What is a flying ants swarm?
on Sunday, June 23, 2013 by Terminix
Flying ants swarm with a clear mission in mind: to find a mate, reproduce and establish a new colony. Swarming is no random act; it’s a carefully timed process that occurs at certain times of the year depending on the species and is generally triggered by environmental conditions. To truly understand this phenomenon of nature, you must first understand that an ant colony is a highly developed social organization with various castes.
Worker ants are always females and they make up the largest caste; it’s their job to forage and find food that will sustain the colony. When you see ants in the pantry, on the kitchen countertops or foraging for food outdoors, you’re most likely looking at worker ants. The reproductive caste consists of both males and females. Pre-reproductives—those ants that have yet to mate—usually possess wings prior to leaving the colony. They wait for up to several months for nature to signal that it’s time to leave the nest in search of a new mate. Once they leave the nest they’re known as swarmers.
Depending on the species, swarming flying ants are seen in spring or early summer, or between mid-summer and early fall. Swarming happens when certain environmental conditions are just right, such as elevated humidity, reduction in wind speed, or when appropriate day length is reached. Several colonies in a given area may swarm at the same time; by using identical environmental cues to trigger swarming, ant colonies increase the chance that their reproductives will encounter swarmers from other colonies of the same species. Once mating takes place, the male ants die and the mated queen sheds her wings and looks for a place to start her own nest.
How to identify a flying ants swarm and how to prevent them
A flying ants swarm is often confused with a termite swarm. Here is how to tell the difference:
- Flying ants have three distinct body divisions (head, thorax, abdomen) while termites appear to have the head, thorax and abdomen fused into one elongate shape
- Flying ants have two sets of wings, the hind wings being smaller and joined to the front wings during flight while flying termites have two pairs of wings of equal length, shape and size
- Ants have antennae with “elbows,” while termite antennae are shorter and straight
Swarming flying ants are a reliable indicator of an existing nest in your home if you find numerous flying ants indoors. An isolated event of swarming flying ants is of less concern than a constant stream of “worker” ants, which are wingless female ants that do not reproduce. Workers indicate an active nest that may warrant treatment.
Terminix® experts can help you
If you see a flying ants swarm, it’s time to take action. The trained professionals at Terminix® know that different species of ants require specific control methods and treatment strategies from baits to residual contact products. They can determine what type of ant control solution you need.
The Terminix Pest Control Plan provides guaranteed protection against 27 of the worst kinds of pests, including many species of ants. This plan includes:
- An initial service inside your home gets to the pests—the ones you see and the ones you don’t.
- Treating the exterior of the home to help prevent new home invasions.
- Regular services intercept pests outdoors around your home to help keep pests from invading inside.
Certain pest solutions, including fire ants, carpenter ants and Pharaoh ants, are available in select areas only and may require an additional inspection.
To determine if the ants solution you need is included in the Pest Control Plan and covered by the Ultimate Protection® Guarantee—the strongest guarantee in the business—visit Terminix.com or call 1.866.766.7628 today.
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Only Terminix offers Ultimate Protection®. So whether you need protection from pests or termites, you can rest easy knowing you’re covered by the strongest guarantee in the business, plus 100% satisfaction or your money back*.