species, carpenter ants for example, grow wings in the mating season. These ants have one job – to mate and then to fly away (instead of crawling) to a different location to create a new colony. After finding a new place, the male ants die and the female ants lose their wings and crawl around to find the best place for their new ant nest.

Flying ants usually come together in large swarms to mate on a warm, clear day – generally in July in the UK – after rainy weather. This is when you see dense clouds of them overhead when you’re eating or playing outdoors.

Flying ants, unlike some similar-looking terminates, aren’t harmful and don’t bite. However, if they decide that their new nest is near or even inside your home, that’s when your trouble really starts.

How do I remove a swarm of flying ants?

Act quickly if you notice a swarm of flying ants. Here are a variety of ways to remove them, some of them might seem like a harsh way of removing them but it’s your choice.


If the swarm has settled somewhere close, quickly whip out your handheld or full-size hoover and suck them up. This does require some stealth if the ants still have their wings. Make sure to seal and throw away the hoover bag after doing this.

Spray flying ants with a soap mixture

Put a mixture of two parts water and one part dish-washing liquid into a spray bottle. Add several drops of tea tree oil or peppermint oil if you’ve got it at home. Shake the bottle well, aim at the swarm of ants and spray.

The washing-up liquid dehydrates the ants as it sticks to them and the essential oil suffocates them. Spray around the general area of the ants as well in case other ants come into land there. You can also use a pesticide spray and spray them directly.

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Use sticky fly tape to catch them

Sticky tapes attract the ants and then trap them in the glue on the tape. Use either a commercial sticky tape or make your own. Put duct tape or heavy packing tape glue side up near where the swarming ants are landing. Add some honey or sugar to the tape to really entice the ants in. Change out the tape when it’s full of dead ants.

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How do I keep flying ants away?

Find where they’re living

You need to track the ants back to their nest. While following an ant isn’t difficult detective work, they may be living in your walls or underneath your home. If this is the case, go on to the next step of sealing up the cracks.

If you do find the nest you need to destroy it. The fastest way is to pour boiling water into the hole into the nest through which the ants enter and leave. Keep an eye on the hole to make sure that you’ve killed all the ants and apply more hot water if you need to. You can also use ant traps you can buy online

Seal all the cracks in your home to prevent ants entering

This is one prevention method that you should do anyway, regardless of finding the flying ants’ nest. Seal any cracks in window and door frames, and in skirting boards inside your home. Also, walk around the outside of the building and check for any cracks in the foundation and lower part of the walls; seal these also. Your goal is to fill any entrances through which anything could come into your house.

Spray the area for an additional protection layer

Ants can get into even the tiniest hole. For extra protection around the area in which you found them, use a spray that covers the ant trails into the hole so that ants that are following can’t find their way into the nest entrance. A mix of boric acid (15ml) and water (250ml) disguises any smell as does a mix of equal volumes of vinegar and water.

You could also use a commercial insect repellent spray

Poison the flying ants

Your best choice here is to use a substance that the ants eat and carry back to their nest. It poisons other ants in the colony. You can buy commercial powders and liquids or make your own using a mix of Borax, water, and sugar.

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Keep surfaces clean

Flying ants love sweet substances so ensure all your kitchen counters are clear of crumbs, and that you seal all your indoor and outdoor rubbish bins.

Last update on 2024-07-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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