Flying Ants 101


Flying ants only appear once a year, usually in the spring after a rainfall and warm temperatures. Most species of ants will produce flyers. They are both male and female and are the reproductives of the species. Their sole purpose is to mate and perpetuate the world of ants. The one day the flyers appear is called “Flying Ants Day.” When atmospheric conditions occur, the fling ants swarm out of the ground and fly off for mating purposes. The swarms can be thousands and thousands of ants, and they are very visible as they fly in a mob. Some fly a short distance while others fly a great distance.

The flying ants often mate with ants from other colonies. A male ant will only mate with one female, but the female may mate with multiple ants. After mating, the males lose their wings and a short time later they die. The female flyers find a suitable landing area and shortly after lose their wings or sometimes, they break off their own wings. The female flying ants dig into soft soil and begin laying eggs to establish another ant colony. That female becomes the queen and begins the task of building a colony. Sometimes, two female ants will establish a colony together, but within the year, only one queen will remain.

The ant colony needs a few years to grow and sprout reproductive flying ants. The colony needs to produce several thousand workers before breeding flying ants. The workers take care of the colony. They provide food, take care of the young and warn the colony of trouble brewing. The workers borough the way for the rest of the colony and build intricate tunnels for the ants to travel. They also protect the queen and the rest of the colony in the event something tries to intrude into their colony. If their holes to the surface are covered over, they will re-establish the holes quickly.

Flying ants are subject to predators as they fly or soon after they land. Birds, other insects such as spiders and toads and frogs gobble up the little critters. Large swarms offer protection from the predators, but if the flyers are not paying attention to their surroundings, they may find themselves that day’s entree.

Flying ants will sometimes infest a structure. They can be found in walls and will emerge through cracks and crevices. Flying ants are not much of a problem as they will disappear, but their presence may be an indication of a bigger problem.

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