Flying ants are really interesting once you learn what they do, but with swarms of flying ants flying around once a year, you might be slightly concerned about whether or not they are able to bite.
Interestingly flying ants are actually just normal ants with wings, but they are winged males and new queens. We are going to tell you everything that you might want to know about flying ants, their purpose, and if they can bite in this article.
Why Do Ants Fly?
Every summer, you will notice that masses of flying ants will suddenly appear outside, and this happens when young queens will leave the nest to find their own colony. The flying ants that you see are almost always the standard black garden ant, and each nest will have around 5000 ants, but there can sometimes be up to 15,000 of them.
The normal ants that you see on the ground throughout the year are workers that will collect food for the colony. These worker ants are female and they live for around a month as an adult. The flying ants that come out once a year are males and young queens.
Every summer, typically in July or August, thousands of flying ants will suddenly appear. Queen ants can live for more than ten years, and they will spend most of their lives in the nest, but new queens will leave to mate and find a colony of their own. This is the reason why these ants are able to fly, as ants will mate during flight. This is why male ants and young queens have wings.
If you were to look carefully at the flying ant that appears, you might see that some are larger, and these are the queens. The masses of flying ants that appear in such a short amount of time will increase the chances of reproduction, meaning that there is a high chance that a queen will find a suitable male from another nest.
Once the males and new queens have mated in flight, the queen will then try to start her new nest. After this time, you might notice large ants walking around on their own as the queens will lose their wings.
What Happens to Flying Ants After Mating Day?
After mating at this time of year, the male ants will die as their purpose has been fulfilled. The female that has now been fertilized will fly around to search for a nest that is suitable. Different species of ants will find their nests in different locations.
Once the queen has found a nesting site that is suitable, she will break off her own wings and never fly again. The queen will get to work starting her new colony, and lay her eggs.
Are Flying Ants Dangerous?
It can be a bit intimidating to see so many flying ants around at once, but they only have one purpose, and that is to mate. Flying ants are not at all dangerous, and they are no more threatening than the ants we see on the ground on a daily basis.
Do Flying Ants Bite?
Flying ants will not bite or sting you as they are pretty harmless. If the species of ant does not bite or sting, then the flying ant version of this species also won’t bite or sting. If the species of ant does bite, then the winged ant will also be able to bite if they feel threatened. An example of this is the carpenter ant, which can bite. You might have also heard that fire ants are able to sting, which means that flying fire ants will be able to do the same.
So, there are some flying ants around the world that will have the ability to bite or sting, but this isn’t something that occurs often in the UK. The flying ants here are highly unlikely to bite or sting you.
How to Get Rid of Flying Ants?
Unfortunately, for the one time of year when these flying ants come out to mate, there isn’t much you can do about it. While they can be slightly irritating, they won’t be around for long, so it’s best to stay indoors with all of the windows and doors closed if they bother you.
If you did want to keep the windows open, you can get your hands on some fly screen or netting to keep the bugs out of your home. If your home does ever become overrun with flying ants, then it is best to contact a professional pest control company to deal with it.
Interesting Facts About Flying Ants
- You will only find a swarm of flying ants during the summer, as they are typically triggered by hot and humid weather.
- The reason that so many flying ants appear is that it will help to better protect them from predators. All of them flying together at the same time will increase their chances of finding a mate.
- Flying ants are totally harmless, and though they might be a nuisance for a short period of time, they will not hurt you.
- Queen flying ants will bite their own wings off once they have mated and they will then proceed to look for a place to create their nest. You might sometimes see their wings on the ground.
- Flying ants are a great food source for hungry birds at this time of year.
- Flying ants are most likely to appear between the months of June and September.
- The female queen ant is much bigger than the male ants that you will see around this time, so the bigger ones that you are able to see are actually queens.
- Queen ants can be up to 15mm in length.
- Flying ant day is actually a myth as there is no single day that every flying ant will come out to find a mate.
- Flying ants are also called alates, which is the name that is given to the winged form of many different insects.