What are flying ants, how long do they live, how can you get rid of them and where do they come from? | The Sun

AS the UK faces a scorching heatwave and temperatures over 40C, you may have noticed the return of a pesky airborne creature: the flying ant.

But what are they exactly, and how can you get rid of them?

What are flying ants?

The most common type of flying ant is the black garden variety (the Lasius niger), whose nests have a single queen and anything from 5,000 to 15,000 workers.

Worker ants are ones you see during most of the year, collecting food.

But while workers, who are all female, live for around a month, queens can live for over 10 years.

They spend most of their lives in their nest – only leaving for the "nuptial flight" as immature queens to mate and ultimately found their own colony.

After mating, the queens lose their wings – and those pesky larger ants you see walking around alone are in fact new queens hunting for somewhere to set up their nest.


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Are bison dangerous?

Flying ants are mostly harmless to humans, but they do have a strange effect on seagulls who can appear drunk after eating a few due to formic acid they expel.

How do you get rid of flying ants?

Even though they're harmless, some people do find flying ants annoying – for those looking to rid them of their homes, there are many household items which can be used to get rid once and for all.

If you're these winged humidity lovers are making you antsy there are a number of inexpensive methods you can try.


One method is to try using simple dish washing soap.

Mix it with water to create a spray to kill the ants with.

Although its effectiveness is debated, aspartame-based sweetener can also be used.

Adding juice

Combining this with juice will turn it into a paste.

Do this will make it sticky, and the critters will carry it back to their colony – killing off some of the ant population in the process.


Alternatively, you might try using some insecticidal powder.

Always ensure you follow the directions on the packaging when using harsh chemicals.

Distributing some of the powder around window and door openings can prevent the ants from entering your home.

Are flying ants dangerous?

While the sight of a huge swarm of insets can be scary, flying ants are pretty harmless to humans.

This is because they have their minds on one thing and one thing only – mating.

The flying ants in the UK rarely bite, but even if they do the NHS website says the bites “are generally harmless, although you’ll probably feel a nip".

How long do flying ants live for?

When a spell of wet weather is followed by hot humid weather, a phenomenon called Flying Ant Day occurs.

Although referred to as a day, the mating ritual can last for several weeks in high summer.

By the end, billions of ants will have taken to the skies.

Flying ants only live up to a couple of days after flying ant day.

This is why it is common to see hundreds of dead ants on footpaths and car bonnets after the event.

However, Queen ants can live up to 15 years – but they only spend a small portion of their lives as flying ants.




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